Camping Gear For Toddlers
Why should you go camping with toddlers? It can sound like a crazy idea while you watch your two-year-old throw yet another tantrum because you gave them the wrong colored plate for dinner. Toddlers typically have tantrums because they feel limited or are struggling to communicate.
Take them camping where they can hear more “yes”. Stomp in that puddle, dig in the sand, climb all those rocks, and enjoy the freedom that the outside has to offer. With the right gear, camping can be a nice reprieve for you and your toddler. We have our favorite toddler gear below but if you need more tips/gear advice for camping as a family learn more here Camping Gear.
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- Camping Gear For Toddlers
- Toddler Sleeping Gear for Camping
- Blackout Tents and Covers
- Camping Gear for Toddlers: Play and Explore
- Camping Toddler Accessories
- Toddler Camping Gear for Eating
- Go Camping With Your Toddler
- Camping Gear For Toddlers
Toddler Sleeping Gear for Camping
Sleep with toddlers can feel elusive. While there is no perfect science to get your toddler to sleep, there is great toddler camping gear that can make it easier for your little one to get to sleep and stay asleep. Check out more toddler sleep tips while camping here: 13 Ways to Help Kids Sleep While Camping.
Cribs, Cots, and Toddler Tents
Making sure your toddler is safe and comfortable while sleeping is the number one priority while camping. Always make sure to follow safe sleep practices. This will look different depending on your kiddo’s age.
Any old pack-and-play will do but if you are looking to purchase for the first time or are short on space, this is a fantastic upgrade. With backpack straps, it is easy to carry to camp and I love that it sits flat against the ground so you can easily slide a sleeping pad underneath rather than traditional pack and plays that will have a gap of cold air under your toddler.
This is great for older toddlers and toddlers with big siblings. I’ve never met a kid who didn’t love a bunk bed so these will be a win for siblings, cousins, or friends. Read a more in-depth review here: Disc-O-Bed Cot Review.
This pop-up mini tent provides bug protection and a safe way to keep your toddler from rolling all over the tent. Also great to pack and carry for nap breaks on a hike.
Sleeping Bags for Toddlers
This sleeping bag is great for little ones because it has an integrated full pad sleeve. No more toddlers slipping off their sleeping pads.
This REI kid’s sleeping bag can be tied off for shorter sleepers to keep heat in. Because it can be tied off it also grows with your kiddo so it has a longer life.
These are our favorite sleeping bags for toddlers. They come in two fills (down and synthetic) and now three different kid sizes. The Little Mo bag is best for ages 6-24 months, the Big Mo bag is best for 2-4 years, and the new Mighty Mo is best for ages 4-6. If you feel like matching your little one they also have an Adult Sized Sleep Sack.
Toddler Sleeping Pads for Camping
A sleeping bag by itself is not enough the keep your little one warm while camping. Make sure your toddler has a warm comfy sleeping pad to lay on so they don’t get too cold.
Toddler sleeping pads (short!)
These are shorter sleeping pads meant to fit your toddler. These pads are all small and light enough that they also work great for backpacking.
- REI Kindercamp Sleeping Pad – A self-inflating pad perfect for car camping. This pad has the highest R-value which means it provides great insulation from ground temperatures.
- Kylmit Static V Short – An inflatable sleeping pad with side rails meant to keep wiggly toddlers on the sleeping pad all night long.
- Nemo Switchback Short – An ultra-light foam pad. We love this for the summer or as a second layer in the winter.
Double Sleeping Pads for Sharing
These are larger, heavy, and comfier car camping pads that are perfect for sharing with your little one. Some of our team members like to buy two comfy double to span the entire length of their tent so there are no cracks for littles to roll into.
- Nemo Roamer Sleeping Pad Double – open cell foam with an R-value of 6. Great for keeping you warm even on the coldest of camping trips.
- Exped MegaMat Duo – the hands-down most comfortable sleeping pad on the market. Our team members say it is even more comfortable than their bed at home.
White noise is great to block out the unfamiliar noises of camping. If you use white noise at home, bringing it with can help create a familiar atmosphere for bedtime.
This is our favorite sturdy go everywhere travel sound machine. We have had ours for five years now and it is still going strong. We bring it to grandma’s house, hotels, backpacking, long car rides, and camping. If you are using it overnight bring a portable battery charger to prevent it from turning off in the middle of the night.
The updated version of the basic sound machine above has a built in night light. This night light is great for middle of the night nursing sessions or to help resettle a nervous toddler.
Need some more tips? 10 Tips for Sleeping and Camping with Infants and Toddlers
Blackout Tents and Covers
Heading to sleep while the sun is still up can be harder in a tent than at home. Uses these toddler camping gear items below to create a darker sleep environment.
The SlumberPod is designed to fit over a portable kids’ crib or toddler sleeping pad to block out light. Unlike a blanket that blocks airflow and can easily overheat a sleeping toddler, this specially designed cover is tested to be safe and breathable for sleep. It includes a pouch for a baby monitor as well as a specially designed pouch for a fan to keep your little one cool.
This tent is specially designed to provide a dark sleeping environment for the whole family. The manufacture claims the “Dark Room technology blocks 90% of sunlight and reduces heat inside the tent so you can sleep in past sunrise or enjoy an afternoon nap”.
Camping Gear for Toddlers: Play and Explore
While these extras are not essential toddler camping gear, they can make the experience extra special for your little one. Plus they have the added bonus of giving the grown ups opportunities for adult conversation or even an adult beverage.
Lights for Camping
Lights make any after-dark adventures magical. Toddlers are fascinated with light and love to feel like their grown-ups so we included our favorite toddler-friendly lights below.
A great headlamp with a glow-in-the-dark reflector so you can spot it in the dark. It also has a parent favorite dimmer so your little one can explore without blinding everyone they meet. Can be used with AAA batteries or a sold separate, rechargeable battery.
One large on/off button makes this easy-to-use toddler camping gear. This one is also water resistant so it is great for late night lake hikes or splashing in puddles. Also a favorite among little ones because of the changing color LEDs. The LED panel also prevents a direct beam of light going into everyone else’s eyes.
A super cute caterpillar toddler flashlight with an easy to grip handle to prevent accidental drops. It has six little buggy feet to help its rounded body sit steadily on flat surfaces.
A tiny string of lights that can charge in the sunlight may be the most magical piece of toddler camping gear. String these inside the tent for a magical bedtime story-reading atmosphere.
This crush light is a favorite among my own toddlers. This gets used so much that we may need to purchase a second one to eliminate the fighting over who gets to hold it. This light crushes flat for easy storage and turns all sorts of fun colors. It gets used for blanket forts at home as well as camping and backpacking trips with our littles.
Toddler Camping Toys
Yes, your toddler will probably be plenty happy playing with rocks and sticks, but it is nice to have some toys to pull out for times when you need space to set up camp or cook a meal. Toys are also a great way to make camping friends with other kids staying at your campground.
This pack of three buckets is great for digging, scooping, and carrying water plus these are collapsible so they can easily fit in the car or pack. Our buckets and shovels provided my toddler with hours of fun during our last camping trip. When we took them to the campground lake they convince a whole group of older kids to haul water up to the “river” they had made.
Water guns can be so much fun camping but little toddler fingers can struggle to pull the trigger. That’s why these are our favorite warm weather toddler camping gear toy items. These have easy-to-hold handles so toddlers can get in on the water fun.
We love walkie-talkies for camping but our toddlers always push the wrong button and change the channel or turn the volume down. That is why these PAW Patrol walkie-talkies are perfect for toddlers. They only have one big button. Plus if your toddlers are anything like mine they are PAW Patrol obsessed.
Those rocks aren’t going to move themselves. Make sure you grab your toddler a truck to pile things and dump them out. This is a great toy for playing right on the tent pad and I love that this one from Green Toys is made out of recycled materials. We have had ours for years and it still looks great and is our most played-with toy.
Bikes and Scooters for Camping
Many campgrounds are built around a paved loop. Bring some wheels as part of your toddler camping gear so that you can enjoy your morning coffee while walking behind your wheeling toddler who inevitably wakes up at five am.
This is the best first scooter for your toddler. It has a super stable design with two front wheels so it won’t tip over and it’s easier for your toddler to balance on. For a toddler who hasn’t quite mastered walking check out this one with a ride-on seat. For a toddler who loves to shine bright, we love that this one has LED light-up wheels.
Our TMM team is passionate about balance bikes and campgrounds are the perfect place to learn to ride one. Read about our favorites here 5 Best Balance Bikes for Toddlers and why you should choose a balance bike instead of training wheels here Balance Bike VS Training Wheels. Make sure to keep your toddler safe and check out our favorite bike helmets here Best Bike Helmets for Kids.
Camping Toddler Accessories
These are our favorite extra toddler camping gear items that make camping a little easier. Plus they make things safer and a little less messy with little ones.
Hats for Camping
No matter the season little toddler noggins should be covered. If your toddlers are anything like mine they are lacking in the hair department so making sure tiny heads are covered in the summer to prevent sunburn and covered in the cold weather to prevent heat loss is especially important.
All of our TMM team members compiled our favorite winter hats! When camping, even in warmer weather, toddlers lose lots of heat from their heads. I like to pop a lightweight winter hat on my sleeping toddlers at night while camping unless it is really warm and just do a quick temperature check before I fall asleep.
Sun hats help keep that precious baby skin from getting sunburned. Plus a nice wide-brim hat means you get to put less sunscreen on your wriggling toddler. All our favorites are listed in the post linked above.
Toddler’s eyes are much more sensitive to the sun than adults’. They are a protective toddler camping gear item, not just a cute accessory. Read about our favorite sunglasses for kids of all ages. Our favorites for toddlers are Babiators, Banz, Mini-Shades, and Jan & Jul.
Trail Suits for Camping
Crawling and wobbly toddlers fall often and love to find mud. Put them in a trail suit so they can find all the muddy fun while exploring, but then you can strip it off before coming into the tent.
For our crawling toddlers, these are our absolute favorite. They have integrated booties so no shoes or bulky boots are needed.
Full of fun patterns that are sure to delight your toddler, this is a cozy fleece-lined, full-body trail suit. The ultimate toddler camping gear item for keeping mud and dirt out of your tent without having to do a full body hose down before bed.
Oaki Trailsuit (use code MTNMAMA for 15% off)
This unlined trail suit option is great for warmer weather while still keeping wet and mud off your adventurous toddler. We also find this trail suit especially durable and additional layers can easily fit underneath if your little one gets cold.
Check out some more of our favorite picks for your adventurous toddler.
Toddler Camping Gear for Eating
Feeding toddlers can be trickier while camping. There are open flames from a grill, wood fire, or stove. Make sure you have the right toddler camping gear to make meal times run smoothly.
Highchairs and Boosters
Containing toddler mess in one area can make it easier to clean up and leave no trace. Consider strapping your messing toddler into one of the portable highchairs or booster options below.
Things can get messy with toddlers, but cleanup is a breeze with this high chair. A removable, machine-washable fabric and a removable dishwasher-safe tray with a cup holder make cleaning messes while camping. While this does collapse down the legs are longer so it can be hard to fit in smaller vehicles.
All of the same great details as the high chair but in a much smaller package. This folds much smaller and will more easily fit in a cramped space for transportation, while still keeping your toddler strapped in and contained during meal times.
The ultimate in toddler camping gear comfort, this chair is built for the growing child. The chair converts from sitting, to standing, to big kid mode and can comfortably seat babies to an average sized 8 year old. If you have twins or kiddos close in age check out their double highchair.
This high chair is perfect for campgrounds with picnic tables. It can easily clip on and allows the whole family to sit at the same table and eat together.
Camp chairs are great for older toddlers and have much longer usability than highchairs. However, they do allow your toddler to wander and make them harder to contain.
This chair is a favorite among our team. It is the perfect family chair to share. Low to the ground for toddlers to easily climb in and out of and for grown-ups to get extra close to a warm fire.
We have two of these chairs and love them. They are a little more difficult for my two-year-old to climb onto but still comfortably fit my almost six-year-old. We also love the carrying bag for transport and storage.
The LLBean chair is solid with no extra frills. Great for older toddlers as they transition into bigger kids.
A lower seat than our other picks, this is the perfect fit for true toddlers. It fits my 1 and 2 year old well and stills fits a 7 year old. It doesn’t come with a separate carrying case but instead has an attached strap (which I love because it never gets lost).
Water Bottles for Camping
While not specific toddler camping gear, when camping we love to have sturdy water bottles that can handle being dropped and thrown around. Especially in the warmer months, a sturdy insulated bottle is a must have.
The toughest of the bunch. This water bottle has taken a ride on the top of our vehicles a couple of times only to fly off at high speeds and come away relatively unscathed. This flip top is a little harder for tiny hands to operate; my two-year-old has to bring it to me when he needs a drink.
We have two of these at home. We love the rubber bottom for drops but do find that it makes it harder to put in and pull out of backpack water bottle pockets
This water bottle is the only one on our list that fits in a standard water bottle holder. It is insulated and sturdy like our other choices but is the only one with a steel straw instead of plastic.
For the tiniest of toddlers who still like to “tip” their water bottles for that baby bottle feel. We like this one for the transition off of baby bottles and into bigger water bottles because it is the lightest option.
Go Camping With Your Toddler
With the right toddler camping gear, your opinionated toddlers will be ready for many camping adventures. For everyone’s fun and safety, it is critical to have the right gear and the right preparation. We love doing a test run in the house or backyard to work out any kinks.
While seemingly intimidating, camping with toddlers can be rewarding, fun, and memorable! The hardest part is getting out the door. Make the first time easier by inviting friends or family members to join in.
- Family Camping Meal Plan
- Camping with Kids Hacks
- How to Help Your Child Poop Outside
- Best Family Tents
- Hiking with Toddlers Tips
Camping Gear For Toddlers
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