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8/14/2020 7:53 am  #1

Tips on sleeping in a tent with a 1 yr old?

I convinced my wife to take our 14mo for a paddle in as we'd like to do some camping together this year and are not overly fond of car camping.  We did some canoeing with him last week at a cottage, so feeling confident with a 1 hour paddle to a site but she's a bit nervous about him sleeping in a tent. 

I have a 3 man tent which should be enough space for us and the dog.  The main concern is what is he sleeping in/on?  We've got spare sleeping pads but she's worried about him rolling and potentially suffocating on one of our bags in the night.  Also looking for recommendations for an infant/toddler sleeping bag.

Anyone have some good tips for sleeping setups that don't require me bringing anything overly big?



8/14/2020 8:31 am  #2

Re: Tips on sleeping in a tent with a 1 yr old?

When our son was about that age. maybe a little older, we did an over-nighter with the family at a local park.  He was ok in his sleeping bag (I no longer remember what it was, but I think some kiddie thing) with a little kiddie pillow and a favorite stuffed animal.  He was (and remains at age 15) brutal to share a bed with because he punches and kicks all night long.  I feel sorry for his future wife.  The primary thing is to protect yourself at all times.  

It occurs to me that what you could do is use a sleeping bag unzipped, as sort of a combo mattress pad and sheet.  That's loose enough to address your wife's concerns and flexible enough for temperature.  August is funny because sometimes it is super hot overnight and sometimes quite chilly, so in addition, you could bring a little fleece blanket to lay over him.  Bring a little toque in case it is cold.

It also occurs to me that your son will be soooooo happy to have the opportunity to sleep with the dog and  your dog sooooo happy to sleep with your son and have it be ok!


8/14/2020 8:47 am  #3

Re: Tips on sleeping in a tent with a 1 yr old?

Thanks Dave, this will be the first week of September up on Kiosk.  I've experienced both 90 degree days and snow on the same dates haha.  

I found a few infant-toddler bags that should do the trick if it gets too cold.  I think the main thing would be to move our bags out of his path while we are not in the tent so there is no chance of him getting tangled up in them.

     Thread Starter

8/14/2020 8:52 am  #4

Re: Tips on sleeping in a tent with a 1 yr old?

Trying to remember back a few years.  Certainly want to be careful if sharing a space with a pile of sleeping bags etc.  I think for babies we used a removable bassinet that came with our stroller and set it on a thermarest.  Once older we lugged a smaller graco pack and play with us.  Yeah pretty heavy but assuming you're doing one portage shouldn't be bad and was worth the peace of mind as we already had used it plenty at friends places.  


8/14/2020 1:58 pm  #5

Re: Tips on sleeping in a tent with a 1 yr old?

Have 3 boys, now 8-13, but we started going in the backcountry with them when they were all a few weeks old. 

We used a tent, and the Phil/Ted's travel crib. At 7lbs, it was totally doable (you're double-carrying the portages anyways). The nice thing about a crib is that it allows you to leave them in the tent while they nap, you can actually relax a little. It also blocks some light, so they sleep a bit better.

The other thing that was nice is a portable booster seat. Otherwise, you will get pretty messy,

Camping with a 1-year-old is pretty sweet and chill. I think the most challenging age is 2-3, cause they're mobile but still have no sense. Still awesome though.


Last edited by Marko_Mrko (8/14/2020 1:59 pm)


8/14/2020 3:53 pm  #6

Re: Tips on sleeping in a tent with a 1 yr old?

Marko - that photo of you and the whole fam in the canoe is one of the best Algonquin photos I've ever seen.  30 or 40 years from now your kids will still be showing that image to people.


8/14/2020 8:27 pm  #7

Re: Tips on sleeping in a tent with a 1 yr old?

Thanks so much Dave - the kids love it, and the tripping gets better every year. I feel pretty lucky to be honest.



8/15/2020 7:55 am  #8

Re: Tips on sleeping in a tent with a 1 yr old?

Thanks guys, super helpful info here.

Marko great photos, reminds me of my brothers and I growing up, loaded into a canoe with my poor dad paddling us all across Rock lake (mom wasn’t a fan of the back country).

I think for this one (and my wife’s anxiety) we’re just paddling to a site on Kiosk and day tripping from there, so no portaging any major gear. Technically I could travel heavy with a pack n play or something if it makes the most sense for sleeping.

Thinking of brining the travel crib for wife and kid to sleep in the 3 man, and my solo tent for me and the doggo.

     Thread Starter

8/15/2020 11:38 pm  #9

Re: Tips on sleeping in a tent with a 1 yr old?

The trend these days is to not have infants sleeping with loose blankets or bedding, lest they suffocate (i.e. SIDS).  Previously we went in mid-September and the typical sleep sacks that we used at home and possibly a toque was sufficient for warmth. If worse came to worse then the kid would have been snuggled tight with her mother. We thought that a tiny pop-up tent (~$30 from Walmart) that we could put inside the tent would help to contain the kid from rolling around where we didn’t want her but she didn’t like it. Who knows, that might work for you.

Maybe the new kid will like the pop-up tent that his sister didn’t, but I’m not holding my breath because he’s a mama’s boy that likes to be held. Wife says it won’t be enjoyable to go into the back county until he has sufficient neck control so I’m hoping that happens before it gets too cold in early October. I think it’s best to bring the kids out ASAP.


8/16/2020 10:17 am  #10

Re: Tips on sleeping in a tent with a 1 yr old?
Great pics Marko, we used those booster seats all the time camping and travelling, I had forgotten about them.  Amazing how one picture can resurface a pile of memories.  


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