There’s no time like family time, which is even better in the great outdoors. But as with every family outing, going camping, hiking or even to the park takes some degree of planning and preparation. Whether is keeping the kids comfortable or protecting them against the sun, the camping industry has created a range of products to aid your family in any outdoor excursion. We’ve put together some of the best baby camping gear to help you keep your family happy, wherever you are.
What To Look For in Toddler’s Camping Gear
Camping gear for babies is an entire industry within itself, with a wide range of products each with their own application. Still, there are certain features that you should always be looking for.
This is paramount. You can buy the lightest, strongest, most versatile playpen in the world, but if it poses a hazard to your family, then it cannot be used.
Safety flaws are often overlooked in manufacturers descriptions so when shopping online, make sure you read the reviews!
If you’re going camping you don’t want to be lugging around a huge pack filled with heavy equipment. The same goes for traveling abroad, many airlines have a restriction on how much weight you’re carrying, so keep an eye on those pounds.
On the other hand, if you’re only using a playpen or screen house at the park once a month, you can afford the extra weight.
Ultimately, you want to be enjoying your time outdoors with your family together. If your child isn’t comfortable or happy, then all of a sudden buying a whole lot of camping kit can seem a bit silly.
Ease of Use
You’ve just arrived at the campsite, the kids are waiting, the sun’s beating down, it’s a beautiful day. Unfortunately, you’ve got to spend the next hour figuring out if the set-up instructions are either overly complicated, or they are in fact in Swedish.
Every product you buy should be able to withstand any outdoor weather, including a storm your little one might kick up. Nobody wants the perfect product, only to be buying a new one every month.
So now you know what to look for in camping gear for your little ones, we’ll give you the rundown on a few top products that make any day (or night!) outdoors the best it can be.
Top Products on the Market
Summer Infant Pop & Sit Portable Booster
Weight: 4.5 lbs.
Dimensions: When Folded: 17″ x 7″ x 6″; When in use: 15″ x 14″ x 15″
Design Features: Maximum weight of 37 lbs., Lightweight, Sturdy Frame, Pop-up Design, Detachable and Dishwasher Safe Tray, 3-Point Safety Harness, Adult Chair Security Straps, Carrying Bag.
Best Use: Dinner time at home, the beach, or camping.
The Summer Infant Pop ‘N’ Sit Booster Chair is a lightweight, portable, yet sturdy booster chair that can be used anywhere, from the home to the beach to the campsite. A comfortable carrying case makes hauling this high chair a breeze, and a pop-up design means you can be in the perfect place, up and running (or eating!) in seconds. At 4.5 lbs. and easily foldable, the Pop ‘N’ Sit Booster is extremely portable, opening up a whole world of uses.
This booster boasts a detachable and dishwasher-friendly tray that’s also BPA-free, so totally safe for your little one. Although we have noted that it may be difficult to find a dishwasher if you’re out camping, but for visiting friends, this is perfect. Though whilst the tray is machine washable, the chair itself is not. Once it gets dirty, it’s proved very difficult to clean.
A three-point safety harness ensures your child’s not going anywhere at dinner time and security straps that attach to most adult chairs improve stability. Unfortunately, some users have advised that the straps are actually sewn to the bottom of the chair, not the back as featured in the picture. This causes a very tight fit which causes discomfort for some children.
Iplay Baby Toddler Brim Sun Protection Hat
Weight: 1 lb.
Dimensions: 0.39″ x 16.14″ (HxW)
Design Features: Polyester Fabric w/ UPF+ 50 Protection, Under Chin Ties, Machine Washable with Anti-fade Colors, Wide Brim, Wick Away Lining
Best Use: Sunny days out
Whilst we hope that all of your family outings are filled with lots of sunshine, we’re all know that having too much of a good thing is bad for your health. It can be easy to forget how bad sun rays can be when it makes us feel so good. The best way to protect your little ones from the sun is with this Iplay Sun Protection Hat. A wide brim and UV-protective material protects your child’s face, eyes and neck.
The Iplay Sun Protection provides protection of up to UPF +50, guaranteeing the safety of your child’s skin. Once it’s on, you don’t have to worry about your little one knocking the hat off. The size is easy to adjust and wick-away lining only adds to its comfort! Breathable fabric takes no time at all to dry and keeps your toddler cool even on the sunniest of days. And after a long day’s playing, this summer hat is machine-washable without any worry of colors running or fading.
The primary criticism is that the brim of the hat is not sturdy enough. Once it becomes wet, the brim has a tendency to sag down, covering your little one’s face. Therefore, this hat isn’t ideal for swimming or on rainy days.
Dreambaby Stroller Fan
Weight: 4.8 oz
Dimensions: 2-3″ (blades)
Design Features: Flexible Neck, Sturdy Clip, Colorful Foam Blades, Long Lasting Battery Life (Approx. 12 hours on 2x AA)
Best Use: Clipping to a stroller, sun lounger, desk or chair
Versatility is a huge factor in the outdoor community, and any product that both you and your baby can enjoy is a massive bonus. The Dreambaby Stroller Fan can keep you and your little one cool on the hottest of days. Its simple design prevents your baby from overheating in the stroller and in the playpen, and if you’ve left the kids at home, it can be attached to a beach chair, sun lounger or just about anything else you can think of.
No matter how curious your kiddie, this fan won’t ever cause any tears. The Dreambaby Stroller Fan features harmless foam fins that take away any element of danger. Bright, constantly moving colors provide your baby with riveting entertainment. We personally prefer to look at the astounding natural beauty of nature, but like they say “different strokes for different folks.”
This clip-on stroller fan is light and fits tidily into your daypack. Using only 2 AA batteries, it packs a powerful punch, despite having foam blades. Just pop the batteries in, clip it onto the stroller and feel the summer breeze.
Kilofly Flat Top Pop Up Instant Portable UPF 35+ Travel Baby Beach Tent
Dimensions: (Folded) 14″ Diameter; (Opened) 43″ x 27″ x 20″
Design Features: Flat Top Design, Extremely light, UV Protective, Non-Toxic, Easy pop-up, 2x Securing Pegs, Mesh Sides
Best Use: For play at the beach and sleeping
The Kilofly Pop Up Baby Beach Tent is ideal for protecting your baby from bugs and the sun whilst you travel. It’s ideal for the beach or the backyard, with UV protective, baby-safe plastic and bug-proof mesh. At around 300 grams and a diameter of 14″ when packed away, this pop-up play tent is extremely portable for traveling, at home and abroad.
Whilst the Kilofly tent is taller than other products in the same category, it does sag slightly on the sides and curve up at the floor, lessening the internal play space. Whilst the height measures 20″, the internal height only reaches approximately 14″. Packing away many pop-up tents can be a chore, but the Kilofly comes with detailed instructions and a helpful video to help you tidy up after a day of playing.
Because the tent is so light, it is susceptible to blowing away in strong winds. Thankfully the Kilofly comes with two security pegs to hammer into the ground or sand, protecting the tent against unexpected gusts. Internal hooks make hanging toys easy, that will keep your baby entertained whilst you soak up the sun.
California Baby Natural Bug Blend Repellent Spray
Dimensions: 5″ x 2″ x 0.7″
Design Features: Safe for Children 6+ Months, DEET Free, Suitable for Vegans, Repels Various Insects, Refreshing Scent, Allergy-tested, Lockable pump-action sprayer.
Best Use: Insect repellent and soothing bites.
If you’re taking your little one’s abroad or you live in an insect heavy area, you’ll want a good repellent free from harmful chemicals. A baby’s skin is a lot more sensitive than ours, so traditional repellents such as those that use DEET can cause irritation or more serious problems with chronic use. California Baby Natural Bug Blend Repellent Spray uses a variety of dermatologically safe, natural essential oils, including citronella, lemongrass and cedar.
These oils not only smell great, they’re very effective at repelling a variety of insects including mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and flies.People have reviewed that this spray works, even in the Peruvian Amazon, and in malaria-prone countries such as Kenya. The primary downside, is the spray needs to be reapplied once every two hours or so to remain effective.
This can be a pain, especially if your child isn’t comfortable with the spray being briefly applied. Though this is definitely preferable to the discomfort of insect bites.
Coleman 10×10 Instant Screenhouse
Dimensions: 10′ x 10′ x 84″ (W x L x H)
Design Features: Patented Instant Set-up Frame, Easy-secure Foot Poles, Steel Tent Pegs, Insect-proof Mesh Walls, Two Doors, Heavy Duty Canopy, UV 50+ Protection, Wheeled Carry Bag, 1-year Warranty
Best Use: BBQs, Camping, Sporting Events
When you’re cooking up a barbecue or out with the family at the campsite, the Coleman Instant Screenhouse provides quick relief from the blistering sun or pesky insects. The No-See-Um mesh walls keep the screenhouse fresh whilst keeping out any unwanted mosquitoes and flies. The heavy duty 150D canopy also provides UV protection up to 50+ SPF. It also boasts two doors for ease of access.
It’s obvious why Coleman named this one the Instant Screenhouse. They claim set up takes 60 seconds or less, though it’s probably closer to a WHOLE 3 minutes. Using a patented telescopic pole system and single sheet roof, the Instant Screenhouse goes up in no time. When the day is done, you simply push the button on the release levers and your screen house is flat again to be carted away in the wheeled carry bag.
On the downside there’s no floor, so any bugs already residing in your chosen spot aren’t going to be leaving anytime soon. The white roof seems to attract bugs, though this is hardly a big problem, as it’s better they congregate on the roof than slip under the (non-existent) floor. When you pack the tent down, the new city of bugs that have made their home on your roof can easily get trapped inside, though as far as criticisms go, these aren’t very major.
Regalo My Cot Portable Toddler Bed
Dimensions: 48″ x 24″ x 9″ (LxWxH)
Design Features: Easy Folding Set Up, Supports up to 75lbs, Carry Case Included, Durable Nylon, Waterproof, Washable, Steel Frame
Best Use: Camping, Sleepovers, Daycare
One of the best pieces of camping gear for babies on the market, the Regalo My Cot is light, sturdy and perfect for more than just the campsite. A steel frame and durable nylon ensures this pop-up cot can take a real beating. The nylon fabric is easy to clean and strong enough to handle whatever your baby throws at it.
The Regalo My Cot only weighs four pounds but can support children up to 75 lbs. A convenient carry case is included, making transport even easier and protecting the Regalo My Cot from all kinds of dirt when not in use. The folding frame is easy to use and sets up in minutes, maybe even seconds. A machine-washable fitted cover is included in the package, making life so much easier. One less thing to scrub when you get home is always a bonus.
Baby Deedee Sleep Nest
Dimensions: 32″ x 11.1″ x 1.8″
Design Features: Shoulder Straps, 100% Cotton Exterior, Soft Quilted Interior, Machine
Washable, Warm at 64 Degrees
Best Use: Cold Nights at Home, Camping
The Baby Deedee Sleep Nest is a comfortable, wearable blanket to keep your baby warm on chilly nights. A soft quilted interior and 100% cotton exterior keeps your little one comfortable at temperatures as low as 64 degrees Fahrenheit, whilst retaining breathability. The fabric has a TOG (measurement of thermal resistance) of 2.5, making this sleep nest perfect for those long winter nights.
Two patented shoulder straps make putting your baby in the sleep nest incredibly easy, you can even do it whilst they’re asleep. There’s no difficult sleeves to slide on, just pop your baby on the nest, zip it up, put on the shoulders and your baby will be sleeping easy. The Baby Deedee Sleep Nest has a cocoon shape that cuddles your baby throughout the night, keeping them comfortable and cosy.
It’s suitable for babies between 6 and 18 months, roughly between 16 and 26 lbs. A variety of sizes mean you won’t be buying any more blankets soon. The Baby Deedee Sleep Nest is both machine washable, and suitable for a tumble-dryer at low heat as well. Baby Deedee offers this sleep nest in a range of colors and 3 different sizes, varying from 0 – 36. Some users have reported that if the sleep sack is too large it can pose a suffocation hazard, so if you decide to buy this product, make sure that your child fits snuggly inside by purchasing the correct size.
Summer Infant Pop ‘N’ Play Portable Playard
Dimensions: 38″ x 7″ x 7″ (Packed); 14′ Squared, 48″ Wide, 26″ Tall (In Use)
Design Features: Set Up In Seconds, Mesh Walls, Water-resistant floor, Lightweight Frame, Compact Packing
Best Use: Backyard, Campsite
The second product by Summer Infant on this list, the Pop ‘N’ Play Portable Playard. The folding frame is incredibly easy to set up: just open it up and secure the floor buckles. Packing away at the end of the day is just as easy. Unclip the floor buckles and fold the play yard inwards, ready to store for another day out. The frame is incredibly lightweight, making the weight only 12.2 lbs.
Versatility is a huge factor when deciding on products for your children, especially when going camping. The water-resistant floor enables you to set the play yard up wherever you want, without your little ones getting soaked to the bone. Not to mention it’s easy to clean. One downside of the Summer Infant Pop ‘N’ Play Portable Playard is that the metal frame doesn’t have any cushioning on the top. Many users have recommended buying pool noodles or pipe foam to prevent any nasty bumps on the head.
Summer Infant also offers a canopy for the Pop ‘N’ Play Portable Playard at an additional cost. The canopy protects your child from harmful UVA and UVB sun rays and is easy to attach to the frame. When it’s not necessary, you can fold the canopy and store it neatly in the play yard’s storage bag.
So What Camping Gear Should I Buy?
With such a huge market and a variety of products, you could feel a little swamped by everything on offer. We’d advise to take your time and choose carefully. Baby products go through a lot of wear and tear, as does camping gear, so try to look for something sturdy and reliable that will last for all of the trips you plan to make.
If you’re going to be traveling or camping a lot, then focus on lighter equipment, especially if flying abroad, as many airlines have weight limits for your luggage. If you’ll be using playpens regularly, at the beach, park or at home for example, you may want to sacrifice weight for strength and ease of use.
If you’ve tried any of these products or have any great hints and tips for taking your tykes outdoors, don’t hesitate to leave a comment!