From exploring nature through the eyes of little ones to making your child's first s'more, camping with toddlers can be fun and rewarding for the whole family. However, it comes with challenges, as toddlers thrive on routine, and camping can disrupt that. With the right gear, though, you can make the experience smooth and enjoyable!

Camping with a toddler offers numerous benefits for their development, fostering curiosity, creativity, and a sense of wonder. It promotes environmental responsibility, boosts imagination through play, and improves physical and mental health by reducing stress and enhancing mood. This timeless tradition, embraced by cultures worldwide, nurtures growth from an early age. From the Scandinavian concept of "friluftsliv" to modern family camping trips, outdoor adventures instill resilience and a love for nature.

Camping with Toddler Gear Checklist

This camping checklist is not minimalistic by nature and not meant to serve as a backcountry camping with kids list. The amount of stuff that you will need to be comfortable is mind-boggling. And be prepared to spend at least half a day packing, meal-prepping, and loading up the vehicle.

Ultimate Toddler Camping Gear Checklist

This Camping with Toddler Gear Checklist is broken into sections. Remember, this list is a general guideline, and you can customize it based on your specific needs and preferences. If you'd like a comprehensive, all-encompassing list, please feel free to scroll to the bottom of this article!

Camping Sleeping Gear

Tent camping can be a fantastic adventure if you’re prepared. When camping with toddlers, make sure the tent has enough standing space and bring a tarp for extra protection from rainy days.

For sleeping, use toddler-specific sleeping bags to keep them snug and warm. Extra blankets are a must for comfort and emergencies. You have various bedding options: queen-sized air mattress, cots, or a playpen for younger toddlers. We prefer a double sleeping bag for ourselves along with pillows from home. Don't forget your kiddo's favourite stuffed animal and white noise machine to maintain their bedtime routine while camping.

Camping Food Gear

Campgrounds with picnic tables make meal times easier, but you'll need the right gear to cook with. If you're camping on crown land, you'll need a foldable camp table and may want to consider trays for holding food. Child-sized dishes from home can help encourage eating by providing a familiar touch. Don't forget a sturdy water bottle or sippy cup to keep your little one hydrated.

Some essential items you will have to get the day before or the morning of your camping with toddlers escapade (like water, ice, and propane). Do yourself a favour and have a least one meal prepared. When choosing camp food for toddlers, choose easy camping meals. Some of our favourite camping meals include burgers, breakfast sandwiches, and spaghetti with pre-made sauce.

Camping Clothes with Toddlers

Because we live in Alberta, even in the summer, we have cold nights that require a fleece or puffy jacket. When camping with toddlers, pack at least two extra sets of clothes for the inevitable messes. During potty training with your toddler while camping, bring all the extra underwear and a few sets of pants. Pack appropriate clothing layers, including beanies, gloves, hoodies, and long johns, to combat our chilly Alberta nights. Dress your toddler in fleecy pajamas with feet at bedtime.

Camping Clean & Protection

  • Towels
  • Hats
  • Hair elastics
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug repellent
  • Diapers/Pull-ups
  • Wet Wipes
  • Poo bags
  • Pocket Knife

Camping Activities

Toys, games, and activities depending on where you're camping with toddlers. If you're near a beach, bring a shovel and bucket to dig in the sand and collect rocks. If you're camping near a lake, bring floaties and life jackets. In case of rain, have some tent-friendly activities, such as crayons, board books, and small toys.

  • Strider bike
  • Camping toys
  • Lifejacket
  • Camping chair
  • Alcohol
  • Musical instruments - shakers, ukelele, guitars
  • Speaker
  • Charger and portable battery pack
  • Headlamp/flashlight
  • Propane fireplace
  • Propane for the cooking stove and firepit
  • Lighter, paper, and wood (if there isn't a fire ban)
  • Small axe

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Camping with Toddlers Checklist

  1. Tent
  2. Tarp
  3. Queen-sized air mattress
  4. Playpen
  5. Baby Sleeping bag
  6. Double Sleeping bag
  7. Pillows
  8. Blankets
  9. Favourite stuffed animal/toy
  10. White noise machine
    1. Picnic table cloth
    2. Cooking stove
    3. Pot set
    4. Coffee thermos
    5. Bowls
    6. Plates
    7. Utensils
    8. Water bottle
    9. Water supply
    10. Cooler with ice
    11. S'mores kit
    12. Snacks
    13. Prior meal-prepped dishes
    14. Garbage bags
    15. Coffee, sugar, creamer
      1. Underwear
      2. Fleecy onesie pj's
      3. Merino wool layers
      4. Slip on shoes
      5. Water shoes
      6. Sneakers
      7. Jackets (Warm & Rain)
      8. Beanies
      9. Gloves
      10. Hoody
        1. Towels
        2. Hats
        3. Hair elastics
        4. Toothbrush & toothpaste
        5. Sunscreen
        6. Bug repellent
        7. Diapers/Pull-ups
        8. Wet Wipes
        9. Poo bags
        10. Pocket Knife
          1. Strider bike
          2. Camping toys
          3. Lifejacket
          4. Camping chair
          5. Alcohol
          6. Musical instruments - shakers, ukelele, guitars
          7. Speaker
          8. Charger and portable battery pack
          9. Headlamp/flashlight
          10. Propane fireplace
          11. Propane for the cooking stove and firepit
          12. Lighter, paper, and wood (if there isn't a fire ban)
          13. Small axe