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How To Camp With A Baby

It’s not easy but it's definitely worth it.

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It’s not easy but it's definitely worth it.

Like childbirth, everyone's experience is different when camping with an infant. After camping with our baby in a snowstorm on Wolf Creek Pass, in the hot desert canyons of Indian Creek, and throughout the San Juan mountains - we’ve got some beta to share on this.

how to camp with a baby

Keeping a baby warm in cold weather - tricky but CRUCIAL


We bring a few full-length onesies of varying thicknesses (ones that have flaps for covering the feet specifically), some more insulated than others and this full body Patagnoia down jacket on top of that. Layering as usual is key. Beanies of varying thickness are also crucial too. Wool blankets are great to wrap them up and they cut the wind while snuggling. This Capilene Hoody is a wonderful layer to keep the harsh sun off their sensitive skin.

keeping your infant warm while camping

Keeping Your Baby Warm While Sleeping

There’s no one answer to keeping an infant warm while sleeping as it depends on your setup and comfort level with sleeping with them. If you’re in a camper with a forced air gas or diesel heater then you’re set just bring a pack & play and put them in a warm onesie. We steered away from Mr Buddy-type heaters because of the fire and burn potential.

When Truck camping...

My wife and I would sleep in different sleeping bags and have him in a DockATot in between us or off to one side, wearing a warm full body onesie. Our body heat would keep the bed warm enough (typically). Sometimes we might have to pull him in with one of us to sleep closer. 

truck camping with a baby

When Sleeping In a Tent...

This is a tough one and again there's no one solid answer. We use an old 4-season base camp tent as it has window coverings over the mesh to keep the wind and sand out, and it is HUGE so we can stand up in it for his bedtime routine. We have a BLUETTI power station that we connected his sound machine to and an outdoor cat warming pad which we placed below his DockaTot. Honestly though, I'm not really sure the heating pad was that effective. I certainly recommend a sound machine for the added comfort and the eventual loud campfire yelling session you'll need to drown out. We'll be testing out a portable Chinese Diesel heater soon, we'll report back on that. 


Baby Gear Suggestions

Portable Shade Tent - this thing is great, fits in a backpack so you can take it up to the crag with you. 

Ground Coverings - we're a big fan of utilizing matts like these awesome tarpestry's to make cozy spaces outside. Use yoga mats, an old tent's footprint cloth, and these sand matts are great too. 

Portable Changing Pad likely one of the most utilized pieces of gear in our quiver of baby things. We take this with us everywhere. Combine it with a dry-bag for the old diapers. 

Baby Carriers For Hiking - of course the classic baby bajorn. Then once they're old enough we compared both Deuter's Child BackPack vs Ospery's Poco Carrier and found the Deuter to be the most comfortable for our body types. Much more hip padding, slightly less storage than Osprey's but lighter as well. 

** Search on Poshmark, Facebook Marketplace and Ebay for all the above and more baby stuff. Those links are just for reference but we've been able to find most everything used online or from friends with the exception of a few speciality items. Babies grow quickly, there's no need to buy new if you can avoid it. 

gear for camping with a baby

Be Prepared.....

  • Bring more water and fuel that you usually do for warming up water and cleaning bottles. 

  • Bring more formula / milk than your typical daily use because they might have a hard time and need soothing. 

  • Be prepared for blowouts and muddy clothes- that means extra clothes, wipes, paper towels, and towels

  • Try to place your tent / sleeping arrangement away from the noisiest part of camp if you have a light sleeper. 

  • DO NOT FORGET DIAPER RASH CREAM - they are way more likely to developing a rash camping than at home because of the sweat, dirt, sand and stress. Seriously don't forget this, we have, it's not fun. 

desert camping with a baby

Try to recreate a version of your nightly routine, like reading before bed, warm up some water and wipe them down with a rag like it's a bath. Having something like a teddy bear that they're already attached to and soothes them also helps. 


This isn't going to be easy and you may not get a good nights sleep. But you'll notice your baby is likely calmer and happier out here and home will always be there. There will be some beautiful moments that are priceless. Don't be afraid to call it quits and go home, this isn't a competition but the idea is just to get everyone used to the routine of camping as a family. Have fun out there and comment below with any questions!

what to bring when camping with an infant  

  • Bryant AuCoin

Cool gifts for outdoorsy people! Here are 10 gift ideas outdoor lovers will geek out over.

We spend countless days in the backcountry and car camping from the mountains to the desert. We're rough on our gear and appreciate those items which stand the test of time. Here's a list of our 10 favorite things to bring along wherever the dusty roads lead. They should make the perfect affordable gift for anyone who spends time outside. 

Luci Lights ($24) - This list isn't in any particular order but when we asked our fellow outdoor-loving friends what their most loved camping item was this collapsible solar-powered light came up again and again. It's nearly indestructible, collapses down to nothing and somehow seems to always have a charge. Bringing light to your darkest tent bound nights.

camping light lucy

Darn Tough Socks ($18 - $30)They're expensive but especially with socks you very much get what you pay for. These are hands down the best socks we've ever slipped on. They keep our usually sweaty feet dry and blister-free. The Over-The-Calf ones are perfect for anyone who spends the wintertime on the slopes or touring the backcountry. 

NRS Anti-Sand Matt ($60) - A luxurious item to have while car camping or the infamous #vanlife. "Unique heavy-duty, dual-weave mesh lets grit fall through from the top, but prevents it from creeping up from underneath." Slap it down in the dirt and do some yoga on it, or put outside your sleeping area to keep sand out. The 6x6 small size is perfect.

UE Roll 2 ($60) - We use this as our house speaker just as much as we do at camp. Easily connect via BlueTooth AND it's waterproof. Reminder to be respectful of other campers nearby, it's quite loud for such a small speaker.


Buff Neck Gaitor ($20) - This is one of the most versatile little pieces of clothing we won't leave home without in the mountains. It helps keep your neck warm or your ears & head protected from those harsh mountain winds. There's a ton of ways to utilize it.

Gai GPS ($20 annual membership) - Every adventurer needs to know where they are and where they're going. The Gai App is seriously the best. As long as you download the maps when you have cell service, you can be in airplane mode and it will still pinpoint you. ProTip - scope out the overlays options, they collaborate with 3rd parties like NatGeo and other organizations to bring priceless content to your fingertips. You can also navigate the maps on your computer, we spend hours geeking out on future areas we'll be adventuring in while sitting at home. 

Kershaw RJ Pocket Knife ($46) - Everyone needs a small convenient pocket knife when camping and this is the best little pocket knife that ever was. 

Katadyn Befree Collapsible Waterfilter ($44) - Why hasn't this been a thing for longer?! This lightweight water filter is awesome. Fill it up with dirty water and squeeze out fresh safe drinking water. That's it. 


Stashers Reusable Bags ($11) - Snacks while adventuring are REQUIRED. These tough bags with very secure seals keep your food safe while you bounce around the outdoors. Dishwasher and microwave safe. 

GoalZero Flip24 USB charger ($34) - This will keep your small electronics charged, usually will charge an iPhone twice. Combine this with the Gai app above to always know where you are in the backcountry.

Honorable Mention! Coal's Chuckanut Perforated Dad Hat was so popular this year it's sold out until February 2020. It's hard to find a breathable hat that fits securely and doesn't look weird. My wife and I have come to love these hats.

That's all for now! We hope you find the perfect holiday gift for your loved ones. Have a wonderful holiday season!

  • Bryant AuCoin

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