In this article on camping with kids, Hike it Baby founder Shanti Hodges shares her tips for sleeping in a tent with babies.

Photo: Laura Castro

So we finally did it! We officially went camping in a tent with our baby,  Mason. We didn’t backpack in so it was sort of glamping, but we legitimately ate food cooked on the campfire, were cut off from internet for 48 hours and didn’t have the comfy trailer with us.

In full disclosure, it still wasn’t totally badass because we had a boat, so that made it easy to bring everything but the kitchen sink. But we did learn a few good lessons about camping and sleeping in tents with babies. Here are a few quick tips that will help you if you are heading out car camping in the next few weeks have a better sleep with baby in a tent.

10 Tips

1. Don’t be so worried about keeping your baby warm that you overheat him. (Oops. Sorry baby Mason.) Bring layers of clothing and blankets so you can adjust. You never know how the temp will change.

2. If it is cold use a zip up PJ (fleece or regular one) under a fleece suit from Carters or similar. Putting a picture here to show you how we did it with Mason.

3. Add a fleece blanket into your mix of things. This can be used under the baby to keep the space under him warm. Also can be used to hold him in your lap at night near the fire.

4. To prevent cold toes can add Smart Wool socks (or other wool socks) on feet over the PJs. If you want to add Zutanos or other soft things over that for extra warmth you can.

5. Bring a hat that ties so if it’s really cold you can keep that on baby’s head when they toss about in bed.

6. Bring a sleeping bag for you, your partner and your baby. Don’t skimp on bringing baby a sleeping bag thinking he will sleep with you. If he’s having a toss and turn bad night you don’t want him to sleep with you and it’s easier to put him in the middle.

7. For those nervous about sleeping with baby (we are co-sleepers so we aren’t concerned) make sure your tent is big enough to allow a small pack and play. These are light and can be used outside the tent to contain a crawling baby as well.

8. Make sure to have some nice soft toys in the tent and books in case he wakes up too early and you want to keep him busy while you sleep a bit.

9. Keep a water bottle in the tent with a straw in it. If you get pummeled by hot sun in the morning it’s nice to have a little water as you are getting up and baby will appreciate it too.

10. Have a little cheap-o straw or plastic mat at the entrance of the tent so you can put your shoes and baby can crawl out the door without getting instantly dirty.

Camping Close to Home

If you are nervous about an overnight with baby think about trying your first camp trip close to home. If you live in Portland, you can go 30 minutes from town to Oxbow Park or Beacon Rock.

Or, just give it a go in your backyard. That way you can see how your little one does in the tent before you brave a real night out.

Sleeping in tents with babies

Photo: Jennifer Campbell

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What are your tips for sleeping in a tent with babies? Comment below!

 

8 thoughts on “Tips for Sleeping in a Tent with Babies

  • JEnn

    Great tips! We are car camping near Bend in 2 weeks. I will have to post some pictures!

  • JEnn

    Great tips! We are car camping near Bend in 2 weeks. I will have to post some pictures!

  • Amanda

    We’ve been dying to camp with our little one, but have failed to get organized. Great tips! One question: What do you guys use as a sleeping pad? That’s one of the things that’s been holding us back. We just have our old super-thin personal ones from backpacking, but I don’t think those’ll work for all 3 of us.

    Thanks!
    amanda

  • Amanda

    We’ve been dying to camp with our little one, but have failed to get organized. Great tips! One question: What do you guys use as a sleeping pad? That’s one of the things that’s been holding us back. We just have our old super-thin personal ones from backpacking, but I don’t think those’ll work for all 3 of us.

    Thanks!
    amanda

  • Karen Ung

    All good tips! We loved the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib for camping, and the MEC fleece suit as it had fold-over mitts and foot covers. Baby was ok in there with PJs underneath and a wearable blanket. A mosquito net for the travel crib is handy during the day when you need to put baby down (like while cooking) if you don’t have a bug shelter. Kinda wish we’d bought that sooner… finally got one last year (I kept thinking it’s for wimps, but SO good when you have kids so you don’t have to bathe them in DEET, LOL.).

  • Karen Ung

    All good tips! We loved the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib for camping, and the MEC fleece suit as it had fold-over mitts and foot covers. Baby was ok in there with PJs underneath and a wearable blanket. A mosquito net for the travel crib is handy during the day when you need to put baby down (like while cooking) if you don’t have a bug shelter. Kinda wish we’d bought that sooner… finally got one last year (I kept thinking it’s for wimps, but SO good when you have kids so you don’t have to bathe them in DEET, LOL.).

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