by maipham

July 28, 2020

Are you about to take your toddler to a tent camping soon?

This will be the first camping you take him. He always sleeps in his crib and hasn’t ever slept in a tent before. And you are filled with worries.

What if he cannot sleep without his crib? What if he wakes up and he finds himself in a totally strange place, will he get scared? What if he gets too excited and stays up late? What if he cries?

Hundreds of questions and scenarios booming in your head. Now you are not even sure if camping with your toddler is a good idea. Should you cancel?

While there are many factors that can keep your child up and running in a tent, when it comes to sleeping, you can think of camping with pack n play.

Why should you consider camping with pack n play

A pack n play brings a great help for parents while camping. 

Sometimes you have to leave the tent to do something and there is no one next to your kids? Put them in a pack n play.

Your toddlers can crawl and play with dirt on the ground? Pack n play acts like a playpen.

Your toddlers are used to sleeping in their own cribs and now there is no crib? Put them to sleep in a pack n play. They will be less shocked by the completely different sleeping arrangements.

Camping with pack n play: 7 tips to help your toddler sleep well in a tent

Follow the same sleeping routine

Sleeping while camping doesn’t have to mess up your toddlers’ sleep schedule. Yes, there are some changes, but the sleeping routine should stay the same.

If you introduce a routine to your baby at an early age, say, routine EASY, you should keep the same routine when camping.

Take him a bath, either a real bath or with some wet wipes throughout his body. Then dinner, brush his teeth, and put him down to his pack n play.

When you camp, bedtime can easily be a little later than usual. As your toddlers are very excited about the new environment, they are filled with energy and excitement. Make sure they get enough playtime and burn enough energy to go to bed without much resistance. 

Use the same or similar sleeping gears if needed, eg: white noise

Try to imitate the same sleeping environment your toddlers need to sleep. If he is used to sleeping with white noise, carry your white noise machine. If he loves to chew on his pacifier, bring that.

Bring their dou-dou/ favorite toys

Almost all children have their favorite objects to sleep with. For some, it’s their teddy bear. For some, it’s their fingers. For some, it’s their favorite blanket. For some, it’s their mommy’s nipples.

Whatever it is, try to bring it while camping.

However, if that favorite object takes too much room, you can find a smaller alternative, for example, a mini-size teddy bear.

Set up their beds properly

When your toddlers sleep in their rooms at home, you can control the sleeping environment pretty well. With the help of curtains, air conditioners, blankets, etc., you can create an ideal environment for your toddlers to sleep in.

However, when sleeping in a tent, there is no air conditioner, there is no timer, there are no curtains to block the sunlight, you have to be flexible a little bit. 

Remember that the ground is very cold at night, so never let your baby sleep on the ground. Make sure there is always a gap between your baby’s pack n play and the ground and check on your baby often.

Get them used to it

Get them used to it at home before you go. You can do this by setting up the tent inside the house, then outside the yard sometimes and let them sleep in it.

If you have a pack n play and intend to use it while camping, use it in this trial camp too.

Bring a large tent

If your kid is sleeping in a crib, make sure your tent is large enough to fit a pack n play. If your family has 4 people, a tent for 10 people will do the work for you. It will leave you enough room to put the pack n play and all the packages in the tent. 

What’s more, you also will not likely to wake up anyone else during a midnight diaper change.

Let them play hard and stay up a little later

There is no curtain to block the lights while camping with pack n play. And your kids will be full of energy whenever they see something new. So just allow them to play hard and stay up a little later.

Then once they are calm and tired, do the night time routine and off to bed.

Other things to pack while camping with pack n play

First Aid for Tent Camping with Toddlers

There are many things that can happen while camping. A bug bite, a scratch or sometimes stomach or fever. Hopefully, the First Aid won’t be needed but carrying it with you is vital. 

A portable camping highchair or pod

There are many affordable options for a portable camping highchair or pod. Remember, you want your camping packages to be as small and simple and possible, so get a high chair that can be easily folded up and wiped down.

A hiking carrier 

If your plan involves walking or hiking, your toddlers are not likely to catch up with you. They can get rest in the hilding carrier without slowing you down.

Wet wipes

Wet wipes to clean hands, to clean faces, to wipe the cooking pan, or to clean up the number two.

You can never have too many wet wipes while camping. Try to get the biodegradable wet wipes, so that you can leave the wipes used for number two at its spot.

Otherwise, carry a bag to dispose of all the wipes and diapers you might use.

An outdoor rug or beach mat 

If your baby is learning to crawl or walk, you don’t want him to be locked inside the pack n play or in the tent, you don’t want him to crawl on the ground either. 

Extend your camping space by using an outdoor rug or beach mat, and let your baby play on it.

A cooler

if you will need breast milk or formula stored.

Mosquito net

It is safe to bring a mosquito net, especially when you camp somewhere with lots of trees and bushes. Mosquitoes can transfer many diseases, so when your toddlers are taking naps in the pack n play, install the mosquito net to reduce any risk.

If you are still breastfeeding your baby, take a look at my article “Travel while breastfeeding without your baby” for some more gear guides.

camping with pack n play

Final thought

Camping with your toddler(s) is a great experience for both kids and parents. Don’t go crazy and worry about things that almost never happen at all. 

Your toddler can sleep well in a tent, sometimes he just needs a little assistance. 

Camping with pack n play is a good idea of keeping him safe and secure for a good night rest.

About the author 

Mai Pham

Mai Pham discovered her passion for writing a few years ago and she never stop thinking about it ever since. She finally took the leap and created Live a Worthy Life to brag about her smart ass (mainly just for fun). Enjoyed the fun writing brings, now with her new interest in everything-baby-related, she created Mommy Instinct, to tell mamas that it's ok that they mess up, that they don't know what the hell they are doing, and that it's okay to sit back and relax for a while.

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