Tried and tested list of essential camping gear for kids, from baby to teens. Camping gear for toddlers, school age kids, teenagers
A family camping trip is a great way to spend time together, learn and enjoy the great outdoors however, unless you have the right camping gear for kids, things can get stressful fast!
While you don’t need to pack everything you own or spend all your budget on camping supplies, having a few kids camping essentials can mean more comfort, better sleep, lss work for you and overall more time for what matters most: good old family fun!
We have a complete family camping packing checklist here however, in this article, we talk specifically about the best camping gear for kids, of all ages.
Please note: this post contains affiliate links and, should you make a purchase through them, we might make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Please note: as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases
Best camping gear for babies
Camping with baby can be great fun and, with the right gear, surprisingly straighforward.
In many cases, the standard baby equipment you have at home will suffice.
In other cases, you may want to invest in some baby travel essentials that you can use over and over again not just when camping but anytime you are on the road with your little one.
These are our favorite camping essentials for babies and toddlers.
A Camping bed for baby
Good sleep is the basis of any good family vacation and when it comes to camping, having the right camping bed for baby can go a long way to make nights better.
Our favorite sleeping solutions for camping with baby are Kidco Pods Baby Beds and a portable travel cribs.
The Kidco Infant Pods portable beds for baby are excellent travel bassinets for babies, studies to give them a cozy, protected bed they can sleep safely in.
They operate like little tents and you can have them beside you in the family tent of cabin, so you can have baby near but you don’t run the risk of crushing them or accidentally cover them excessively with your own sleeping covers during the night.
These baby bassinets also have the big adbantage of operating as insect nets, so you have two protections in one!
The baby bassinet is one of out favorite pieces of baby camping gear of all.
If your baby is used to a crib and you have space in the tend, then a portable crib can be an excellent solition.
It will take more space inside your tent than a bassinet but it can also operate as a playpen outdoors, so if you have a bigger toddler, this can be an excellent, versatile camping product
Portable changing station or baby changing set
Changin baby while camping is easier if you have the right setup.
This can consist simply of your usual changing bag or, if you are camping in colder destinaitons where lying on a mat for changing can be unpleasant, it can also include a portable changing station.
A portable changing table is great for longer camping trips and you can also easily put it in the trunk of the car if you are planning an overnight stay in a hotel or the grandparents’ house.
If you are on a quest for a good traveling diaper bag, you can find our favorite travel changing bags for baby here.
Travel tip! We find backpack changing bags especially handy when traveling: you can find our favorite backpack diaper bags here.
Portable sterilizer and bottle bag
If your baby uses soothers or bottles, then you also need a good portable sterilizer, a portable bottle bag and all the brushes to clean them.
We found particularly useful to have a cooler bag for baby milk: they keep breastmilk fresh for longer while on the move and, once it is over, they can be used as a standard cooler bag.
If you plan on using a camping common fridge, make sure you pick one with a label outside so you can mark it easily.
This is one of the best items for traveling with a baby even when not camping but we found it exceptionally useful when in the great outdoors, when the stimulation of the outside noised and air can make settling harder.
A good baby carrier is great for taking a short walk on pretty much any terrain and it is one of the best ways to help baby fall asleep no matter where you are!
Some of the best baby carriers we owned are: wrap around sling, Baby Bjorn, Ergo Baby carrier, deuter hiking carrier (bigger babies and toddlers)
All terrain stroller
I always advocate traveling with a stroller, as well as a baby carrier, as I love having the option to have a break from carrying.
The best strollers for camping are all terrain strollers: they are the most resistant to the challenges of potential rough terrain and they are the most comfortable to push (for you) and often offer the best suspensions (best for baby).
Baby sunscreen, insect repellent and essential toiletries for baby
Among baby essential toiletries for camping, we consider essentials:
- Baby sun screen
- Baby insect repellent
- Baby after bite
- Baby anti-histamin cream
- Baby sunglasses
- Well stocked family first aid kit
Portable head shower and bath
Pop up tent for shade
To protect babt skin from the sun, a baby pop up tent is a wonderful piece of gear that takes up little space and can go a long way to make them have fun for longer.
Best camping gear for toddlers
Once you have a toddler, you need a few extra items to keep them safe, and entertainiend.
Good to know! We have an article full of tips for camping with toddlers here.
Our favorite toddler camping gear include:
Toddler camping bed
Depending on the preferences of your toddler, you can pick one of the following sleeping solutions:
Peapod camping bed for toddlers – this is the same product we have recommended above for babies but in bigger version.
It is perfect for toddlers who love to feel contained and sleep beside you especially
Toddler portable crib – This is perfect if your toddler is used to their own crib at home and it is also excellent to use as a playpen while you are cooking!
Camping cooking can pose hazards to walking toddlers and being able to have them safe and contain at certain times goes a long way to redice anxiety and risk
Portable toddler bed – If your toddler prefers the freedom to get up on their own, then a portable bed is your besy solution.
They are easy to set up, occupy little space and they are great to keep them above gound, protected from the cold and potential hardness of the uneven terrain
Camping Sleeping mat
I like to always have camping sleeping mats with us: you can use them to sit or as an extra layer under your child bed, to make is extra protect and comfrotable
Kids sleeping bag
When camping with kids, in almost any weather condition, it is important to have a campng sleeping bag.
I highlight the terms camping here and we found that standard slumber bags do not really cut it when it comes to sleeping in a tent as they are simply not designed for it a slumber bag for a sleepover at granny’s is more a fun way to sleep than proper gear and while camping it may end up meaning your child is cold.
Portable camping chair for toddlers
A portable chair for toddler is a cool way to have them sit with you during a meal or to take a little rest.
I like those designes specifically for toddlers as they have a low center of gravity that minimized the risk of toplling over and they also are, oftem ergonomically designed for small backs.
Depending on your setup, you may opt for a standard chaor or get one with a feeding tray too.
When our kids were time we have a semi structured carrier but when they became bigger, we opted for a fully framed toddler carrier and never looked back.
A full frame hiking carrier distributes their wight evenly on your back and it is perfct for walks in the great outdoors.
Toddler sunglasses, sunscreen and toiletry essentials
Like for small babies, we recommend you get a good supply of toddler toiletries to make sure they are safe in the sun.
We usually stock up on:
- sun screen
- insect repellent
- after bite
- toddler sun hat
- toddler sunglasses
- Toddler water shoes for splashing about – find our favorite water shoes for kids here.
Water bottle and feeding essentials
When it comes to feeding time, it is handy to have:
- Toddler Water bottle
- Sippy cup
- Toddler bowls and cutlery
More camping gear for kids you need: Kids camping toys and camping games for kids
Nature is full of marvellous things to entertains kids with but having toys is always a good ideas! Good kids camping games and toys for kids are:
- Binoculars – find our favorite binoculars for kids here
- Telescopes – perfect for stargazing, great fun for school age kids. Find our favorite portable telescoped for kids here
- Scavenger hunts cards
- Baby kitchen games, for young campers who can’t help at the actual one
- Bug set
- Kids compass
- Card games
- Board games
- Musical instruments
Clothes clothes and more clothes
Whwn outdoors you can be sure clothes will get dirty so extra layers and extra options are always a good idea!
As well as your usual clothing items, I find excellent to have a kids thermal layer, lots of socks, tent shoes (so they can leave the mucky ones away from your sleeping area) and excellent outdoor shoes and wellington boots
More kids camping gear our kids loved
The darkness of the outdoors can be scary for kids and can be a real problem if you have to reach facilities like tolets etc during the night.
To overcome this, I like to stok up with lighting options.
Our kids love kids headlamps, but I also like to have smaller lights for the tent both inside and out.
When choosing, make sure you pick outdoor safe lights and lighting that is suitable for a tent: anything that heats up is a potential hazard, double check they are fit for use before purchasing.
Marshmallow roasting sticks
Marshmallow roasting sticks are perfect to have that quintessential family caping experience! Pick those with different colors to minimize siblings fights….
Camping lunchbox and kids canteens
Camping lunchboxes and kids canteens for camping are among our favourite camping accessories for kids as they are cute, useful and can teach the children to take care of their own supplies.
Kids day pack
Good backckpaks are one of our favorite family travel gear items. Depending on the age of your kids, we recommend different types:
- You can find our favorite toddler and small kids backpacks here
- You can find our recommended backpacks for kids here
Glow sticks are an easy way to add some fun to a night camping together! They can also be a handy extra safety item to have with you that occupies little to no space.
Camping gear for kids of school age, camping gear for teenagers
One you have older kids and teenagers, it is fun to have cool camping accessories as well as essentials.
Some we love are:
- Camping hammocks
- Bluetooth music speaker (you can find our review of the one we use here)
- Go pro camera or action camera for kids
- Multi use Swiss knife
- Wireless headphones – find our favorite headphones for kids here
I hope you enjoyed this overview of the best camping gear for kids and it helped you decide what camping equipment for kids to get for your first family camping trips.
If you want some ideas on cool camping sites for families, you can read out family camping trips following the links below:
- Mont Tremblant National Park Camping in Uttopia tent
- National Park camping with kids in Yosemite National Park (cabin camping)
- Camping in ireland with kids: on the Silver Strand (east coast) and Cork
If you are considering going camping with kids to US National Parks, you can also find handy our where to stay in and near Zion National Park guide, accommodation guide to Joshua Tree and accommodation guide to Yosemite National Park
Camping gear for kids pinnacle image: