Camping Tips: Best Bedding for Babies & Toddlers

Camping Tips: Best Bedding for Babies & Toddlers

I published the first version of this post three years ago. It has been one of my most popular, and whenever I speak to people about camping with children, they always ask about bedding and keeping warm. So, having now camped with Finn as a baby, a toddler and a preschooler, I thought it was due an update.

So here is my ultimate guide to choosing bedding when camping with children.

  • Babies

It may seem daunting, but there’s no reason not to take your baby camping. The first time we went with Finn he was about 5 months old and right in the middle of both an eczema flare up and the dreaded 4 month sleep regression. A weekend outdoors and under canvas improved his skin and his sleep no end. We usually only go camping with children in the summer months so it isn’t too cold. When he was a baby I put Finn in fleece sleepsuits that I had bought quite cheaply at a supermarket (make sure you get ones without a hood). I bought a size too big so that I could layer up if needed. A pair of tights (even boys can wear tights!) and a long sleeved vest underneath were fine. If it had been colder I would’ve put another top underneath, but bear in mind that tents do heat up very quickly in the morning.

One of my best ever baby buys was our Koo-di pop up bubble cot. We spent a while researching travel cots. At first we were contemplating a normal travel cot, we thought it could double as a playpen and be somewhere to plonk Finn while we wrestled with the tent. However, even though we upsized our car, we’re still short of space. So I started looking for something light that would fold up very small. I didn’t know what I was looking for, or if anything like it even existed. Then I came across the Koo-di pop up bubble cot and all my prayers were answered! It has honestly been one of our best baby buys. It is so easy to put up, takes up very little room and folds up into it’s own small bag. Another feature I loved was the fact that I could leave the side unzipped so it was completely open and have Finn next to me. It was almost like we were co sleeping, especially useful when I was still breastfeeding. We’ve used it on nights away and even at home when we have guests. The mattress is quite thin, although it is possible to buy an inflatable mattress for it.

In terms of bedding, another of my best buys was a travel sleeping bag from Jojo Maman Bebe with detachable sleeves. This had the added advantage that we could easily transfer him from pushchair to cot if needed (I spent A LOT of time on our early camping trips pushing him around the site in a bid to get him to sleep).

  • Toddlers

I’m going to go against the grain here and say that I am not a fan of onesies once you’re past toilet training.  The reason for this is that firstly, they make nighttime toilet trips a little chilly as you have to pull the top half down (and risk getting wee on the dangling sleeves-or is that just me?!) plus tents can heat up very quickly in the morning, so it’s much easier to be able to just take off a top if you get warm. As he grew, I still used a JoJo Maman travel sleeping bag, but with pyjamas underneath and a decent Kozi Kidz base layer to keep him warm at night when it was cold.

Finn slept on a Kampa Airlock junior airbed, which I am a massive fan of. Small children tend to roll off airbeds, so I love the raised sides and haven’t found anything else like it for toddlers. Airbeds can be cold though, so I always make sure there is a good thick layer underneath him. In my experience, making sure that everyone is comfortable when camping with children will ensure a happy trip! If you prefer a more convenient option, there are a range of ready beds available, which include built in airbed and sleeping bag. They’re great if you’re short on space and, as they often feature characters, they make camping really fun for toddlers.

Ensuring that everyone is warm and comfortable at night should hopefully lead to a successful camping trip!

  • Young Children  

Now Finn is a little older, we go down the ready bed route. He tends to use our Bundle Bed, which although made for adults, suits him fine. In fact, he’s claimed it as his own and is very territorial about it! If we didn’t happen to have it, I would get him a kids version though. It only has a self inflating mattress (SIM) and not an airbed so I use a reflective sleeping mat underneath for added warmth. Another option is a fold out campbed, but I find these a little big for small children, plus there’s the hassle of transporting them. I think it’s best to keep things simple when camping with children!

  • Keeping Warm

The success of your camping trip is going to depend massively on whether you get a good nights sleep. Therefore, keeping warm is very important. Here are a few tips for keeping cosy in a tent.

  • Insulate from the ground up. A lot of cold air comes up from the ground so do everything you can to stop it. A carpet, or even an insulated carpet in your tent is a great first step. Remember that a layer underneath is worth two on top, so lots of insulation beneath you is the key to staying warm.
  • Keep your extremities warm. Don’t forget to keep your hands and feet warm with gloves and socks. I don’t tend to wear a hat, and I’m not keen on putting anything on a young child’s head at night, but it may be necessary with older children on a particularly cold night.
  • Layer up. Remember that lots of thin layers are warmer than one thick layer (plus are easier to shed in the morning as the sun comes up). It’s worth investing in a decent base layer (thermal if necessary) as they are so useful all year round.

I hope that has helped a little, do let me know if you have a question that I haven’t answered above. Do you have any tried and tested tips for camping with babies and toddlers?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I earn a very small commission. There is no extra charge to you.

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Comments

  • Sarah - Craft Invaders Sarah - Craft Invaders January 27, at 13:09

    Some really useful advice. Our kids are older now, but they still always take onesies with them camplng, and they have sleeping pods which are bags that have more room in for them to flail about in rather than the cocooning ones we use which are a little like being mummified!

    Reply
    • TheHelpfulHiker TheHelpfulHiker January 27, at 15:14

      The sleeping pods sound good, I will have to look at those, sounds like they would accommodate Finn’s long legs! And I always take my onesie too, the only time I feel I can get away with wearing it!

      Reply
  • Little Pickle's Mom Little Pickle's Mom January 27, at 13:22

    Oh this is all invaluable! We love camping and wanted to keep up our lovely camping holidays when Pickle comes along but wasn’t sure how to go about it. Firstly, we’ll definitely need a bigger tent! I’m not sure our little 3 man p-up tent will quite cut the mustard anymore, lol. We’ll ease ourselves in gently though as our next upcoming stay will be glamping at a wedding – a kind of half way house before proper camping!

    Reply
    • TheHelpfulHiker TheHelpfulHiker January 27, at 15:11

      Yes, it’s definitely worth having a trial run first! For our first trip we just went for a couple of nights-and not too far away in case it all went wrong. It is so much fun but you’re going to need a bigger tent 🙂

      Reply
  • We’ve camped twice with our three kids. Both times in the wild (not at camp sites). We have two small tents, my hubby has an army sleeping bag, but we had normal sleeping bags and wore fleece onesies. Camping with kids is great. We first went when they were 2, 6 and 8 and then again at 3, 7 and 9. Both times were great fun, but we do need to invest in some warmer sleeping bags. Sarah #whatevertheweather

    Reply
    • TheHelpfulHiker TheHelpfulHiker January 28, at 09:20

      That sounds amazing, I would love to give wild camping a go, think we may have to downsize our kit though! Definitely agree with warm sleeping bags, it’s worth making sure you’re warm and comfortable!

      Reply
  • Such a useful post 🙂 were gonna do our first camping trip with the little ones this year 🙂 will definitly be using some of these xx

    Reply
    • TheHelpfulHiker TheHelpfulHiker January 28, at 09:22

      That sounds good, hope you have a fab time! Let me know how it goes- camping with kids is so much fun 🙂

      Reply
  • Nadia - ScandiMummy Nadia - ScandiMummy January 28, at 21:58

    Great tips! Having been camping for years, but could see doing a little camping trip in the garden once my boy is a little older #whatevertheweather

    Reply
    • TheHelpfulHiker TheHelpfulHiker February 01, at 10:19

      Definitely do it! It’s great to spend a night outside, even just in the garden is a brilliant adventure 🙂

      Reply
  • chloelifeunexpected chloelifeunexpected January 30, at 16:07

    This is so so helpful! What amazing advice. We’re taking Evie camping when it gets a bit warmer and even though she’s not a baby anymore, I like the look of the cot and the blow up! As a walking/exploring toddler I’d feel much safer if she was in something. I didn’t even think of this before! Thank you for sharing with #whatevertheweather x

    Reply
    • TheHelpfulHiker TheHelpfulHiker February 01, at 10:36

      I’m the same, now Finn can move I like the idea of him being contained as much as possible! Hope you enjoy camping when you go, I’m so looking forward to the summer and lots of adventures!

      Reply
  • Caroline (Becoming a SAHM) Caroline (Becoming a SAHM) January 31, at 07:01

    Really helpful as I have wondered sometimes how people manage with little ones… Still not sure I am brave enough to camp with ours yet! Xx

    Reply
    • TheHelpfulHiker TheHelpfulHiker February 01, at 10:38

      I don’t feel that brave, I find it easier than trying to contain/entertain him at home. At least outside he can be as messy or as loud as he likes! You should give camping a go one day, it might not be that bad 🙂

      Reply
  • Jenny Eaves Jenny Eaves February 03, at 16:17

    Great tips! That fleece suit looks like a great buy too, might have to buy one for A for our camping trips this year. I’m hoping for a much more comfortable and warm experience than last year. Planning on getting self inflating camping mats for a better insulated ground layer and cozy sleeping bags with fleece all in ones too. Can’t wait to get camping again!
    Thanks so much for linking up to #Whatevertheweather 🙂 x

    Reply
    • TheHelpfulHiker TheHelpfulHiker February 03, at 16:36

      Thanks, we have SIMs and they’re great. I also can’t wait for some more camping adventures, going to be such a pro this year (I hope!) 🙂

      Reply
  • mudpiefridays mudpiefridays February 03, at 22:25

    I really want to take my little man camping and thinking of doing it this Summer, great post will be pinning for future use. #Whatevertheweather x

    Reply
  • Margaret B Margaret B March 20, at 22:59

    Such an informative blog for best bedding. I am also agree with warm sleeping bags, it’s worth making sure you’re warm and comfortable!

    Reply
  • baby best strollers 2018 baby best strollers 2018 October 22, at 04:12

    I love the baby bumper. It folds so compactly and handles most terrains with ease. It is absolutely perfect for travel! We used to have the Combo twin, and it was great, but the Jeep folds so much smaller and is so much easier to carry.

    Reply
  • Katy Greene Katy Greene May 28, at 09:04

    Really great tips! Thanks for sharing such a nice camping idea with us. There are some attractive photo’s you added in to content enrich the blog. I have a blog on baby beach tents you may like. Thanks.

    Reply

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