What’s better than perfectly-charred marshmallows turning slowly over flickering flames, a much-needed day spent in your favorite fishing chair with a cold beer, campfire-smoke lingering on your clothes, and ending the night snug and warm in a comfy sleeping bag? Nothing beats the sights, smells, and sounds of camp life, and there’s nothing like sharing that love with your kids.
If you’re like most outdoorsy-type dads, you’re itching to take another camping trip as soon as possible and you want to gear up now. But let’s be real—kids can make your camping trip much more enjoyable, but they can also add considerable stress. Getting them ready and keeping them safe and happy in the great outdoors can be difficult if you don’t have the right equipment. Let’s take a look at 10 items that will maximize fun, comfort, and safety for your new baby so you can enjoy a stress-free camping trip.
When you’re mulling over the packing list for a camping trip with a baby, it can be overwhelming. Even the most spacious SUV would have trouble fitting a full-size bassinet or changing station. It’s not worth the hassle. Clearly whoever designed this 3 in 1 lifesaver has been in the same position. This lightweight bag has more than enough storage space for baby essentials. It also converts into a sturdy changing station or bassinet in less than 30 seconds.
Real Review: “Its a bit bulky so i dont carry it everywhere only if i know we’ll be there a while or on a trip but its a great back. Im able to fit enough diapers for the whole day. Wipes. Powder. Formula. Pacifiers and a change of clothes . And i love the diaper changer since many places dont have them in the public bathrooms.”
If you plan on staying up late, sitting back around the campfire with a few brews, and telling stories with friends and family, things can get a little rowdy. Want to break out “We Are the Champions” for the third time? Go for it! Just make sure to use a portable white noise machine so your loud mouth blends in with the background noise. Every extra second of sleep your baby gets is well worth it.
Real Review: “This thing is a magic machine. My 5 month old was only sleeping 15 minutes tops at naps for me and at daycare. Figured for the price we’d give it a shot and it worked wonders, now he does two, four hour naps! I ended up buying a second to send to daycare. I also feel like I sleep better if I use it. Battery life was seriously impressive. I put the only AAAs I had in which I stole from an old remote and we used this for over a month for probably 14 hours a day on those used batteries. Someone told me you shouldn’t use sounds machines for babies if it’s over 25 decibels and recommended an app to test it and on the lowest volume this comes in under. So that’s a plus too”
Your life doesn’t need to stop just because you’ve started a family. If you’re always on the go and love to hike, a strong but lightweight hiking backpack for your little one is a must-have. Starting at 9 months and up to 4 years or 33 pounds, your baby can enjoy the comfort of a thickly-padded, canopy protected ride strapped to their Daddy. The lightweight design and padded straps keep you going strong, and the hip belt with lumbar padding prevents back-aches for the whole journey.
Real Review: “I absolutely love this pack. We do a fair amount of hiking, and this thing really has changed the game for me. It’s lightweight and well balanced even when my kid is rocking and kicking and jumping around back there. I wear it to vacuum and rake leaves and run the blower and cook dinner and the list goes on. The big zipper pocket is big enough to put the water bladder from my solo pack in too… just run the straw up the side. My daughter seems to love it too. It’s almost a guaranteed nap after a couple miles. Lots of pockets for snacks and treasures and whatnot. Highly recommend.”
When your baby is just beginning to experiment with foods, keeping them safe, sturdy, and comfortable is key. That can be a problem when you’re camping unless you come prepared with a high-quality, portable high chair. These easy-to-fold chairs fit easily in your trunk with all of the other camping chairs and wipe off easily for quick cleaning. It’s also perfect for Grandma’s house!
The only thing that could make this better is to also make this a potty training seat!
“By far the best $40 I’ve spent! Being a new parent, everything is marketed to you like you’re a moron who can figure out what to get for your kid and out of all the baby stuff, this chair is fantastic! We use it at grand parents houses, restaurants, and outside in the backyard and on the deck. Some reviewers said it was hard to get the baby’s legs out of the holes but this hasn’t been an issue, just lift your kid straight out. It’s so easy and lightweight to transport, and takes up no room in the car plus the carrying strap is great. Absolutely great product and I’m debating getting a second one! Definitely recommend!”
Whether your new baby is rolling, crawling, or still a stationary little bean, they’re going to want to explore all around the campground. Unfortunately, rocks and other choking hazards are always nearby, so giving your baby a little room to play in a safe space is essential. In comes the freestanding, lightweight portable Playard. At 14 square feet, the spacious play area keeps your little one safe and the weather-resistant canvas floor makes it great for outdoor use. It even folds up in seconds and comes with a travel bag so you can pack it away and get moving to your next destination.
Real Review: “I ordered this because I have a 10yr old with autism and sensory needs and a 2yr old and I wanted to make a ball pit. Something that would be big enough for both of them and collapsible without being inflatible (I didn’t want to deal with holes). And this was exactly what I needed! I can actually get in it with them. I started with 600 uncrushable 6.5cm balls which was a good start but I feel like another 600 more would make it perfect. Im super super happy I thought of this and wanted to spread the word that you can actually use this product beyond the baby years!!”
When the leaves start falling, nights can become uncomfortably chilly, especially for a tiny baby. That’s why it’s so important to prepare with a few swaddling blankets or wearable blankets to wrap your new addition at night or on chilly days until they’re big enough for sleeping bags.
Real Review:”Baby loves these. They are lightweight so he wears a onesie underneath and is comfy. The Velcro holds tight throughout the night most of the time- some nights he wiggles more than usual and gets a handout, no biggie. They wash well in the machine. A must for all new babys. When he was under 8 pounds I’d swaddle first in a receiving blanket and then use this as the second layer to hold it all together.”
If your baby isn’t quite ready for the Playard or you need something a bit more compact for your newborn, the baby dome is perfect for nap time, tummy time, and playtime for newborns up to 5 months. The soft padding, sun-blocking visor, and canopy fabric with UV shield keeps your baby safe, comfortable, and smiling all trip long. It even folds flat for easy transport.
Real Review: “This is awesome! It’s much more compact and less cumbersome than a pack and play, but it’s very sturdy and provides protection from the sun. My daughter naps in it all the time.”
Looking for an inexpensive, creative way to bring a little more comfort to tent floors when your little one needs time to crawl or play with their toys? Interlocking foam padding can be used to customize a pattern around your tent floor to fit any small or large area. They’ll be more comfortable on your feet, too!
Real Review: “I’m happy to report that after 5 months of heavy use they still rock. They got a little loose in a couple junction spots, but nothing major really, they never separated, and I love that you can always add or remove pieces to fit your needs. They are really good quality, I highly recommend them.”
If you want to explore the trails or go for walks along rough terrain but your baby isn’t big enough for a backpack (or you aren’t in the mood to carry them on your back), a high-quality, durable stroller is for you. Large bicycle tires roll effortlessly over any surface you want to explore while your baby is protected by a large canopy and comfortable in a padded reclining seat.
Real Review: “I am loving this stroller. My 2 year old fits great in it and I’m sure she will fit for another 2 years. The tray is great for snacks and the seat reclines very far for naps. The parent console on top is convenient as well. The wheels make it very easy to push and go off on the dirt trail that we love so much. My 4 year old is even able to push and maneuver it around!”
If you have a baby who loves to be held, a multi-position carrier is an essential item. When you’re setting up camp, doing dishes, or getting ready for dinner, you need your arms free. A quality baby carrier makes that possible. It’s even ideal for short walks or easy trails with the whole family.
Real Review: “I bought this for my 10 month old son (currently 25 pounds at 12 months) when we went to Washington D.C. and would highly recommend for anyone traveling with a little one. He would get tired of the stroller and would want to be held, there were also times where I wanted him up close with me and not in the stroller. He was very happy and comfortable in this. I have only used the frontal position, facing me so far, I have yet to try any of the other 3 – but its a great product and he loves it. Its also very comfortable with the wide straps and the strap that goes across the lumbar. My husband who is 6’3″ 250 pounds and I who am 5’3″ 140 pounds, can both wear this – so it also has a wide range as far as who can use.”