Camping With Baby: 5 Things to Consider

Bringing your baby camping for the first time might seem like a wild task, but with a little preparation and some fresh air- anything is possible! 

Camping has always been the centerpiece of summer, and continuing this tradition with my son has been an exciting adventure within itself.  Over the years we’ve mastered the art of family camping, and I’m happy to share my top 5 tips with you!

5) Save memories without power cords

The best part of camping is making memories, but preserving them can be a little tricky when your battery dies or you don’t want to risk water or shock damage to your devices.  Just make a small kit with a Ziploc bag, journal, pencil and any other small things that can help you capture the moment.  Throw it in your tackle box or diaper bag and you are good to go!  Use the journal to record the dates and details of the different things you’ve seen and explored together through the years.  As your family grows, this log will become a nostalgic storybook to share around the campfire.  

4)  Bedtime changes.

Older infants might develop new sleeping habits while camping.  Whether it’s the sun waking them up earlier than they do at home, or maybe the peaceful silence helps them nap longer during the afternoon- the unfamiliar environment and changes in their routine can be exciting or exhausting.  Experiment what works best for you and your little one and develop your own camping routine, which might look different than the one you do at home.  Try taking a walk with a baby carrier or stroller to soothe restlessness or bring some toys for quiet early-morning playtime. (A pack and play may also save your sanity!)


3)  Don’t let the bed bugs bite.

Mosquitoes, ticks, and spiders- oh my!  Nature is full of creepy crawly insects, but that doesn’t mean we want them nibbling on us.  Most of your baby’s protection will come from their clothes and being aware of their surroundings.  While you’ll want to avoid using harsh insect repellents on newborns, there are many other options to stay itch-free.  Mosquito netting does wonders for sleeping and playing areas while providing shade, or you can deter the pests from your entire campsite with Thermacell technology or citronella products.

2)  Meal preparation for baby.

Depending on how your baby eats, you will have to plan accordingly.  Pack water to use for powdered formula mixes so you don’t have to worry about contamination from unfamiliar water sources, and bring along a method to sterilize your bottles and other equipment.  A simple Coleman portable camping stove works perfectly and can be used wherever you go.  You can boil everything and make bottles as you would at home! (Don’t forget the waterproof matches!) Breastfeeding parents might find that nursing on the hard ground can be uncomfortable, so grab some extra pillows and cushions to make it less taxing on your back, neck and bottom!


1)  Stay safe against the elements.

Safety first, right?! A few small steps can help you prevent big emergencies, and it’s easy to avoid sunburn, wind irritation and other concerns.  Remember that your baby is more sensitive to heat, cold, wind and light than you are.  Hats are the easiest defense for your baby’s face against the sun, along with providing ears protection from the wind.  You’ll also want extra outfits and layers for the colder nighttime temperatures or rain.  Store everything in a waterproof bin and keep it with the rest of your gear to save yourself from having to repack every time.

Don’t forget: if you are going to be near a shoreline or on the open water, it’s extremely important to always have a Coast Guard approved life vest ready.  Be vigilant about your baby wearing it every time and share this concern with family and friends.  

Spend this time learning, laughing and relaxing together- don’t sweat all the details!  

You are already doing something wonderful by taking these trips.  The process will get easier each time, and it’ll always be worth it.


Racheal Ulberg is the owner of Eau Claire Doulas, western Wisconsin's premier doula agency. Her expert team is dedicated to providing inclusive, collaborative support while sharing their expertise with families across several communities.

Andrea WillemsComment