Have you introduced your toddler to the fun of tent camping? It’s never too early to get started, sharing good times with your family as you camp in nature. But it can get cold at night no matter the time of the year you’re camping. Even during the hot summer months, nights in the wilderness can get chilly and cold.
I’ve put together some ideas for how to keep a toddler warm at night while camping so that everyone can enjoy a good night of sleep.
Camping Gear to Stay Warm
Having the right camping gear for your toddler is going to make a big difference in keeping him warm.
1 – Sleeping bags
There’s nothing wrong with bringing your toddler into your sleeping bag with you. But it’s not always the ideal way to sleep, particularly if your toddler moves around a lot during the night.
To avoid sleeping with a restless toddler, make sure he has his own sleeping bag. Don’t buy those sleeping bags for kids that come with cute designs. These sleeping bags aren’t meant for camping outdoors – they’re meant to be fun for your toddler to sleep in when at home or on a sleepover with his grandparents.
For camping outdoors, choose child-size sleeping bags that are filled with down or that are made from a top-quality synthetic material.
2 – Sleeping bag liners
If you plan on camping a lot in cooler weather, consider buying a sleeping bag liner (view on Amazon). Liners are easy to insert in your toddler’s sleeping bag, adding an extra layer of warmth. Look for fleece sleeping bag liners for added warmth.
3 – Sleeping pad
Don’t just put your toddler’s sleeping bag on the floor of the tent or on a layer of blankets – invest in a sleeping pad that’s at least one-inch thick. If you’re camping in colder weather, buy an insulated sleeping pad. Having padding between the sleeping bag and the tent floor is going to keep cold ground temperatures away from your toddler.
4 – Sleeping bed
If you have a large enough tent, and if your toddler is open to sleeping in one, purchase a sleeping bed for toddlers and babies. This is a great way to keep your toddler off the floor of the tent, particularly if you’re camping during colder months when nighttime temperatures can drop below 50 degrees.
5 – Fleece blankets
Even if you don’t use them, pack along at least one fleece blanket. On colder nights you can put the blanket into the sleeping bag with your toddler. If he gets too warm, it’s easy to just remove the blanket.
The Right Clothing for Sleeping
One of the challenges of camping is having the right clothing for sleeping. The following are good clothing options that can keep your toddler warm and comfortable. Even if you don’t use all the pieces of clothing you pack, it’s better to have options.
When getting your toddler ready for bed, dress him in layers. Warm pajamas, a sweater, socks, mitts, and a hat. Check during the night, or before you go to bed yourself, to see if your toddler is too warm or cold. If he feels too hot, you can start to remove items to keep him comfortable. And if his skin feels cold, you can add a blanket on top of his sleeping bag or put it inside.
6 – Warm pajamas
Cotton pjs won’t cut it when you’re camping. They won’t keep your toddler warm on cool nights. And if he starts to get too warm and sweat a bit, cotton material gets damp – and stays damp. A fleece onesie will keep your toddler warm and cozy. If you’re camping in cooler weather, a onesie with feet is a good choice.
7 – Sweaters and hoodies
After dressing your toddler in pajamas, add a sweater on top. A hoodie is another option – the hood will keep his head and neck warm.
8 – Thermal underwear
If your toddler is out of diapers, thermal underwear (view on Amazon) will keep him warm when you’re camping in the spring and fall. Little thermal undershirts are easy to wear underneath pajamas.
9 – Warm socks
Longer socks are a good choice as you can pull them up higher, keeping cool air off any exposed skin. As with other clothing items, you can remove socks if your toddler is warm enough in his sleeping bag.
10 – Mittens and hat
Little hands can get cold at night. Having a pair of mittens is a great way to keep in warmth. Bring a warm knit hat as well. Young children can quickly lose body heat through their head on cooler nights.
11 – Snow suit
If you’re camping in the early spring, late fall, or winter months, a snow suit can keep your toddler warm on those really cold nights. Look for snow suits that are easy to get your toddler in and out of, especially if he’s out of diapers or if you’re in the middle of potty training.
Tips for Staying Warm
- Put warm clothes or pajamas on your toddler before it gets cooler at night. It’s much easier to be warm and cool off by removing layers than it is to try and warm up. And once your toddler gets cold, he may feel like letting you know that it’s time to go home!
- Fill a hot water bottle with hot water and put it into the sleeping back with your toddler. There are some cute hot water bags that you can now purchase for kids to make it more fun.
- Buy a rug or tent carpet to place on the floor of the tent. This will add an insulating layer between the ground and your toddler’s sleeping pad. You don’t need to spend a lot on a carpet – check out carpeting stores for leftover pieces of carpeting that fit the size of your tent.
- Bring along extra tarps to cover the tent. This is a great way to keep the tent warmer at night whether it rains or not.
- The smaller the tent, the warmer it will be. A large tent means more space for cool air.
- Always dress your toddler in dry clothing before bed. Clothing that’s even slightly damp will quickly cool down your toddler.
With the tips here, you’ll know just how to keep a toddler warm at night while camping. Plan ahead for all weather conditions and temperatures. Once you have the right camping gear and clothing to keep your toddler warm, you’ll be ready to brave even the colder months of year in a tent.