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Camping with a Toddler

June 12, 2015

Camping with a Toddler

My husband and I love camping. We enjoy sleeping in the nature, hiking and roasting S’mores by the fire pit.

When our daughter turned 1, time had arrived to introduce her to this fun activity. We took her on her first camping trip in the San Jose mountains.

We didn't want to take her too far or stay out more than one night, as we were nervous and didn't know how she would behave outdoors. So, we picked a location only an hour drive from our home, just in case we would have to drive back in the middle of the night.

But nothing happened, she was perfectly fine. She ate, she played and slept as usual. We even had fun!

This year, when she turned 2, with the confidence from last year’s trip, we decided to take her to the next level and camp a bit further away, this time in Big Sur, which is about 3 hours drive. Again for 1 night only.

She was much more active this time, she had an appetite to explore everything around her, the river, the trees, the birds, especially the mud on the ground! She had an amazing time hiking through the woods, sleeping in a tent, sitting on a mini camp chair. She has been wanting to go back ever since.   

And since she did so well, we are planning to take her on a 2 night camping trip next!

When I mention to friends and family that we took our toddler camping, other parents ask how we managed and what we packed. I decided to share my packing list here so that anyone planning to go camping with their toddler can benefit from it. 

What to Pack when Camping with a Toddler


We didn’t buy her a separate sleeping bag. She cuddled in with us in our two person sleeping bag. We had an extra blanket with us, in case it would get too cold at night, but ended up not using it.


We dressed her in layers, so we could manage through the cold and warm weather. Of course, we packed some spare clothes and shoes. She got so dirty that we ended up changing her clothes couple of times throughout the day.


Packed snacks, drinks (juice and water), uncooked pasta and pre-cooked peas stored in the cooler. I used our camping stove to boil her pasta and to heat up the pre-cooked peas. Yummy, she loved it! 


Wet wipes, camp shower, soap, hand sanitizer and a towel. Her hands, feet and face got really muddy playing outside all day. Thanks to our mobile camp shower, I was able to wash all the dirt away with the help of some soap.


She is still in her diapers, so nothing difficult with changing diapers in the wild. But the fact that she uses pull ups made the changes easier and faster.


She didn’t have any trouble with hiking as we adjusted our pace to hers. She stopped frequently to explore the flowers, bees and birds. We were fine with it, we also took along our toddler backpack carrier. When she got too tired to walk, she got into the backpack, which she really enjoyed.


Sun screen and bug repellent.

Sitting & Playing:

Mini camp chair, bubbles, a mini soccer ball and a teddy bear as her sleeping companion.


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 Author: Ebru

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