Packing with Kids: Camping Adventures

Camping is one of my family’s favorite activities for the spring and summer months, around May to September.

Before my husband and I had our daughter, it was easy to just pack up and go. But now it’s much more difficult to get everything ready and prepared. I’m sure you have often heard that packing for a baby can be tedious and can leave you thinking, “What did I miss?”

We brought Georgia camping for the first time this summer. When we started our packing process, I decided I would write a list of all the things we’d need for her, and that I’d keep the list for future reference.

I hope my list can help all the other mamas out there!

When I pack, even for myself, I do it in phases. I start with things I would need on my body (like clothes), things I need to clean my body (like soaps), things I need to put in my body (like food) and lastly “accessories” (like diapers or wipes).

I find this approach to be the easiest way to list everything out. Then just multiply everything by the number of days you will be gone— and don’t forget to add a couple extras.

On my Body

This category includes things like clothes, jackets and hats. This would be anything that your baby would need to physically keep on their body. My list includes:

  • Short Sleeved Shirts – Bring enough for the days you are going and two extras. You will always need extras, trust me.
  • Long Sleeved Shirts – Same as above. These are perfect for those cooler evenings.
  • Fleece Jacket or Hoodie – I normally bring enough for half of the days we are going because they can be easily re-worn. So, if I am going for four days, I bring two fleece jackets or hoodies.
  • Shorts – Same applies as with the shirts. They’re perfect for warm days but extras might be needed!
  • Long Pants – These can be either fleece or jeans, whichever you like best. I normally bring fleece. Treat the same as you do jackets —you can normally get away with just using these at night so I would bring enough for half the time.
  • Socks – While your baby may not wear them all day while camping, bring enough for every day plus some extras. I seem to go through socks like mad when camping!
  • Summer Hat or Beanie – I normally bring both a summer hat for the day and a beanie for night. You might not always need the toque but it’s nice to have with you!
  • Shoes – You will always need shoes. I normally bring one pair of shoes, one pair of sandals and some rain boots. That way you cover all elements and can use whichever, whenever.
  • Underwear – If your child is in big boy or girl underwear, be sure to bring those too. Georgia is still in diapers so this is one thing I don’t need to remember… yet!
  • Swimsuit – Kids love to swim! I normally bring two swimsuits with us just in case.

Clean my Body

This list includes anything you would use to clean your baby’s body, like soap, shampoo and washcloths. My list includes: 

  • Soap – Whether you simply use the soap you use for yourself or you want to bring baby soap, you will need this to wash their little hands and face. Georgia loves to play in the dirt, so soap really comes in handy!
  • Shampoo – We don’t really “shower” while we camp since we go to the middle of nowhere, but we do try to wash our hair daily with the water tubs we bring along. Because of all the dirt and dust, it’s nice to wash their hair of all those toxins.
  • Washcloths – I normally bring enough for one washcloth per day, they can get pretty dirty. I just bring the small washcloths I use for her baths.
  • Toothbrush – Just because you’re camping doesn’t mean you won’t need to brush your teeth! Luckily, Georgia loves brushing her teeth so it’s pretty easy to get her to do it.

In my Body

This list is for all “specialty” foods that your baby might need. When we camp, and when we are home, Georgia eats what we do - especially now that she’s older. So for us, this list is a little shorter. This list includes:

  • Snacks – Our go-to snacks are cheese strings, crackers, any fruits, any vegetables and goldfish. We like to have these at our disposal at any time. Anything easily put into a Ziploc bag or small Tupperware containers are perfect snacks.
  • Water – Kids need water in the heat so make sure to keep them hydrated and bring plenty of water.
  • Milk – Georgia loves milk, even when camping.
  • Small Cups/Sippys – Keep the drinks flowing!

If your baby is younger, you may need some of the following: 

  • Plates/Bowls – Your child may require a smaller plate or bowl than the ones you bring for yourself.
  • Baby Utensils – If you child is using baby utensils, make sure to tow them along.
  • Jarred Food – If you feed your baby jars of food, you will need to pack enough for what your baby normally eats. I would also pack extra in case they are extra hungry!
  • Other foods – If your child does not eat what you normally do but they are no longer on jarred foods, pack those items! These could be things like thicker purees, toast, steamed vegetables or whatever they like to eat. Honestly though, the easiest is to have your child eat what you are eating if you are comfortable with that!

The “Accessories”

I call this group the “accessories” because it’s really a catch all for everything else you would need to bring for your child that hasn’t been listed already, since we all know it’s the little things we tend to forget! This list includes:

  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Diaper Rash Cream
  • Advil or Tylenol
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug Spray
  • Hair Ties – Mamas of girls, keep their hair up while camping.
  • Toys – Our go-to toys are: water/sand toys, bubbles, trucks, balls, a bike and anything that drives on dirt.
  • Arts – We bring coloring books and crayons for Georgia to “play” with when we are hanging out at camp for a little while.
  • Pillow
  • Blankets – Always bring extras! Rain is sometimes a mood killer and a sheet-soaker, so be prepared to need and use more than one blanket!
  • Play Pen – If the baby isn’t sleeping with you, be sure to bring something for them to sleep in! Remember, even if you are in a camper, the air gets quite cool so they will need extra blankets.
  • Stuffed Toy(s) – Georgia is obsessed with her horse and bunny, if we forgot those it’d be World War III.
  • Stroller or Carrier – You could be doing some hiking, and carrying a baby everywhere can get tiring.
  • Anything Your Child is Interested in – If your child likes anything other than what’s listed I encourage you to bring it. They can be hard to entertain at times when camping and you’ll want to make sure they are occupied. A bored baby is never fun!

This list is pretty comprehensive for our family. I am sure as our daughter grows, the list will get longer and more challenging, but for now, it is perfect. I hope this list can help you with your next camping adventure.

And don’t worry, everyone always forgets something, even with the best list!

3 Responses to Packing with Kids: Camping Adventures

  1. I am so nervous to take alexis camping but this will help for sure!

  2. I love this! I am not an “outdoorsy” girl by any stretch of the imagination. I like to hike, but then I like to hike my happy behind back inside :) . That being said, I would really love to go camping as a family and this list will definitely help us prepare. Thanks!

  3. When we took the girls I put all of the snacks in little snack bags ahead of time and it was super helpful

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