How to Guarantee Your Toddler Will Be Warm While Camping?

Are you planning a camping trip for your family? Good for you, there is nothing better than spending quality time outdoor with young kids. My fondest memories are of camping as a young child with my family. It was always such an adventure and every day brought something new.

There is one camping trip that I can recall that was not pleasant at all. My family was unexpectedly downpoured on and nearly froze to death. I remember waking up in our tent next to a very large puddle of water. The entire week of our trip the cold temperatures and rain never let up. We ended up sleeping and spending all of our time in our minivan just to stay warm. It was a disaster that could have been prevented if my family had planned ahead in the event that something like this would happen.

Since then, I have grown up and now have a daughter who loves camping and being outdoors. I now look back on my past dreadful camping trip as a valuable learning experience. My husband and I never take mother nature for granted and always plan (just in case) for the worse. We even decided to purchase our first travel trailer this past year. We did so to make sure our daughter would be warm and comfortable on our frequent camping trips. Not to mention, we wanted to make sure we felt safe, since tent camping in bear country (Glacier National Park) can be a bit risky.

How to Keep your toddler warm while camping? The solution is to plan ahead, have the correct size of tent for the size of your family, have a cozy sleeping area for your toddler, and appropriate clothing for the potential weather conditions.

Keep reading to discover exactly what is involved with keeping your toddler warm on your next camping trip.

Plan Ahead

Do your research before your camping trip. Look up the record low and high temperatures where you will be camping, not the averages. If you are aware of the high and low temperatures during the time of your camping trip then you will have a better idea of the extremes to prepare for. I recommend preparing for both scenarios.

Also, research the amount of rainfall that is typical during that time of year. This way you can plan on how much rain gear will be necessary. In Glacier National Park where our family camps in the month of June, all we bring is rain gear. This is because it pours almost every day, but in the month of July you may not see a drop of rain. The amount of rainfall can really vary month to month, so be sure to do your due diligence.

Lastly, look up how much wind there may be during the time of year you plan to camp. We all know that the wind speeds can drastically affect the temperature outside. Therefore it may also affect what you plan to pack for your trip.

Tent or Trailer

Majority of people with a toddler will either be tent camping or camping in a trailer. As far as keeping warm, these two options are pretty different so let’s cover both.

Tent Camping

Tent Size

Camping in a tent in a cold climate with a toddler can be a challenge if you are not fully prepared. I suggest using a tent on the smaller size for the size of your family. If you are sleeping in a huge tent it can get cold very fast. You should all be somewhat snuggled up to keep each other warm. I am not advising you to purchase a 3 person tent for your family of 5. But also don’t bring a mansion for your family of three, you will all freeze when the temperature drops!

Also, make sure the tent you own is waterproof. The sure way for your toddler to freeze is for him or her to get wet while in the tent. That is a recipe for disaster. If the tent is a few years old, pick up a waterproofing spray. Put the spray on your tent before camping to be certain that everyone stays dry. This is the spray we use.

Here is our favorite tent that we used for years before we bought out travel trailer last year.

Tent Sleeping Arrangements

When tent camping I recommend not putting your toddler directly on the ground for sleeping. The ground is usually pretty cold and will make it even more challenging to get your toddler warm at night. I recommend getting a sleeping pad (like this one with rave reviews). You could also get a small cot to get your toddler off the cold ground, like this adorable one.

Next, you will want to be sure to have a cozy warm sleeping bag for those chilly nights. My parents, god bless their souls found my sleeping bag at Walmart. Not that there’s anything wrong with Walmart, but the sleeping bag sucked and I always froze at night. Select a sleeping bag that will give you confidence that your little one will be warm at night, like this one. Also bring a few blankets just in case it’s extra cold. The blankets will also be helpful if it’s warm at night and the sleeping bag won’t be used.


Fleece footed pajamas are our favorite for keeping our toddler warm at night. I order her fleece pajamas one size up so that if needed I can layer clothes underneath her pajamas. If the fleece pajamas are not warm enough then put on a long sleeve onesie, pants, and these socks on underneath to keep them extra cozy.


Full Plugins

So, you have a trailer, that’s awesome, but there are some questions we must ask ourselves before going camping. Does your campsite have full plug in’s and a full propane tank? If so, then you don’t have much to worry about. Your toddler should easily stay warm in your trailer because you will be able to operate your heat.

To learn more about keeping your trailer warm in the winter, check out to find several tips.

Generator Free or Generator Site

Generator site

Generator free and generator only sites are a bit different than plug in campsites. Generator campsites typically allow you to use a generator if you have one to charge up your trailer during certain hours of the day. This way you can keep your batteries charged to run your heat at night. If it’s cold outside and you think you need to run your heat all night there is a good chance that you will not have enough juice to do so without fully charged batteries.

With a generator site you should be able to keep your trailer charged enough to run your heater. We bring a small electric heater to keep the trailer heated while the generator is running to save on our propane. It will be important for those of you with a generator site to plan ahead. This will be beneficial in the event that it’s cold and the trailer runs out of usable electricity.

Generator Free site

In a generator free site you will be able to use your heat, but only until your trailer batteries die. Typically in our trailer, we can get 2 days on battery while running heat and not charging. If you have solar installed on your trailer, you may be able to keep in enough juice to keep your heater going through the duration of your trip.

The good news is, a trailer will be much better insulated than a tent. But don’t let that fool you into thinking that you will stay warm in your trailer. Our first year we discovered how cold it can get in a trailer without any heat. It CAN and WILL get cold if it’s chilly outside. I would prepare just like I would for tent camping. The good news is, your not on the ground. Therefore, you will not need to worry about getting a sleeping pad or cot which is a bonus!

Where is the Toddler Sleeping?

Is your toddler sleeping in a bed in your trailer or in a pack in play? Either way, I recommend bringing along a fleece sheet like this one that we use on our pack and play. The fitted sheet can be put on either one to help keep your little one warm.

What is the Toddler Wearing to Bed?

At night I will put my daughter in fleece footed pajamas just like the ones I recommend for tent camping. Instead of putting my daughter in a sleeping bag I put her in a fleece sleep sack. Here is the one we use. It’s actually our daughters sleep secret, she sleeps like a baby when she wears this sleep sack. (The sleep sack is just a bit smaller than the sleeping bag, so it fits better into her pack n play. If your little one is sleeping in a bed then you can still use a sleeping bag if you’d rather.)

Lastly, on really cold nights I will wrap my daughter up in a cozy blanket for added warmth. Keep in mind, she only needs the blanket on below freezing nights. Be careful not to overheat your toddler, that can be a lot of layers.

  • About our camping trips:

My family of three camps in a 21 foot trailer that we purchased in 2018. We spend most of our time camping in off grid generator free sites. My recommendations under “what is the toddler wearing to bed” is based off of our experiences camping in generator free campsites.

We spent several nights last year camping in below freezing temperatures and our daughter was very comfortable. Our family camps frequently in Glacier National Park where the weather is extremely unpredictable. During the day it may be 75 degrees and sunny and by 9:00 in the evening it could be below freezing with 60 mph winds. Proudly I can say we know a thing or two about planning for the unexpected.


If you are camping in an area where the weather can be unpredictable like us, then check out this list of daytime essentials you should bring to keep your toddler warm during the day.

  • Winter coat with hood
  • Rain coat
  • Mittens
  • Snow Boots or rain boots with thick socks
  • Warm hats and/or earmuffs
  • Warm laying pieces
  • Smart wool socks
  • Umbrella