Camping with Baby Checklist

Baby Camping near tent

Hiking with baby is one thing but camping with a baby? Sure! You plan, you pack, and you adjust your expectations.

Practice Camping. If you aren’t quite sure whether you or your baby are ready, try a backyard camp out with all of your gear to see if you have what you need. This may also be a way to ease your baby or toddler into the idea of camping if you haven’t tried it before.

In addition to your own camping gear, you will need baby gear for camping.

Klean Kanteen Sippy Cup

  • Baby food or grinder (if child is eating solid foods)
  • Sippy cup (if child is drinking water)
  • Snacks (again, if)
  • Bibs

Non-toxic sun protection hat

  • Extra clothes with an emphasis on layers
  • Cotton shirts that snap at the crotch
  • Hoodie (to keep the neck covered)
  • Hats
  • Pajamas (footie pajamas mean fewer chances for creepy crawlies up the legs)
  • Clothesline

Cleanwell natural hand sanitizer

  • Diapers
  • Diaper Covers
  • Wipes
  • Wet bags
  • Spray bottle
  • Natural hand sanitizer

Tummy Tub for safe baby bathing

  • Bath tub (so you can use warmer water than you might in a cold shower or stream)
  • Grooming items like tweezers and nail clippers

Baby carrier
Ergo Baby Carrier Sport

  • Backpack carrier for hiking
  • Sling or soft carrier for around camp

Haba Klapperwurm wooden rattle and chew toy for baby

  • Her favorite blanket or toy
  • Games and toys
  • Rattles or chew toys (if you can tie it to your pack, even better)
  • Storybooks
  • Waterproof blanket to create a play area


  • First aid kit – add baby items
  • Whistle (3 years +)

Toddlers may need more activities
Clementine Art Natural Soy Crayons

  • His own flashlight
  • Paper
  • Pencils and crayons
  • Books
  • Buckets and shovels
  • Containers like old yogurt cups to collect rocks and sticks

Image © Davidebner |

Saturday Night Camp Out

Family bed pillow fightEvery Saturday night, my family fills our living room with every couch cushion in the house, wall to wall, and we camp out. We always fall asleep watching a movie we intend to see to the end, though we always fall asleep, and we always wake up and have breakfast back on the big bed. It’s scheduled magic.

I’m back to reading The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections, from the Baby by Nature store.

In her chapter on “Everyday Rituals,” Amanda Blake Soule makes the point that finding time for our creativity and family closeness is often an obstacle. She suggests making appointments and planning for those activities that nurture us.

One of the family rituals she suggests is meeting in bed at the beginning of the day, crayons and paper in hand, to come up with a prioritized list of the day’s activities.

In my family, we start our meeting early.

Once we fit every cushion in the house together around the furniture, like a giant puzzle, we cover it all with a sheet and a king-sized comforter. It looks remarkably like the set up when my children build a fort. We sit on top of and around one another, piled like puppies (including the puppy), have a snack, and watch a movie. Sidney Poitier and Cary Grant are household names; my children know the difference between Katharine Hepburn and Audrey Hepburn. We watch the same movies over and over, and we talk and sing along. Then, we fall asleep.

It’s completely predictable, and we love this time together. We protect it. We turn down invitations for Saturdays.

Until a few years ago, we all slept in a king-sized bed together. Some of my dearest memories of my children as toddlers are falling asleep between them, listening to them sleep, holding them both in my arms. When we moved, we didn’t have a bedroom big enough for our family bed, so we just have an open invitation to children. But, that doesn’t happen often.

Now, the Saturday night camp out gives us that close time to look forward to every week.

I appreciate the reminder from The Creative Family that we need to schedule that family time before busy tasks. Those family rituals that keep us close are a higher priority than grouting the kitchen or sweeping up stray leaves, though we have those fun chores scheduled this weekend as well.

“In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don’t try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present.” ~Tao Te Ching, quoted in “Everyday Rituals,” The Creative Family

Image © 4774344sean |

Camping with Cloth Diapers – Simple Travel with Children

Of course we camp with cloth diapers! We trust cloth diapers, and we understand how to make them work for us.

There are two kinds of cloth diaper camping trips (or any cloth diaper vacations): short trips when you bring the diapers back home to wash and longer trips when you wash on the road.

Cloth diapers for short camping trips

If you are planning to wash your diapers back home, pack diapers as you would for a day trip only pack more. If you will be away for more than two days, consider washing diapers while you are gone. Dirty diapers that sit longer than a couple of days will smell bad and be much hard to make clean and fresh when you return.

Cloth diapers. Multiple the number of changes in an ordinary day by the number of days you will be gone (no more than three), then add a couple. For example, for a 48-hour, two-night camping trip for a baby who goes through 8 diapers a day, pack 18 diapers (( 2 x 8 ) + 2 ). Use the diapers you would normally use, and don’t forget the covers and wipes. Pack your diapers in a wet bag to keep them from getting dewy and damp.

Wet bag. Next to the cloth diapers, the diaper wet bag is the most important part of your camping cloth diaper system. Make sure the bag does not leak. You know why this is important. That’s two bags: one for clean and one for dirty.

Essential oil. My choice: tea tree. Others may prefer lavender or other oils. Tea tree oil has antibacterial and antiseptic properties, and I like the pleasant aroma.

During the trip, dump the poop where you would dump your own. Squeeze wet diapers, so you carry around as little urine in your wet bag as possible. Doing this will also minimize the smell.

There you go! For a short trip, you take care of the cloth diapers by putting them off for a couple of days. For a longer trip, you will need more preparation.

Cloth diapers for long camping trips

If you will be camping for more than 2 days, you will probably want to wash your cloth diapers on the trail. It wouldn’t take you more than three days of hauling around a heavy bag of urine-soaked diapers to figure out why.

The packing list starts out the same, then includes a few washing essentials.

Cloth diapers. Because you will be washing and drying without the help of highly efficient machines, you may want to choose the simplest diapers you have. My preference is flat or prefold diapers because they are the easiest to clean and the quickest to dry. Though I prefer wool diaper covers in most situations, I would probably choose something less breathable for a child who is going to be sitting heavily in a baby carrier for hours a day. A cover like Bummis Super Whisper Wrap will work nicely then wash easily. Don’t forget the cloth wipes.

Wet bag. Pack two.

Tea tree oil.

Laundry liquid. Be sure to choose a detergent that won’t leave residue on your diapers or in the water. You might even want to choose a simple soap you would use for your own shower. When you wash, scrub the diaper against itself with a little soap, agitate if you have a container to do this, and rinse very well. Do not dump your dirty water into anyone’s water supply. Dump the water out on the ground well away from standing water to avoid contamination.

Clothesline and clothespins. Or not. I tend to drape my clothes over whatever bag, chair, or rope is nearby. If you might be in a hurry, pack a rope. Cloth diapers waving in a breeze will dry much more quickly than those draped over a plastic tent. If you don’t dry your diapers thoroughly, they can get musty smelling and even mildewy. Sun dry your diapers, then roll them gently between your hands to soften.

Even for long trips, the system isn’t much more complicated than for day trips. If you plan ahead, you shouldn’t need to think about diapers any more than you would every day. Just go about the daily task, and enjoy your trip.