* Camping with the Kiddies

Camping with kids can be a bit tricky but it’s possible and it’s a lot of fun. They will love getting dirty, sleeping outside, learning to fish and collecting pine cones. If your kids are older, camping isn’t too fussy but if you have wee ones (especially babies) there are a few more things to think about.

Can they use bug spray? – The CDC says that DEET based bug spray is far and away the most effective. High levels of the oil, however, are not recommended for children. For your kids, you should look for a bug spray that has less than 30% DEET and apply it just once a day. Babies as young as 2 month old can use this kind of bug spray.

suitWhat about sunscreen?The Mayo clinic does not recommend using sunscreen for babies younger than 6 months. If you have a really little one, keep them covered up and in the shade as much as possible. If you are camping near a lake and want to take them swimming, look for a swimsuit that covers up their arms and legs and make sure to get them a hat. You will also want to pick up a small life vest.

Where do they sleep? This depends on their age. If they are older than 18 months, they can probably just sleep on the ground like everyone else. Get them their own child size sleeping bag or zip them in and let them share with you. If they are really little, you might need a bit of extra gear. bedBring along a small pack n play or porta-crib and set it up in the tent. If they are small enough, we have even had them sleep in their car seat/carrier. Another option is to bring along a small cradle. Vendors like Phil and Ted Brica, and Quicksmart all sell convenient and portable travel bassinets.

What if it rains? Check the weather report before you go but know that rain is a possibility. Try to be ready. Make sure that your tent has a good rain fly. Bring an extra tarp and other rain-proof covers. Pack an extra bag with some dry clothes and blankets and keep it in the car just in case everything outside gets wet. You don’t want your baby getting cold or sick.

What else do I bring? Here’s a complete (possibley excessive) camping list of things to pick and choose from:

Kid Gear

  • Baby backpack carrier
  • Portable crib or bassinet
  • Kid-sized day pack
  • Child’s reusable water bottle
  • Potty seat
  • Portable high chair
  • Child-sized camp chair
  • Child-sized sleeping pad
  • Child-sized sleeping bag
  • Diapers and extra diapers
  • Wipes and extra wipes
  • Formula/ Baby Food
  • Plastic baby Toys


  • Tent (poles, stakes, and rain fly)
  • Tarp or ground cloth
  • Extra plastic tarp
  • Rope
  • Sleeping bags
  • Sleeping pads
  • Pillows
  • Mosquito net


  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Base layer, top and bottom (like thermals)
  • Jacket
  • Pants
  • Hat
  • Gloves
  • Rain jacket
  • Shorts
  • T-shirts
  • Swimsuit
  • Pajamas
  • Laundry bag


  • Hiking boots
  • Tennis shoes
  • Hiking sandals (like Chacos or Tevas)
  • Flip-flops
  • Water shoes

Camp kitchen

  • Camp stove
  •  Extra fuel
  • Dutch Oven
  • Pots
  • Pans
  • Skillet
  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Spatula
  • Tongs
  • Plates
  • Bowls
  • Cups
  • Water bottles
  • Water purifier
  • Utensils
  • Marshmallow/ hotdog sticks
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic bags
  • Plastic tablecloth
  • Tablecloth weights
  • Tupperware
  • Matches or lighter
  • Collapsible water container
  • Coolers


  • Wash basins
  • Sponge and scrubbing pad
  • Old wash cloths
  • Camp soap (Biodegradable)
  • Garbage bags
  • Paper towels
  • Clothesline and clothespins


  • Hand sanitizer
  • Baby wipes
  • Lotion
  • Deodorant
  • Chapstick
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Brush
  • Soap, shampoo and conditioner (Biodegradable)
  • Wash cloth and towel
  • Contacts and glasses
  • Prescription medication

Out Door Bathroom Supplies 

  • Small shovel
  • Toilet paper in a plastic bag
  • Diaper rash cream for babies
  • Plastic bag for trash
  • Hand sanitizer

First Aid

  • Band-Aids
  • Butterfly Bandages
  • ACE bandage
  • Hurt-free antiseptic wash
  • Small and large gauze pads
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Thermometer
  • Ibuprofen (children’s and adult)
  • Tylenol (children’s and adult)
  • Benadryl (children’s and adult)
  • Nail Clippers
  • Medical tape
  • Safety pins
  • Insect repellent
  • Anti-itch cream
  • 1% hydrocortisone cream
  • Sunscreen
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Antacid tablets
  • Cough drops
  • Eyedrops
  • Instant cold pack
  • Safety whistle
  • Emergency blanket
  • Duct tape
  • Moleskin for blisters
  • Fine-pointed tweezers

Hiking Essentials

  • Food
  • Water
  • First-aid kit
  • Matches and emergency tinder
  • Emergency blanket or large trash bag
  • Map and compass (your GPS may not work in the woods)
  • Safety whistle
  • Headlamp or flashlight
  • Extra layers
  • Rain gear
  • Pocketknife
  • Sunglasses and
  • sunscreen

Water Fun

  • Fishing rods and tackle
  • Swimsuits
  • Towels
  • Floaties or life vests
  • Canoe/ kayak

(Note: as with all camping, it’s a good idea to tell someone exactly where you are going and when you plan to be back). 

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