The New Parent’s Top Five Tips For Taking Your Baby Camping

Since Hatch is a family owned and operated business and all of us on the team have children (mostly babies under two years old), we’ll be sharing a lot of information about how exactly to handle the outdoors with a growing family. We know camping with a baby can be a challenge, but hopefully this helps! Check back often as we’ll be writing on this topic all year long.

One of the many joys of having a kid is being able to share your passions with them. You can only hope they will enjoy it as much as you do. Getting them involved and active in these things from an early age helps with that.

Last July was my son Brantley’s first camping trip. He was just over a year old at the time, just about to walk, and he was already in love the outdoors. He can be as happy in his backpack on a hike as anywhere else. The timing finally worked to get him out camping.

My wife’s family had reserved a lakeside campsite at nearby Hyalite Reservoir for a week. Easy access, close to home, safe – Hyalite is a great choice for all kinds of recreation. We had an idea of what to expect this week, but as with most things with parenting we really had no clue.

Here’s a few things we learned:


Doing anything with a kid is more difficult than when you did it without one. Bagging peaks, 20 mile hikes, week long camping trips – they’re all certainly possible with a baby, but maybe not the best idea. You have to keep your expectations real and in check. You can still have grand adventures and enjoy the time outside but just remember how much your life has changed now that the little one is part of it too.

This is the single biggest part of having an enjoyable and successful camping trip with your kid. Knowing that camping trips aren’t going to be the same (what is going to be the same with a baby in your life?) is a big realization. It’s understandable to struggle with this thought, as it is with all aspects of parenting a new baby. It’s hard to come to grips with the new reality, and some time to accept those facts is necessary.

That isn’t to say that your days of enjoying the world at large are done. Far from it. Your adventures will be richer and more fulfilling than you could possibly imagine. Just doesn’t seem like it at first, but give it time.

Short hikes are a lot of fun with a little one.


For a first camping trip when you really don’t know what you’re in for, do yourself a favor and camp close to town. An hour from home, tops, is a good rule of thumb. That makes it easy to get home if you need to. Luckily, we have loads of options within a short drive from Bozeman.

Camping close to town doesn’t make you less of a “badass”, it doesn’t lessen the adventure at all, it just makes things that much easier for everyone.


Does your child have a favorite toy? Snack? Place to sleep? If you can bring it, do. Your car might be packed floor to ceiling but that is far better than better out there and realizing you don’t have that special item. The last thing you want to be dealing with is a meltdown from an angry toddler.

There are a lot of camping specific baby items on the market. High chairs, utensils, play pens, and more are all readily available to not ruin your child’s favorite or fancy home items. The ones built for home use are generally harder to store and pack than camping versions of them. If you spend a lot of time in the woods it’s probably worth it to invest in items that you’ll only use out there.

Also, be ready to have a system around changing, storing, and disposing of dirty diapers. There will be lots of those. A portable changing station is a good investment, and they make a lot of great options for changing pads and other things that lay on the ground to change your kid. Just make sure it’s comfortable for them and for you. A dedicated diaper garbage bag or some kind of scent proof storage for diapers is nice to have as well.

Grandma can be a huge help in camp.


You’re not at home where you can put your baby in their crib or pack-n-play and get yourself a short break. It’s exhausting to bring a baby out camping. They require constant care, attention, holding and playing. If you can bring help, do so. Grandparents, family, friends, a babysitter. Not only will your child be more entertained and happier with different people to interact with, you can get yourself a break. Even if it’s just for 10 minutes around a campfire or a chance to grab the fishing rod and get out on the water for a hot second. Taking care of yourself is important too.

A great way to accomplish this is to camp with other families with small children. Everyone is in the same boat and understands what you are facing. Your kids will have each other to play with as an added bonus. Every parent realizes at some point that you never really understand the challenge of raising kids and what it truly entails until you have your own. It helps to be out with other people who understand it.


It’s camping. It doesn’t need to be something fancy or overdone. Keep things simple and easy. Easy dinners, easy activities, easy going fun. Don’t try to cram each day so full of activities that you miss out on the basic joys of camping and relaxing in the great outdoors. Kids can sense tension and stress really easily, and the last thing you want is them associating camping and time afield with that.

Camping with your child can be so much fun.It can also be incredibly frustrating if your expectations aren’t set right. Know your limitations, keep things simple, and understand what you’re getting in to. Then you’ll have a great time. Good luck out there!

Our campers are ideal for camping with your little one, book one for your summer here!

Do you have any tips that have helped when taking your baby camping? We’d love to hear them!


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