Essential kit for camping with a baby or young child

From experience we have discovered the essential kit for camping with a baby or young child.  We will start with the essential kit needed for camping with a baby…

Bouncy chair, bumbo seat or walker – As mentioned in our how to survive and enjoy camping blog post, we think it is essential that you have a safe place to contain a clingy baby/excitable toddler whilst you pitch your tent/make dinner etc.   (Trust us, pitching a tent with a baby on your hip is not easy!)  

When we camped with Harry at the age of four months we packed his bouncy chair and Bumbo seat .  As he became more mobile we progressed to his walker which we secured into a small area to stop him going exploring the campsite on his own!  (His walker also doubled up as a highchair as the toys on the tray could be unattached).  On our most recent camping trip last weekend, with Harry who is now 14 months old, we took his travel cot to use as a play pen during the day and his bed at night.  

Essential kit for camping with a baby or young child

Highchair – We consider a highchair to be another essential piece of kit for camping with little ones.  If your child/children are anything like our boys you will get at least 45 minutes of peace and relaxation around your camp whilst your little one enjoys their breakfast, lunch and dinner!  If you are tight on space, you may find a booster seat a more suitable option.

Baby bath – We have always found showering with baby at the campsite facilities very tricky. (Especially whilst trying to avoid touching any dubious looking shower curtains!)  A baby bath doubles up as a fun water station to keep little one entertained during the day whilst you are attempting to relax around the camp bbq!  An inflatable baby bath would of course help to save valuable space in the car and this inflatable duck bath would be a great conversation starter with your fellow campers!

Moses basket – If you are planning a trip whilst your infant is still young enough to fit in his/her moses basket you are very fortunate as its a bed which he/she will be used to.  Alternatively, if a travel cot will fit in your tent/pod/campervan it is definitely a worthwhile investment. (It can also be used as a play pen when baby starts crawling, you can fill with toys and get things done around the house… hurrah!)  

Don’t make the mistake that we did and attempt to use a travel cot without buying a decent mattress to go with it.  Travel cots come with extremely thin and uncomfortable bases.  Trust us when we say that camping with a tired and cranky baby who has had a poor nights sleep in a travel cot is no fun!   This travel mattress folds up and comes with a bag and so is perfect for popping into your car.   (This fitted sheet is sold separately). 

If you are tight on space but baby has outgrown a moses basket you could try a pop up travel bubble cot

Wash bag filled with miniature bathing essentials  – This Burt’s Bees set is full of gentle natural ingredients and contains perfect sized bottles for travelling with.

First aid kit – In the past we have made up our own but you can purchase a baby first aid kit.  We also pack infant medication i.e. Calpol sachets which are great for travelling with as they cut down on luggage.  Do not forget Nelsons teething granules or other teething medication/herbal tablets and of course deet free mosquito and insect repellent and after bite to prevent and treat bites. 

Essential kit for camping with a young child…

Waterproof shoes and a dressing gown – Brilliant for walking to the shower facilities in and makes shower time much less stressful and hygienic.  Crocs are a good investment and super stylish!   We love this monster dressing gown

Wet weather gear – Wellies, woolies and a waterproof coat are absolute musts, especially if camping in the good old UK!  You can of course pick up cheap kids wellies from most kids clothes shops but we do love these Crocs wellies and the handles make it very easy for small hands to easily put them on.   All in one water proof outfits are a necessity.  In our experience, cheaper all in one outfits that state they are shower proof are a waste of time as clothes still seem to get wet underneath, these Regatta outfits offer more protection.  (Regatta boy’s padded rain suit and Regatta girl’s padded rain suit).  

Sleeping items – We only packed a toddler mattress the first time we went camping to cut down on luggage but our son rolled off the mattress in the middle of the night and leaned against the side of the tent.  This resulted in him waking up soaking wet through and unable to get him back to sleep.  The three of us then watched what felt like hundreds of episodes of Thomas the Tank Engine until the sun eventually rose and we dragged our tired bodies to the showers in an attempt to wake up!   If your tent can therefore accommodate a travel cot (see above) we would certainly recommend one.


Images – Charlie taking a daytime nap after a morning of fishing!

Of course it can get extremely cold at night and your little one needs to have adequate layers if any of you are going to get any sleep!  If you have not discovered them yet, Sleep Bags are the best thing in our opinion ever created for babies.  Both of our babies have worn sleep bags so we have never needed to worry about their blankets slipping off in the middle of the night.  Our particular favourite brand are Grobags which offer four different togs (thicknesses) in four different sizes.  This Grobag travel baby sleep bag is fab because it has specifically designed features that makes it suitable for use in a buggy or car seat as it can be closed around a five-point harness, perfect in case baby does not fancy sleeping in the tent and instead needs pushing around a campsite for a midnight walk (Richard always gets nominated for this job!) and then transferring into his/her bed.

Outdoor fun toys – Fishing net, bats and balls, bike, scooter…. we seem to always end up taking them all with us!  Charlie’s particular favourite outdoor toy is his Mini Micro scooter which he got for his third birthday.  He had a cheaper Spider Man scooter at first but he kept falling off it, the micro scooters are very sturdy with a base close to the ground and therefore a great investment as a first scooter. 

Remember to pack lots of toys and books to ensure you all get the chance to have some sit and relax (see our article How to Survive and Enjoy Camping with Young Children).  A particular favourite book that came camping with us a few times was the Thomas & Friends, My Busy Books.  It is a storybook and play mat which comes with 12 mini trains and was perfect for our little train enthusiast when he was two years old.  You can get lots of different My Busy Books to suit your child’s interest i.e Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse ‘My Busy Books’ which includes a storybook, play mat and 12 Disney figurines. 


Have you camped with your child/children?  Can you add any additional items of essential kit for camping with a baby or young child?

Disclaimer – This article has a few affiliate links.  We may earn a few pennies to fund our travel habit should you buy anything from Amazon. Many thanks for reading and happy camping!



  1. Charlene
    27th July 2015 / 11:19 am

    It’s great to have a list like this – most people probably find even the thought of camping with little ones too much! This makes it seem do-able.

    • 29th July 2015 / 9:57 am

      Thank you for your comments Charlene. It is definitely do-able and fun too! Although I have to admit, we are supposed to be going camping this weekend but if this weather does not change we may have to change our plans :-( A short rain shower is fine but torrential downpours with a one yr old and a four yr old are not my idea of fun!

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