Camping with a toddler for the first time!

Last week we went for a short break to Cornwall for a few days to surprise my family who were already on holiday there. You could easily be forgiven for thinking I’m a little bit crazy, given that I was going camping with a toddler for the first time, a seven hour drive from home.


The key to camping with a toddler is being well prepared. I put together a first aid kit in a small bag and made lists of everything we needed to take. Of course, this included spare outfits and wellies! Autumn is prone to making my clothes messy too, so even Dave and I had spare outfits packed. Unfortunately I had an awful flu-like virus and spent last Tuesday between the bed and sofa. However, by some miracle, we managed to get everything together and I summoned the energy to go on Wednesday afternoon. I did have a wash bag full of medicine though!

Car space

It’s probably worth saying at this point that tents take up a lot of room in a car…as do travel cots and pushchairs! As such, camping with a toddler is going to be a lot easier if you have an estate car or bigger, or a trailer. Getting ourselves and everything into our Skoda Fabia was a squeeze. I had a rucksack and food bag on my lap for the whole journey because there was literally nowhere else it would fit!

Camping with a Skoda Fabia

Set up

Fortunately, Autumn is very outdoorsy and she loved camping. Setting up the tent was a little difficult as she didn’t want to be in the car. However, we got there with a little help from Peppa Pig! The tent that we borrowed from my parents (under the pretence of camping somewhere much closer to home for a weekend) has two sleeping compartments. In my opinion, this is a must when camping with a little one! It meant we could put Autumn to bed in her cot and still continue to stay awake and talk without waking her. The travel cot was also a must have item, as if she’d been sleeping on an airbed like us I think she would have just unzipped the compartment and come back out!

Camping with a travel cot

I wouldn’t recommend going camping with a toddler solo if you can help it. I had to distract her with crayons while Dave grilled some toast. It could be pretty difficult trying to cook with one hand and fend an inquisitive child off with the other!

Key items

The first thing on my list was baby wipes. With baked beans and mud being a large part of camping, it was only a matter of time until Autumn’s little face and hands were going to get dirty. I try to use reusable wipes as much as possible at home. However, I knew these wouldn’t be entirely practical for a 3 day camping trip. Kit & Kin wipes are a little pricey, but they are 100% biodegradable. They’re not as dry as other eco-friendly wipes I’ve used and are hypoallergenic and fragrance free.

Kit & Kin Baby Wipes

On a similar note, hand sanitiser and anti-bacterial wipes are a necessity when camping with a little one. I’m constantly having to clean my hands. As such, trekking across a field to the sink every 5 minutes simply isn’t practical.

Milton anti-bacterial hand gel camping

Meanwhile, anti-bacterial wipes are good for wiping all kinds of things. I used them for wiping down the camp table after dinner. It was good knowing that I had them close to hand to clean Autumn’s toys if they fell into anything untoward.

Milton anti-bacterial wipes

My most favourite thing that we took camping with us was our Lava Bright Sounds 2. The light it emits is great, it’s a speaker AND it charges phones.

Lava BrightSounds 2

It is actually a better lamp than the other one we bought from a camping shop. Had I known how good it would be, I’d have just bought a second one. It enabled Autumn to keep colouring in after it got dark.

Colouring in with Lava BrightSounds 2 speaker

She also really enjoyed listening to some camping related music and dancing with me as we got ready in the mornings. This one was our favourite:

The handle is very useful for carrying it or hanging it up and it is water resistant, so perfect for camping. There is a choice of 5 colours and it is very pleasing to the eye. It’s design is modern but with a retro twist. Meanwhile, the battery can last for 48 hours depending on usage, or be used on the mains.

Last, but not least, we took a carbon monoxide alarm with us. In the past 2 years, 40 people have been killed whilst staying in a tent, caravan, holiday cottage or boat due to carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s small, so it doesn’t take up much room, yet it could potentially save your life! It comes with a 7 year warranty and lithium battery which should last the same amount of time. To find out more about carbon monoxide poisoning and how to protect yourself, see Project SHOUT.

Carbon monoxide alarm

All in all, we had a brilliant camping trip! We had been worried about taking Autumn camping for the first time, especially so far from home. However, it all went very well and I think she really enjoyed the different lifestyle over the course of our trip.

Frugi wearing toddler camping in a tent in Cornwall

Disclosure: The aforementioned items were sent to us to sample during our camping trip. As always, all views and opinions are honest and my own.

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