A portable baby bed isn’t something you absolutely need to go camping. However, a baby bed does make some aspects of camping with a baby easier. Here are some of the best baby beds for camping, as picked by outdoor parents.
- Best Overall: Joovy Coo Portable Bassinet-to-Playpen – It can be used as a playpen or a bassinet, so you can use it from infancy into toddlerhood.
- Best for Infants: Brica Folding Travel Bassinet – A small, simple sleeper box that has a built-in mosquito net.
- Best for Crawling/Walking Babies: Baby Delight Go with Me Nod Deluxe Portable Crib – The shape means it fits inside tents better than most other playpens. It’s also lighter, easy to fold, and has a zippable door opening
Not sure what else to bring? See my camping with a baby checklist here.
Best Baby Camping Beds
Here are the top picks for portable baby camping cribs, bassinets, and playpens which can double as camping cribs.
1. Joovy Coo Portable Bassinet-to-Playpen
This portable baby bed has a very cool design which makes it versatile enough for camping and other travel. You can put the mattress up top to use it as a bassinet. In this position, your baby will be elevated off the ground and you’ll also have storage underneath.
Unzip the mattress and lower it down to turn it into a playpen. The legs unlock so you can rock it too – just be careful that the legs don’t rip your tent floor. There is a side zipper so you can get your baby in/out from below, though it is a very tiny opening. You might be able to breastfeed your baby while she is still in the bed, but you’d have to wriggle very close.
Open, the bed is 41 inches long, so it will fit infants and older babies. The bed also only weighs 17lbs and folds down very compact, so it’s practical to take traveling.
- Size: 41x 25×28 inches (LxWxH)
- Weight: 17lbs
- Age: 0 to 35 inches tall
2. Brica Folding Travel Bassinet
This travel bassinet (which is actually more like a co-sleeper box) is very popular because it opens/closes easily, is lightweight, and is compact. It also has a built-in mosquito net so your baby can nap outdoors in it while camping.
Just note that this travel bassinet is meant for infants. It’s only 29.5 inches long when unfolded, so your baby will probably outgrow it by 5 or 6 months old. The mattress is about 1 inch thick, so you’ll need to put a sleeping pad underneath the bassinet if it is really cold weather.
- Size: 29x21x12.5 inches (LxWxH)
- Weight: 6lbs
- Age: Until 3 months or 15lbs
3. Baby Delight Go with Me Nod Deluxe Portable Crib
Baby Delight makes a lot of cool baby gear for outdoor use (like their baby camping chair). I particularly love this travel crib for camping because it actually works well in a tent and outdoors. The materials are water-resistant and the removable mattress is waterproof.
Unlike other portable playpens (which tend to be square), this playpen is rectangular. It is long enough to comfortably fit older toddlers but narrow so it doesn’t take up too much space in the tent.
Another awesome feature is that it has a large zippable side wall. I find this very useful for getting a sleeping baby into the bed without waking her. It’s also possible to breastfeed a baby inside the playpen while lying down next to it. Just note that the mattress is really thin so you’ll need to put your baby on a sleeping pad too. And don’t forget to put something underneath the tent legs or they will rip a hole in the tent floor!
- Size: 44x23x26” (LxWxH)
- Weight: 17lbs
- Age: 0-3 years (50lbs)
4. Lotus Travel Crib
Here’s another great portable playpen that works well enough as a baby camping bed. Like the Baby Delight crib, it also has a zippered side entry so you can spare your back. The zippered door is a bit bigger on this one so you could even breastfeed your child in lying position if you positioned the crib next to you in the tent.
I really like how lightweight (only 13lbs) and easy to set up the Lotus travel crib is. Despite being so lightweight, it’s very sturdy: it can withstand a toddler shaking and kicking at it.
It’s also more compact and has a backpack-style carrying case. The reason it didn’t get listed higher up is because it is slightly pricy. However, if you use a travel crib regularly, then it’s worth the price.
- Size: 42x32x25 inches (LxWxH)
- Weight: 13lbs
- Age: 0-3 years
5. Dream On Me Lotus Rocking Bassinet
The main feature which makes this bassinet good for camping is that it has four separate legs, so it is actually stable on uneven ground. Most other baby bassinets only have two legs. I also love that it comes with a built-in mosquito net and has a rocking feature. It’s also much sturdier than similar bassinets.
The bassinet is not cheap, so I probably wouldn’t buy it just for camping. However, it would also make a great bassinet for everyday use too. One side can be folded down so you can put it next to your bed.
- Size: 37x23x26 inches (LxWXH)
- Weight: 17lbs
- Age: Babies up to 25lbs
6. Baby Delight Snuggle Nest
Here is a co-sleeper with some nice features that make it good for camping. It is very lightweight and folds down to 14.4″ x 15″ x 8.5″. The mattress has a waterproof cover, so you can just change the sheet on top if an accident happens. The sides are actually rigid (you won’t roll over on your baby!) and have venting to keep your baby cool. You can also use this for changing diapers too.
- Size: 33x14x8 inches (LxWXH)
- Weight: 2.8lbs
- Age: Babies up to approximately 9 months
7. Graco Pack n’ Play
Even though the Graco Pack n’ Play is very popular and many parents recommend it, I personally don’t like it for camping. It’s way too large to fit in most tents. The walls are very high, so it’s hard to get your baby in/out without your head hitting the tent ceiling.
However, one big plus is that the entire bed area is elevated off the ground. You can set it up outside even if it’s muddy without getting the bottom really dirty (setting if up without getting it muddy is another issue though!).
You’ll also need to have a very large tent to fit the Pack n’ Play inside. Be careful when moving it around the tent so you don’t damage the tent floor. I still included it on this list of baby camping beds though because it’s so popular and affordable.
- Size: 40x28x29 inches (LxWxH)
- Weight: 23lbs
- Age: 0-2 years
8. Flisko 2-in-1 Travel Crib and Bassinet
The Flisko is another playpen-style travel crib. It’s slightly smaller than most portable playpens/cribs, so it might fit in your tent better. I love the side-zip entrance and the material which are easy to clean.
What makes this travel crib stand out from the others above is that it has a bassinet. The bassinet clips to the top of the crib as a separate piece. If you don’t bring the bassinet part, the crib is even more lightweight (the total weight is 13lbs).
Because it is so lightweight, the Flisko isn’t as sturdy as the Pack n’ Play, Baby Delight, or Lotus travel cribs. If lightweight is what you want though, then it’s worth sacrificing some sturdiness – so long as you don’t have a baby who likes to jump on the railings!
- Size: 21x35x23 inches (LxWxH)
- Weight: 13lbs
- Age: 0-3 years
Why Bring a Baby Camping Bed?
Before you buy a portable baby bed for camping, think about why you want it.
You may want the baby bed so you:
- Don’t worry about squishing your baby while co-sleeping in the tent.
- Keep your baby from wriggling all over the tent (and kicking you in the face!).
- Have somewhere safe to put your baby while you do camp chores.
- Keep mosquitoes off your baby.
- Keep your baby safe from spiders, snakes, scorpions, choking hazards, etc.
Once you know why you want the baby bed, you will better be able to choose the right one.
For example, if my main concern was keeping my baby on the sleeping pad at night, I’d get a co-sleeper box. But, if I want my crawling baby to nap outside, I would choose a playpen with a built-in mosquito net.
Types of Baby Camping Beds
You’ve got three main options for a camping bed for your baby: co-sleepers, portable bassinets, and portable cribs/playpens. If you don’t mind bringing a lot of stuff while camping, you might even want to bring two of these options (like a bassinet for inside the tent and a playpen for the campsite).
Option 1: Co-Sleeper Boxes
Get this if: Your major concern is rolling over on your baby.
A co-sleeper box is the most basic baby camping bed you can get. They are designed to prevent you from rolling over on your baby while co-sleeping, but have the added benefit of keeping your wriggly baby in place (which is great for babies that like to wriggle off their sleeping pads while camping).
- Usually cheap
- Keeps baby from wriggling off sleeping pad
- Prevents you from squishing your baby
- Easy to fit in all types of tents
- Small and lightweight
- Doesn’t elevate baby off the ground
- No mosquito protection
- Crawling/walking children can easily get out
Option 2: Portable Bassinets
Get this if: You want to keep your baby off the ground and have a mosquito net
There are lots of portable bassinets which can be used as baby camping beds. They are definitely bulkier and heavier than a co-sleeper box, but have the benefit of more features. The bassinet will also keep your baby off the ground, which is useful if you want your baby to sleep outside but don’t want to worry about other campers tripping over her. Because bassinets are tall, you’ll want a cabin tent (with vertical walls).
- Elevate baby off the ground
- Some have mosquito nets
- Not suitable for older babies or toddlers
- Don’t fit well in small tents
- Have to lift baby in/out of it for nighttime feedings
- Some are expensive
Option 3: Portable Cribs and Play Pens
Get this if: You have a crawling baby and want to use it outdoors during the day too
Once you child starts walking (but is still too young to understand the concept of danger!), these are great for camping. The larger ones double as play pens. You’ll be able to put your child down without worrying that she’ll run off or start eating a bunch of mud (though that would probably boost immunity!). If you have a smaller tent, then many portable play pens won’t fit inside.
- Good for older children too
- Crawling/walking babies can’t get out
- Baby can play in it while you do camp tasks
- Easy to put a mosquito net over
- Often come with changing stations
- Take up a lot of space
- Have to lift child in/out for nighttime feedings
- Difficult to get sleeping baby in without waking her
- Legs might damage the tent floor (see how it is propped on blocks in the image above)
Choosing a Portable Baby Bed for Camping
Will the Bed Fit in the Tent?
Unless you have a very large tent, many portable baby beds aren’t going to fit inside. Even if they do fit, remember that you will probably be sleeping on the ground. If your baby wakes up at night, then you’ve got to get completely out of your sleeping bag, stand up, and bend over (bumping your head on the tent roof) to get your baby.
For this reason, I personally prefer bassinets and co-sleeper boxes for inside the tent. However, portable playpens are really great to have if your baby naps outside or you need to keep her safe while you do tasks.
Consider the Bed’s Legs
Don’t overlook the legs on the portable baby bed. If there are legs, there should be four of them (not two); this provides more stability. Also look for wide feet as these will be more stable on uneven, bumpy ground.
Keep in mind that the feet can damage your tent floor. You’ll want to put something underneath the feet, like a bit of foam pad.
How Easy Is It To Clean?
Assuming that you will be using the baby camping bed outside too, you’ll need to make sure it is easy to clean. Look for materials which can be quickly wiped down. The mattress should have a waterproof cover. Or, just leave their mattress at home and put a sleeping pad inside the bed instead.
Important: Sleeping Pads and Camping Cribs
Many portable cribs and bassinets don’t have mattresses underneath them, or the mattresses are really crappy. It is really important that you provide insulation for child from underneath.
Otherwise, the ground will literally suck the heat right out of your child. I talk about this in my post about how to sleep in a tent with a baby.
Do you go camping with your baby? What bed setup do you use? Let us know in the comments!
Image credits: “
Striking Camping Trip #1” (CC BY 2.0) by Graham and Sheila
“babies camping” (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by alaska meads
Travel Mad Mum
SylviaMay 1, 2022 at 9:54 am
Super handy summary! Thanks a lot!