Camping With A Baby Checklist (Printable PDF & Editable)

Camping with a BABY? Can it be done? Should it be done? Do people actually do it? 

Yup – they do! Experienced campers barely miss a weekend when the baby comes along and regular camping families pick up the camping routine again once things settle down and take their young kids and babies away on camping trips – making it look quite easy. 

And it can be! If you’re organized and most importantly, have the right attitude, then camping with a baby is just about taking some specific extra baby things along with the usual essential camping gear, with you!

We’ve created a comprehensive packing list for camping and added in a lot of things for you to consider when planning a camping trip with a baby. Check out our camping with a baby checklist below!

Sleeping

  • Tent, poles, stakes/pegs, mallet, rainfly, or tarp
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  • Groundsheet, footprint, or tarp
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  • Sleeping bag, sheets, blankets
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  • Sleeping pads or air mattresses
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  • Pillows
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  • Doormat to go in front of tents
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  • Baby special sleep things
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  • Portable cot or safe place for baby to sleep
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  • Blackout cover for the cot so they sleep longer
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  • Portable baby camera or monitor
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  • Night light for the baby camera
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Related: Need a tent that can fit the whole family? Check out our list of the best family tents for car camping.

Kitchen

  • Camp table
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  • Camp chairs
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  • Tarp or shelter
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  • Portable camping stove or campfire materials
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  • Extra stove fuel, lighters, matches, firewood, firelighters
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  • Cooking pots and pans
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  • Large bowl
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  • Stovetop kettle
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  • Cooking utensils (Wooden spoons, tongs, flippers, spatula)
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  • Can opener, corkscrew, bottle openers
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  • Cutting board and knives
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  • Cooler with ice or ice packs
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  • Rubbish bin/bags
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  • Bucket for dishwashing, scrubber, detergent, tea towels, dishcloth
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  • Large drinking water container with potable water or water purification system
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  • Food containers and resealable plastic bags for food storage
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  • Foil and paper towel
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  • Marshmallow cooking sticks
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  • Dustpan and brush
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Eating

  • Plates and bowls
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  • Knives, forks, and spoons
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  • Mugs and water cups
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  • Wine glasses!
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  • Water bottles
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  • Bottles, sterilizing equipment, formula, or breast pump
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  • Bibs
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  • Bowls and spoons for solids
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  • Baby food
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  • Breastfeeding chair for Mom!
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Wet weather protection

  • Tarp, poles, ropes, stakes
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  • Rain jackets or waterproof hooded ponchos
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  • Clothes pegs and clothesline
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Clothing & Footwear

  • Bag for clean clothes
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  • Quick-drying suitable outdoor clothing for the season
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  • Suitable nightwear
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  • Sun protection (Hats, sunglasses, sun shirts)
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  • Snow protection (Jackets, boots, thermal underwear)
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  • Cold weather protection (Hats, gloves, scarves)
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  • Trekking boots, water shoes, slip-on shoes
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  • Socks
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  • Swimming gear (swimsuit, towel)
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  • Plastic bags for dirty/wet clothes
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  • Usual baby bag item but lots and lots more of them
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  • Extra warm baby clothes
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  • Swimming diapers
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  • Two-piece PJs if you will have to change a diaper at night!
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  • Baby sun hat
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Toiletries

  • Medications
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  • First aid kit
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  • Baby-specific painkillers and medications
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  • Baby-friendly insect repellent
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  • Baby sunscreen
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  • Stop itch cream or antihistamine cream
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  • Chapstick or lip balm
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  • Reading glasses/contact lenses
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  • Toilet shovel
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  • Big collapsible bucket to bathe your baby in
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  • Waterless hand sanitizer
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  • Baby wipes, washcloths and towels
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  • Extra diapers and used diaper bags
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  • Baby change mat
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  • Teething ring and gel
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  • Diaper cream
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Lighting

  • Lanterns
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  • Candles
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  • Matches/lighter
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  • Headlamps
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  • Rechargeable torches
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  • Flashlights
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  • Spare Batteries
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  • Portable solar panel for recharging
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Entertainment

  • Field guides, star charts, and books
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  • Binoculars
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  • Notebook and pencils (pencils write on wet-ish paper)
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  • Music player, Bluetooth speakers, phone, tablet, etc
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  • Musical instrument
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  • Ball, frisbee
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  • Watercrafts
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  • Hammock
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  • Camera
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  • Fishing gear, bait, license
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  • Deck of cards, Jigsaw, board games
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  • Day pack for short hikes
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  • Baby carrier or backpack
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  • Trail-friendly stroller
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  • Pacifier, clip, and case
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  • Playpen and blankets for outdoor playtime
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  • Special toys
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Useful extras

  • Phone charger
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  • Watch or clock
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  • Rope – thick and thin for a clothesline
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  • Multi-tool/Pocket knife/Scissors
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  • Duct Tape
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  • Extra guy ropes
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  • Bungee/shock cords
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  • Tent pole repair
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  • Hammer/saw/axe
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  • Compass or navigation device
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  • Reflective blanket
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  • Mosquito net
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  • Credit card/cash/Identification
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  • Repair kits for tent, tarps, water toys, blow-up mattresses
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  • Bear spray for errant bears also works well on unwanted human intruders
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  • Whistle for attracting attention
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Man holding a baby wrapped up warm on a ridge overlooking mountain in the clouds
Having a new baby doesn’t need to stop your family from doing what they love!

Hacks, tips, and hints for first-time baby campers

  • Your frame of mind will make or break a camping trip with a baby. Pack your positivity and accept it will be a very different trip from usual!
  • The hardest part of camping with a baby is deciding to step outside your comfort zone and doing it!
  • Don’t mess around with waterborne pathogens and a baby. Invest in a water sterilization system or bring water from home that you know is safe. 
  • Think about a bigger tent. These small people and all their gear can take up a lot of room!
  • It’s best to start with car camping or even glamping when you have a baby until you are all comfortable and confident with the process.
  • Start small and keep your first trip to one or two nights.
  • Stuffed toys can get really dirty really quickly. Go for plastic or washable toys or just let them play with the sticks, rocks, and leaves that they find!
  • Don’t travel too far from home, just in case things aren’t going well for the first few trips. 
  • Go for one-pot meals to keep things simple at mealtimes. 
  • Embrace the mess! There’s a hot bath and shower waiting for you all at home!
  • Find a campsite without too many neighbors, especially if you aren’t sure if bub will sleep through the night. 
  • Get a really good baby carrier if you are planning on doing some hiking so you and the baby are both comfortable. 
  • A playpen can be a lifesaver when you are setting up or packing down so you know exactly where the baby is when you take your eyes off them for a few minutes. 
  • Choose campsites with some amenities until you are comfortable about what you and the baby can cope with on a camping trip.
  • Camping babies turn into camping toddlers and then camping children and it just gets easier and easier every time!

And a few things to do before you leave

Always leave with a full tank of gas in the car and remember to tell someone exactly where you are going and when you’ll be back. Leave a printed copy of your itinerary with someone you trust.

It’s also a good idea to know what the weather is going to do while you are away, what the fire ban status of the area is so you know if you can have a campfire, and what dangerous animals or toxic plants you may encounter in your camping area.

It’s a good idea to make sure you have the campsite booking number, address, phone, direction, and a printed confirmation with you. A paper-based map is going to be handy if phone coverage is patchy where you are planning to camp too.

Stay safe!

Happy Camping 😊

Back one: Bringing a toddler too? See our camping with a toddler packing list.

Next up: Heading camping while it’s wet? See our camping in the rain packing list.

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Author at Wilderness Redefined camping website

Kara grew up in New Zealand where camping in the backyard as a child turned into multi-night trips in the National Parks as a teenager and then a full blown backpacking adventure for a year in Asia, by herself in her early 20's. Camping, bush walking, car camping and road trips still feature heavily in her current life style. She lives right next door to a World Heritage National Park on Springbrook Mountain and highly recommends having them as next door neighbours!