Best Toddler Clothes for Camping in Cold Weather

Whether you are mid camping season, or camping season is approaching, most people are itching to get outdoors and get some beautiful much needed fresh air, especially those of us with young children that are desperate to frolic and spread their wings.

Our family works very hard to get out camping as early in the season as possible, which means its going to be chilly. Whether you are an early season camper or a mid season camper it is likely that you will endure some rather chilly weather at some point in the trip. So how do we prepare our little tots for these chilly temps? I’m excited to share with you all of my tips on how to conquer those cold camping days and evenings with your toddler in tow.

What are the best toddler clothes for cold weather? To successfully camp in cold weather with your toddler you will need, base layers, socks, shoes, accessories, mid-layers, top layers, pajamas, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and blankets. With these items, it will be easy to assure your toddler is warm while camping.

Below you will learn everything you need to know about preparing your children for a chilly camping trip.

Base Layers are KEY

When the weather is roughly 50 degrees or below while camping having a base layer on your toddler will be key in keeping him or her warm.

What Are Base Layers?

Base Layers or thermals are clothing that you put on underneath your little one’s usual garments to keep them nice and toasty. It is important to find a base layer that is warm, yet not too bulky, so that their normal day to day clothes and coats will still easily fit.

Thermals should not be loose, it should hug the skin of your toddler to help keep them warm. Base layers should never be made of cotton which loses insulation if it gets wet from sweat, this completely defeats the purpose of a base layer. Base layers can also be referred to as thermals or long underwear.

Top Fabrics to Purchase as a Base Layer

  1. Merino Wool: Merino Wool is my top pick for fabric in a base layer for toddlers. It is lightweight, soft, wicks away water, and if the wool becomes wet it will still retain warmth. Merino wool also helps to regulate the body’s temperature. Here is our favorite merino wool base layer.
  2. Synthetic Materials (polyester and polypropylene): These synthetic materials are going to be significantly cheaper than Merino wool, and will come in a variety of styles and colors which is a plus over merino wool which can be limited in style and color. Synthetic materials will still do a sufficient job at drying quickly and wicking water away from the body. Synthetic base layers are generally machine washable, whereas I probably would not put merino wool in the dryer. A downside to synthetic materials in they tend to hold on to odor and are challenging to get the foul scent out of. Synthetic materials may not last as long as merino wool. Here is our favorite synthetic base layer for boys and girls.


Having a few pairs of quality warm socks is key to keeping your toddler happy on cold camping trips. If their feet are cold then their whole body is cold. Ensuring that our toddler’s feet are snugly warm is essential.

Finding quality socks that are warm for toddlers is actually quite the challenge, as there really are not that many options. Once again, I recommend Merino wool socks, they are warm, soft (unlike scratchy wool which will cause an immediate tantrum.), and water wicking. Here you will find our favorite merino wool socks to keep your toddler happy as a clam.


Whether your camping in the snow or just simply in an area where the evenings can get brisk, having a pair of insulated boots will be important to keep your little one’s feet nice and snug. The shoes you choose for your little one will be dependent on what type of activities you plan on doing while camping. If you plan to be trudging through snow, then having a taller snow boot will be key in keeping the snow out of the shoes and will keep the feet and ankles warm.

If you just need something for around the campground rather than the snow, then an insulated shoe may be more your speed. These Bogs are our favorite pick for camping in cold weather. They are easy enough for a toddler to pull on, insulated to keep little feet warm, they are not too bulky/won’t take up a ton of space, are waterproof for those rainy days, and come in a ton of cute patterns and colors. Bogs are not like many bulky snow boots but will work just as well if tracking through snow, and will also work great just around the campground on a chilly evening regardless if there is snow or not.



All year round I make sure to pack a hat that is warm and covers our daughter’s ears. The first thing I notice when it gets cold is my daughter’s ears start to turn red and seem to be the first thing to get cold. I will often put a hat on her before I have to put her coat on, simply because she’s running around and her body is warm but those sweet little ears are cold. Always have a hat like this one for girls, or this one for boys when camping.


If your toddler will not put on a hat and the objective is to keep their ears warm then earmuffs may be your solution. Here are some great ones to ensure your toddler’s ears stay warm


Best gloves ever!

Those little fingers….oh my gosh how difficult it is to keep gloves on those fingers, and how devastating is it when your stubborn toddler will not keep his or her gloves on and their fingers turn bright red… it’s awful for a mother to witness.

Look no further, after much research I found a fantastic pair of gloves that will STAY ON your toddler’s hands!!!! These gloves also keep their little fingers so snugly warm in even the harshest of conditions and are a total bargain. Pick these up for your wee one and you will no longer have to suffer through putting gloves on a million times, Hallelujah!

Mid Layer

The mid-layer will be your insulating layer. Fleece is a great option for this layer. If it’s not too cold I will just use something basic over our daughter’s base layer, any sweater and pants will do. It is important to ensure you’re not overdoing it and causing your toddler to be too hot resulting in a sweaty mess and a cranky toddler.

If it is under 32 degrees Fahrenheit I will use a base, mid and top layer. Above 32 degrees our daughter is happy with a base layer and a top layer. Here is a great fleece sweatshirt for both boys and girls. These little girl fleece pants are perfect as a mid-layer and these little boy fleece sweats will certainly do the trick while camping.

Top Layer

The top layer is essential if you are winter camping or spending time outside in the snow or rain with your toddler and need to ensure that they stay dry. The top layer includes a coat and winter pants.


If your toddler does not already have a winter coat or a warm coat for camping, then before your trip be sure to have one on hand. I find that most of our camping trips result in very unpredictable weather, of course, that is dependent on where you plan to camp, but being prepared for the worst is very important.

Whether it’s summer, fall, winter, or spring, have a winter coat on hand for your toddler. Be sure the coat is waterproof, has a warm lining like fleece, a snow skirt if you will be in the snow, and a hood. Here is the perfect coat for a little boy with top-notch reviews and a classic puffer look. Here is the matching girl’s version that is equally as loved by all those amazon addicts out there.

Snow Pants

The top layer should also include waterproof snow pants that provide warmth and protection from the elements. If you plan to be camping in the snow, then bib type snow pants may be best to ensure the snow does not somehow manage to get up the coat or down the pants. These are our favorite bib overall snow pants.

If you’re less concerned about the snow, then these are our favorite waterproof snow pants for toddlers. They are wind, rain, and snow proof. They are also fleece lined which will add extra warmth, and they are pack-able which makes them easy to take anywhere.


Those evening hours are when those temperatures can really plummet. If it’s unbearably cold I recommend keeping the toddlers base layers on and placing pajamas on top of the base layer. Also, keep those merino wool socks on their feet to keep those little toes warm.

Another tip for those very cold nights is to keep a hat on your toddler’s head which is very helpful in keeping children warm when camping.

I do not recommend wearing a hat to bed that is tied under the chin as this could result in strangulation. Just a basic winter hat will do!

I have an incredible recommendation for those of you who have only one objective…to keep your toddler warm at any cost. I’m not going to lie about these pajamas…they are pricey, but the fabric is merino wool and will do an excellent job at keeping your toddler warm on cold nights in a tent, no problem! They come in a few different colors that will suit a little boy or girl, check them out here!

For those of you on a budget (hey, that’s always my story..there is no shame in my game!) I do have an alternative that will still be so snugly warm. These fleece footed pajamas for girls, and these for boys will certainly keep a toddler warm in cold conditions.

What I recommend is ordering the pajamas in a size or two up, that way if your child needs that base layer on, they will easily and comfortably fit under the footed pajamas.

Sleeping Bag

What sleeping bag will be appropriate for your toddler in these cold temperatures you ask… there are so many factors when it comes to selecting the appropriate sleeping bag. Lets first evaluate what those are.

Sleeping Bag shape

There are four different shapes of sleeping bags.

  1. Rectangular sleeping bags: This shape will be pretty roomy for one little kiddo and may be able to be completely unzipped to replicate a comforter. This type of bag is great for summer/warm weather camping.
  2. Semi rectangular sleeping bags: This is a more roomy version of the mummy bag.
  3. Mummy sleeping bags: this is a snug-fitting sleeping bag, allowing for optimal warmth. The top of the bag can often fit over your ears and head to give additional warmth. I recommend the mummy bag for kids when camping in the cold
  4. Double sleeping bags: designed for multiple people that plan to sleep together. Some rectangular sleeping bags can be zipped together to make a double sleeping bag.


you have two options when it comes to insulation in the sleeping bag. The bag will either be synthetic or down.

  • Synthetic: Synthetic is the more affordable of the options, it will insulate if damp, dry quickly, and is generally non-allergenic
  • Down: Down sleeping bags generally, last much longer than synthetic, are more compact, will have a water-resistant coating, are lightweight, and can be very snugly warm! I had a challenging time finding a bag to recommend for kids that was down, the majority of bags for kids are synthetic.

Most children’s sleeping bags are not rated for 4 season weather, meaning that they are not rated below 30 degrees. This is my favorite synthetic sleeping bag for kids for 30 degrees and above. It is a mummy bag and can be placed around a child’s head for optimal warmth. There are zippers on both sides which make it easy for toddlers to get out of the bag if needed. It fits children up to 4 feet tall or 5 years old and comes with a compact bag for travel.

If the child is properly bundled up in a base layer and either merino wool pajamas or fleece pajamas then they should easily stay warm in conditions around 20 degrees in this sleeping bag.

If you are looking for a down sleeping bag with a lower temperature rating then we really like the REI Co-op radiant 20 sleeping bag.

Sleeping Pad

Tent camping on the cold ground is a recipe for disaster with a toddler. Be sure to have a sleeping pad for your little one to provide some insulation from the ground. This sleeping pad is a bit thicker than most which will provide more warmth than a standard sleeping pad. It also has great reviews. This sleeping pad is also self-inflating, so it’s a no-hassle product. It is not a necessity to purchase a kids sized sleeping pad. A standard size pad will do the job and can be used much longer by your kiddo.

I do not recommend a cot for tent camping in the cold for kids, the reason being is the airspace between the cot and the ground will make the situation colder than a sleeping pad would. Stick with a pad if possible.


Kids love blankets, having some extra warm blankets available to stuff in their sleeping bags if they are still cold will certainly do the trick and will also add to their comfort level when they are sleeping in a new place. This large blanket is a steal of a deal if you ask me, its nearly 4 pounds, very large, 80 percent wool, and it also has incredible reviews. This blanket could be placed over the child’s sleeping bag to add weight and warmth.

Final Thoughts

If your child does all of the things stated above, I can assure you by morning they will be stripped down to their skivvies with their sleeping bag wide open, whether it’s 20 degrees or not. I genuinely hope this guide helped give you tips on how to keep your wee one warm. I remember our first time camping with our daughter and what a struggle it was to assure that she was warm. I am so happy to help alleviate some of those concerns for you!

Happy Camping!