Camping With Toddlers

MommaFinds Camping with Toddlers

Quote of the Week
“We didn’t realize we were making memories. We just knew we were having fun.”
– Anonymous


When it comes to camping in general it’s easy to under do it or over do it. With Toddlers it’s usually the latter. And in our case we over did it with every thing except the essentials… enough clothes to last a life time.

We brought rolls and rolls of toilet paper, waaaaaaaaay too much fruit and chips, and not NEARLY enough clothes for any of us. I forgot my toothbrush. We didn’t bring anything to wash our dishes.

We had fun though. Enough to want to do it again packing much smarter than we had.

As most things there are pros and cons to a Camping trip with toddlers.



All in all we had fun. It was hard, but I think with some practice it’ll get easier. We didn’t do a great job packing this time, so with some tweaks I think it’ll go even better the second time around.

Here’s what I’d pack next time:


For Toddlers (I’m Not Exaggerating)

I will say there is very little worse than cold kids while camping. Having been out of warm clothes by the morning of the last day we had no choice but to leave straight after breakfast. My kids literally put themselves in the car.

For Adults For us it’s really just about the layers. We don’t play nearly as hard so having to bring so many outfits a day isn’t necessary, but making sure we’re warm enough is. I forgot my rain coat, a sweatshirt (or 4), and socks. Needless to say, I was freezing.


The KISS rule never applied so hard. I thought my kids were going to be WAY hungry than they were. Here were the meals I made for the two days we were camping:

I had all these intensions like making homemade guacamole and sharing chips and fruit with friends that just never happened. We also brought Mac and Cheese for the kids and a whole carton of milk we never even cracked open. Hot dogs and bacon we never cooked.

Next time I’m going to stick to more dry foods and less fruit. The Apple Sauce pouches for sure. The grilled cheese was actually a great idea for lunch. One bag of chips and one bag of pretzels next time along with our energy bars.

And I really recommend straight up meal planning and not diverging from it. Know what you’re going to cook for each meal and bring only what you need. Try and use similar ingredients for multiple meals - like we used the cheese, butter, and eggs for multiple meals.

Eating out the night we got there really helped with how much we had to pack and made the first night go a little easier than if we had to cook on top of setting up and getting the kids down for bed.


We brought coal we definitely didn’t need and wouldn’t bring again.

I wish we had a table cloth or something to cover the picnic table. It tended to drizzle in the morning and would have been nice to have a dry place to sit comfortably.


Toiletries and First Aid

I packed all the toiletries and first aid in one sling bag. It went with me on hikes and on bathroom breaks. It kept all these necessities together so I knew right where they were.


I think we could have brought a few more things had we not gone with friends who thought to bring sand toys for the beach and extra balls and things to kick around. There were a ton of kids there with scooters because there was small paved road that went around the campground. I think our kids would have liked to have had theirs, just wasn’t room to pack them. Maybe next time.

Find Your Happy Medium

  1. Preparation and Packing: Camping is hard work. I think with better preparation and packing it didn’t need to be AS hard. My husband did a great job of packing the car in a very utilitarian way, making sure that we could unpack what needed to get stored in the tent, then made most everything accessible when opening up the trunk.

  2. Roll With The Homies: Per a conversation I had with a friend who has camped with her two kids (7 and 2) lots of times, you have to roll with it. That might mean, acknowledging this time around isn’t working, packing up the car at first light and heading home.

I wasn’t sure my kids were going to sleep the second night with the sky still so bright and so much outside noise. We actually packed up the car just incase we needed to drive home. The first night I went to bed with the kids. I tried singing to them. Carrying them around outside to fall asleep. Telling them stories. All sorts of antics to get them to sleep. I wasn’t about repeat that the second night so I was ready to leave. We got lucky in that they fell asleep and actually slept through the night until 7:30AM, but you never know. Know what you can do and make some plans in case.

  1. Stick to their schedule: I got lucky in that my kids took a 2.5 hour nap. I think it’s important because in a place that’s very unfamiliar, at least their schedule is something they know - eat, play, eat, nap, play, eat, bed (essentially). This also makes going back home easy too because you don’t have to worry about training them back into their routine. It was part of your trip.

  2. Go with a group: This was the only reason why I think we went this year. A group of people we were friends/acquaintances with went and this helped tremendously. You were all in it together.

All in all it was really fun to be on the beach and watch our kids step into the Pacific Ocean for the first time. To watch them eat s’mores and chocolate bananas and run around and play chase with their friends. And get sooooooooooo dirty because they were just having too much fun.

As always, you do you Momma, and keep finding your happy medium one night under the stars at a time…

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