Car Camping… With Baby #KohlsCampGuide

by Kim on April 12, 2016 · 44 comments

This is a sponsored post but the views expressed here are my own.

It will probably come as no surprise that Brian and I have an insane amount of outdoor gear– enough gear for a 30,000 mile, 47-state camping road trip, but do we have enough gear to car camp with a baby?

Okay, the answer is yes, because, really, what does a baby need?

However, there are some pieces of gear that make camping with a baby a whole lot easier. (I’m assuming- this is a whole new world for me). Recently, Kohl’s asked if I would help share the word about their camping department and offered to send me some camping gear (and they let me pick it out, so that I could get exactly what I needed) and so, with visions of car camping with a baby in my head, I said, Yes! Thanks!

Also, guys, there’s something here for you too- so read on to the bottom for your chance to win.

We are so excited to introduce Juniper to the great outdoors. We have two camping trips planned in the next few months, including a weekend of camping at Hocking Hills State Park and a week of camping at Shenandoah National Park. We’re also headed to Asheville, NC to housesit and hike for 10 days, so we’ll be testing Juniper’s patience in a backpack soon, too.

car camping with baby

We found this baby backpack (it’s a Kelty) at a garage sale for $10. Score!

So, here’s what I selected from Kohl’s to use on our upcoming baby-camping adventures. Have you camped with a baby before? How did it go? Do you have any tricks to make it go smoothly?

Coleman DuraRest Plus Air Mattress

Camping with baby

Pre-baby, we slept on camp cots or ground pads. But since Juniper will be snuggling up between us in the tent, we wanted an air mattress big enough to fit all three of us. This Coleman air mattress is queen sized and fits in our 4-person tent perfectly. Instead of using sleeping bags we’ll bring along a sheet and blanket to keep us warm. Note: Obviously don’t put your very tiny baby on an air mattress. Juniper is big enough to move her head and roll, so I’m not concerned about sleep safety anymore.

Camping with baby

Another benefit of camping on an air mattress: Since having a baby my body feels about one billion years old so I can’t imagine how it would feel after a night of sleeping on the ground. Sleeping on an air mattress will give us a comfortable night of sleep- something I appreciate now like I never did before.

Wenzel Biscayne Screen House

Camping with baby

Mosquitos on the east coast are no joke and can easily ruin a camping trip with their biting and buzzing. This screen house is amazing, big enough to stand up in and it fits over a picnic table which will make eating meals and hanging out in general so much better. I’ve also heard rumors that the cicadas will be out this year (my personal hell) and if that is the case I will be hiding inside this screen house the entire time we’re camping.

camping with baby

Bonus: The screen house packs down quite small- important when you don’t have a ton of room in the car.

Coleman Pack-Away Compact Table

camping with baby

We already had two cute, lightweight, foldable camping tables but nothing tall or sturdy. We needed something high to keep food, drink, and everything on earth that the baby reaches for these days out of her hands, and this table fit the bill. It’s super easy to assemble (as Brian demonstrates above) and it packs down nice and small (as Brian demonstrates below).

camping with baby

Fiskars 14-in. Hatchet

Every baby needs their own hatchet, obviously! (Kidding!) This has nothing to do with babies but we didn’t have a hatchet and Brian likes to chop wood and pose like Paul Bunyan and you can’t do that without one.

camping with baby

Win a $50 Kohls gift card and buy your own camping gear!

Kohls has given me a $50 gift card to pass along to one of you! You can enter to win by 1) sharing this post on social media and 2) leaving a comment below. A winner will be randomly selected on April 19, 2016. Good luck and happy camping! UPDATE: Congratulations to the winner, Ashley! The giveaway is now closed. 

camping with baby

We’re ready for our first foray into the great outdoors as a party of 3.



{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

Rachel @ Betty LIVIN April 12, 2016 at 12:31 pm

It’s smart to start her off so young! I’ve been trying to introduce my older step children tot camping and hiking and it’s not going so well. Ha ha!


Sarah April 12, 2016 at 12:49 pm

Camping is a great way to spend quality time together as a family without electronic distractions. The memories you create and the pictures you capture will be pricelss.
Sarah recently posted..Will to Prepare: Half Marathon Training Week 9


Renee April 12, 2016 at 12:53 pm

We bought a larger tent and would set up the pack and play right in the tent. That helped with them feeling secure and closed in like in their crib at home….and warm footie pajamas since they inevitably kick off their blankets. Agree on the sun/bug tent!


Becky Connor April 12, 2016 at 1:04 pm

We love to camp and have a trip planned in a couple of weeks. An air mattress is a must!


Bianca @itsallbee April 12, 2016 at 2:26 pm

How cute its that baby!!! I might have to check out that mattress as I am going to be camping in Iceland and Norway this summer and could use something comfy while sort of roughing it.
Bianca @itsallbee recently posted..5 Tourist Activities You Should Stop Taking Part In Now


Patti April 12, 2016 at 4:56 pm

Love the idea of the screen room! Not only great for camping but it would be useful right in our own back yard!
Patti recently posted..Hysterics of the What If Scenarios ~


Kristi in LV April 12, 2016 at 5:13 pm

I love to camp with the kiddos. Who knew Khols had such great gear!?


Mary Jane April 12, 2016 at 7:38 pm

The screen house seems so important to protect the little one from mosquitoes. Never considered Kohl’s for camping gear, but it makes sense as they have a great seasonal department.


Tricia Manaster April 13, 2016 at 4:59 am

I love your set up! One of the things I miss about camping with small children is how comfortable our campsites were and your pictures remind me of this. Now that our kids are older (18,16 and 13 year old twins), we are much more minimalist since we are more mobile. When they are little, we used to spend a lot more time at camp and made more effort to make our campsites more homey. Our kiddos have been camping as long as they can remember and our memories from this are the ones I cherish the most. Looking forward to reading more of your family adventures!
Tricia Manaster recently posted..Trader Joe’s Backpacking Food – Convenient and Delicious


Mima April 13, 2016 at 7:34 am

Juniper is so adorable 🙂 I think her smiles say that she already loves camping and great outdoors!
I love that screened room – its really great for keeping mosquitoes and other bugs from ruining your trip – really useful.
Enjoy your trip!


Laurie April 13, 2016 at 7:53 am

Great post! We went camping with a 3-year old in the 80’s, mosquitos were bad. Love the screenhouse and the mattress! You’re such great travelers. Juniper is adorable! We have a 1 year old granddaughter. Her middle name is June 🙂 Enjoy your precious family time.


Dinata Misovec April 13, 2016 at 8:43 am

We use an (approximately) 8×11 screen room we got at Camping World. Rather than zipper doors, which are a pain to open and close with your hands full, this screen room has magnetic doors that ope with just a push and close by themselves. That would come in handy with a baby on one hip and a plate of food in the other hand.


Laurie April 13, 2016 at 9:53 am

How nice of Kohls.
The items you got seem very practical and I am sure you will get a lot of use from them.


Kami April 13, 2016 at 2:54 pm

Love to see that you’re getting Juniper in on the travelin’ action!


Angie Mattson Stegall April 13, 2016 at 3:03 pm

Here’s me having NO idea Kohl’s had family camping gear! Can’t wait to hear the trip goes with Ms. Juniper. Have Fun!
Angie Mattson Stegall recently posted..A love letter to my Chaco sandals


Susan Fischer April 13, 2016 at 4:18 pm

Having camped myself, I’ll send sunny good weather energy your way. I like camping but not in chilly damp weather.


Martha Bent April 13, 2016 at 4:52 pm

Air mattresses are great – aside from camping, nice to have for visitors when you don’t have more than one extra room 🙂 Yes I’ve used it camping as well!


Melissa Vonderheide April 14, 2016 at 11:11 am

Love your blog! Headed out west for 5 wks this summer and will definitely try the screen house this trip.


Sarah Halby April 14, 2016 at 11:57 am

Good luck on your family camping adventures! Some of my favorite childhood memories are camping with my family.


Carolyn James April 14, 2016 at 9:51 pm

I have an air bed and one thing about it … it’s cold underneath you, because it’s air, instead of a being a foam pad or any insulation. So I had to put a comforter and some additional padding under me, to feel warm in bed.


Mami2jcn April 17, 2016 at 7:12 am

shared on Facebook–


Steve Weber April 17, 2016 at 6:30 pm

I love camping!
this makes me super excited for camping!

groogruxking40 @ gmail dot com


Steve Weber April 17, 2016 at 6:30 pm
Evie B. April 18, 2016 at 9:11 am
Evie B. April 18, 2016 at 9:13 am

I would love to win! We go tot Kohl’s all the time.


Elle April 18, 2016 at 1:11 pm
Elle April 18, 2016 at 1:12 pm

Camping is a great activity to do with the family.


Kelly D April 18, 2016 at 3:21 pm
Tabathia B April 18, 2016 at 6:35 pm


tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com


Tabathia B April 18, 2016 at 6:35 pm

We have never been camping but that is on our family bucket list to do.


Jackie Purkess April 19, 2016 at 6:11 am

Looking forward to hearing about the trips!!!


Julie Wood April 19, 2016 at 8:06 am

What a lot of fun going camping. Such cute pictures! Shared on Twitter


Diane Bassette April 19, 2016 at 8:29 am
Ashley Shippy April 19, 2016 at 8:31 am

So awesome! I remember taking our little one camping and it was a disaster! =( He screamed the whole night – I was mortified. Thanks for the giveaway! Love Juniper’s name 🙂
Ashley Shippy recently posted..prAna [Sustainable] Clothing Review + GIVEAWAY!


Ashley Shippy April 19, 2016 at 8:33 am
Elena April 19, 2016 at 9:45 am

I would love to go camping


Elena April 19, 2016 at 9:45 am
Natalie April 19, 2016 at 2:48 pm

Camping is a great activity for families. It is great exercise and you get to spend quality bonding time with your family.


Natalie April 19, 2016 at 2:49 pm
Cheryl B April 19, 2016 at 3:44 pm
Cheryl B April 19, 2016 at 3:45 pm

We enjoy camping with family and friends. It helps create family fun memories and a great way to relax.


Gretchen April 20, 2016 at 11:26 pm

Hi Kim!

Happy camping! Juniper is absolutely precious… and growing up way too fast already! I look forward to your camping reports, and I hope the weather cooperates with your plans! Thank you again for blogging… your entries truly brighten my days here in Oregon!


Paige April 25, 2016 at 10:43 am

Hi Kim. Just want to pass on that sleeping on an air mattress is VERY cold. I put a blanket under the sheet.
Have fun!


Kim May 12, 2016 at 8:12 am

Great tip! I’ll do that!!


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