What is the Best Age to Start Camping with My Baby or Young Kids

by: Jessica Nugent and LiLing Pang

Whether you have a baby, a toddler or a preschooler, the sooner you start camping with them, the better.  Our son had his first tent camping experience at 6 months of age.  It is never too early to get your children outdoors.  Of course each age will have its challenges and rewards.  The best advice I can give you is to tailor your camping trip to your youngest child.

So, what are the peculiarities you’ll be dealing with at each age?


Pre-crawling babies are very easy to camp with.  You know they won’t be crawling around in dirt.  The main challenge is keeping baby warm or cool, so pick a time of year when temperatures are moderate or a campsite with shady spots if the weather is very hot.  However, as far as ease of camping with a baby, this is a great age embark on your first camping trip.

Photo by: Flickr/ Graham and Sheila




Crawlers and Toddlers


This is probably the most challenging age to camp with because it’s hard to control whether your child eats fistfuls of dirt.  There is no reasoning with a crawling.  Their instinct is to crawl and nothing is going to stop them.  Nonetheless, you can minimize your frustration level by trying to find a campsite located on a grassy meadow or by bring along a playpen or a dedicated play tent you can set up near where everyone is hanging out. 


Photo by: Flickr/Graham and Sheila




This is the age when camping starts to become really enjoyable with kids.  One caveat is that you must be mentally prepared that your child will likely be covered from head to toe in dirt the entire trip.  If you really can’t bear it, find a campsite with hot showers, otherwise, put those blinkers on and remember the mantra “God made dirt, and dirt don’t hurt.” Your major considerations with preschoolers will be teaching your child how to stay safe.  You might not want a campsite right next to a creek or lake so you don’t have to worry about your child wandering to the water’s edge by themselves all the time.

Photo by: Flickr/danoxster




Do you have a question about camping with kids that our savvy parents can help answer? 

Ask us your questions





Jessica Nugent (aka fani*fam) is the mom of a a one year old boy and loves outdoor adventures.  They are known for braving the outdoors any season of the year.  LiLing Pang (TravelPangs) is co-founder and contributing author on Trekaroo - - a reviews website dedicated to exploring and traveling with kids.

Travel with kids to: CA | CO | DC | FL | HI | IL | MA | NC | NY | PA | TN | TX | VA | WA

updated: February 02 2011 by LiLing Pang

at 09/13/2010 02:08PM ebickford wrote:
I just went camping with my one year old on a one night trip to a local lake. It was a lot of fun for her, she loved wakign up and going right outside of the tent and playing! However, I did have to get over the whole dirt issue, next time I will dress her in brown! LOL! We slept on inflatable mattresses (1 yr old in playard) and next time I plan on bumping it up to cots with tent heaters! Thanks for the advise!
at 03/10/2011 08:40AM GnuMom wrote:
We've been taking our daughter camping since she was an infant (as well as 3 times in utero!) and she loves it. We bought a piece of outdoor carpet to put down for her to play on and brought our inflatable jumpy castle/ball pit so we would have safe clean places for her to play. As far as the dirt, bring lots of changes of clothes and a spare dish-washing tub for baths. As she's gotten older (4yo now), we've learned that a portable DVD player can be a good distraction when we need to break down the camp - we stick her in the truck with the A/C on (since we often camp in the summer) and we know she's safe and comfy while we run around and get everything put away.
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