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After camping in our travel trailer with a toddler and a baby, I created a packing checklist so I wouldn’t forget any camping essentials. I am sharing my personal RV packing list with you. So what do you need for RV camping with a toddler or baby?
You will need a car seat for safe travel, entertainment for the drive and baby and toddler camping gear for your adventures when you arrive at your campsite. Fortunately, you will have extra space in the camper to take along some of the comforts of home.
This checklist was created specifically for RV camping with a baby or toddler.
Additional Family RV resources on the Blog:
- Comprehensive packing list for family RV Camping
- Tips for your First RV camping Trip with a toddler
- Winter Road Trip Safety Guide
An RV trip is also a road trip so while you are driving to your destination and between adventures, the little ones will be stuck in car seats. You will need some activities to keep the toddler busy. We have 17 tips for family road trips with toddlers here.
Bring the Right Type Car Seat
RV road trips with a baby or toddlers involve driving in a moving vehicle, whether in a tow vehicle or a motorhome.
“Does a child need to be in a car seat in an RV?”
Yes, legal or not, to safely ride in either a tow vehicle or in a motorhome, children need to be in a car seat. In some states, RVs are exempt from car seat laws but the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends having your child ride in a proper child safety restraint at all times
In all states, babies and toddlers are required to be in car seats in a tow vehicle such as a truck or SUV. In fact, 11 states (California, Connecticut, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Virginia) now require children under 2 to be in a 5 point harness and rear-facing. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that your child rides in a rear-facing car seat as long as possible.
Make sure you check with the manufacturer of both the RV and the car seat to safely install a safety restraint system for your toddler. The seatbelt must be sufficient to withstand a crash with a car seat.
In addition, the seat must be facing the correct direction. For example, you may need a forward-facing car seat for a toddler in an RV.
If you are renting an RV, check with the rental company whether they supply a car seat or you must bring your own. Generally, RV’s only have lap belts, so check with the car seat will be the safest in the rental.
Activities to Keep Your Toddlers Busy on the Road
An RV road trip often includes a long extended time in the car. Of course, we all dream of being in the car together, singing fun songs and watching the beautiful landscape out the window. With kids in the car, all bets are off.
If the scenery is interesting, we have been able to keep small children’s attention for a few minutes. We watch the hug windmill spinning or looking out the window for wildlife. Nothing lasts forever and soon we are on to finding another activity.
- Stuffed toy or favorite lovey
- Lap Books
- Travel games
- Favorite CDs
- Movie player
- Chewing gum
- Spillproof water bottlePicnic lunch
- Picnic blanket
- A ball to throw or kick
Pro Tip: Keep activities within reach with a seat organizer or small basket next to the kids. Then have a bag of additional activities hidden so you can switch things at a rest stop.
Here are 17 more ideas about keeping your toddler comfortable and happy on a road trip.
Baby and Toddler RV Camping Gear Checklist
The whole point of an RV trip is to enjoy your camping adventure. You want to make sure that you have the things on hand for camping with a baby or toddler. Bringing some extra supplies and comforts of home will mean a fun camping trip.
One lesson that I have learned is that warm baby = happy baby and cold baby = cranky baby. So, of all the things on this list, the layers of warm clothes and blankets are most important.
(Like the time we camped at Lagoon Amusement Park … in the rain the whole time)
Since you will likely be walking or hiking long distances baby carrier is indispensable. My favorite carrier for small babies up to toddlers is the Ergo. In fact, we have 2. As the babies grow to toddlers I switch from carrying them on the front to the back.
The other option I recommend is a baby carrier backpack. We had an older version of the KeltyKelty PerfectFit which was a great option. The top-rated carrier today is Deuter Kid Comfort, which has many features perfect for hiking.
- Extra layers of clothes
- Footie jammies
- Warm, wool socks
- Diapers or pull-ups
- Diaper cream
- Bottles and cleaning supplies
- Nursing supplies (breastfeeding)
- Sippy cup
- Burp cloth
- Diaper bag
- Sun hat
- Rain suit (keeps a toddler clean in the dirt)
- Fleece sleep sack
- Warm hat for sleeping
- small sleeping bag
- Portable bassinet or sleep tent
- Small booster seat (at the dinette)
- Baby monitor
- Potty seat
- Portable High chair
First Aid Kit for the RV ride and the Campsite
Kids are not likely to get scrapes or bruises during the car ride, but we have had plenty of rest stops. The kids all pile out of the car and play tag, climb a tree or throw the ball around. Inevitably we end up with a skinned knew that needs a band-aid, as much for first aid as for comfort.
One at the campsite or on a hike, bumps, and bruises will happen and you will need a well-stocked first aid kit. We have had some more major incidences of many bee stings and burns that required first aid and even a trip to the hospital for stitches.
The disposable eye drops are important for sand, dirt or smoke in the eye. Lately, I have been using the saline for drops in the baby’s stuffy nose.
- Triple antibiotic cream
- Anti-itch cream or hydrocortisone cream
- Burn cream
- Baby fever and pain medication
- Liquid allergy medication – in case of an allergic reaction
- Children’s motion sickness pills
- Disposable eye drops
Final Thoughts on Packing for an RV Camping Trip with a Toddler or Baby
We started by renting a motorhome and camping with a baby, a toddler, and two school-age kids. After years of tent camping and road trips in the car, this adventure fits perfectly for our family.
We now have an SUV tow vehicle and travel trailer combination that I pack for weekend trips and month-long adventures. I created this packing list for RV camping with babies and toddlers based on our personal experience.
In fact, this shorter list came from the ultimate printable checklist that I had created for our family to pack for our RV trips. You are welcome to save this Google Doc and download it for your own use.
Here are more resources for you:
- Comprehensive packing list for family RV camping
- Tips for your First RV camping Trip with a toddler
- 17 tips for family road trips with toddlers here
Please let me know in the comments what you have been to be the most useful thing for RV camping with a toddler.
Hi, I’m Shauna – Welcome to Family Travel Fever. We are a large family, that was bitten by the travel bug! We travel with kids and extended family. I take the kids by myself sometimes because I don’t mind flying or driving solo with my crew to discover the coolest places.
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