So you’re feeling brave…
… and want to take the little one camping!
You’re definitely in for an awesome time. But camping with a baby or young toddler definitely has its challenges.
Here’s a big one: How do you keep an eye on them when they’re sleeping in the pack and play or travel crib and you’re awake, having fun?
If you’re just planning on quietly sipping cocoa (or wine) outside the tent or trailer, you probably won’t need a baby monitor. Just keep your ears open.
But if you want a little more freedom to wander from the tent, visit others’ camp sites, or just want a little extra reassurance that the baby is OK, you might want an actual baby monitor you can bring with you.
(Alternatively, you could get an awesome portable battery pack and plug in your normal baby monitor from home.)
Without any further ado, here are my picks for the best baby monitors for camping, plus my favorite battery pack for camping with a baby:
- Best budget baby monitor: DBPOWER Digital Audio Baby Monitor (Amazon)
- Best mid-range baby monitor: TimeFlys Audio Baby Monitor Mustang (Amazon)
- Best power bank battery pack: Omars AC Power Bank with USB Ports (Amazon)
Best Budget Baby Monitor for Camping: DBPOWER Digital Audio Baby Monitor
Overview: This audio-only baby monitor from DBPOWER is a great option for camping, especially if you’re not looking to spend a lot of money on something you’ll only use a few times.
The parent unit runs on a rechargeable battery, which makes sense, while the nursery unit is designed to be plugged in during use. However, the baby unit also has a slot for 3 AAA batteries and can run for some time on those alone.
Performance will be better when the nursery unit is plugged in, but in a pinch, this monitor will do great at helping you keep an ear on baby.
Range: 1,000 feet
Battery Life: Several hours
Why I Like It: This is just a good, simple, and inexpensive baby monitor that’s perfect for a camping trip with your baby or toddler. It doesn’t have all the frills of your home monitor (like video, night vision, etc.), but it has some impressive features of its own. The biggest selling point is that both the parent and baby unit on this monitor can run for several hours on rechargable AAA batteries.
The range here is solid. This isn’t designed to be some ultra-high powered unit, but 1,000 feet of range should be plenty for a camping trip uninterrupted by too many other signals.
This monitor also features two way talk, which is a great feature to have for toddlers, and temperature monitoring. So you can keep an eye out if the temperature in the tent is getting too hot or cold.
The unit also features an alert if the power source starts to face on the nursery unit. So if you lose connection or power, you’ll know and can head back to the tent.
Potential Drawbacks: The biggest downside appears to be the noise lights on the baby unit. Some parents report that when the monitor detects a noise, the nursery unit actually lights up… which can be very distracting for baby! They might even turn it into a little game and have trouble getting to sleep. Not ideal for every day use, but should do in a pinch while camping.
Others complained that the monitor had trouble picking up low or quiet noises and wasn’t as sensitive as they’d like.
Best Mid-Range Baby Monitor for Camping: TimeFlys Audio Baby Monitor
Overview: For just a small step up in price, you get some pretty cool features in this battery-operated baby monitor from TimeFlys.
For starters, the units themselves are absolutely adorable and your kids are guaranteed to love them. (Always a plus when your kids get excited about something like this!)
Next, you’ll get upgraded battery life… most users report that the rechargable batteries in the parent AND baby units can last up to 10 hours at time. Impressive! Finally, a really nice small feature here is the hangers on both units, which allows you to hook the units up high for better reception and ease of use.
That’s a GREAT feature to have for camping in a tent with a baby.
Range: 1,000 feet
Battery Life: 8-10 hours
Why I Like It: There aren’t too many baby monitors out there where both the parent and child units are operated by batteries, but this is one of the best on the market. For camping or living our of a trailer or other housing without power, you’ll be hard pressed to beat this option from TimeFlys.
In addition to awesome battery life (8-10 hours or so), rechargable batteries, and two-way talk design, there are plenty of other features I love about this set.
The baby unit actually turns into a night light that you can turn on and off from the parent unit. That’s awesome for every day use or if your toddler wakes up in the tent and gets a little scared of hte dark.
Second, this monitor can play lullabies! That’s totally useful if you’re outside the tent making noise cooking, drinking, or doing other adult stuff.
Third, I love that the parent unit on this monitor vibrates when it detects noise. As we all know, it’s not always easy to hear the subtle sounds of a baby stirring through a monitor, but the vibration function makes sure you won’t miss it.
Potential Drawbacks: The temperature function isn’t always spot on, with some users reporting it might be off from anywhere between 4 and 10 degrees. You should have a pretty good idea, though, if it’s too hot or cold… since you’ll be outside, too!
The price on this monitor is also a little bit higher. If you camp frequently with your baby or toddler, it’s a great deal. But if you’ll only use it once or twice, the price might be too high.
Best Power Bank / Battery Pack for Camping: Omars AC Power Bank with two USB Ports (24000mAh)
Overview: If you’re not sure how often you’re actually going to go camping, and don’t want to invest in a monitor (or if you don’t really like the options above), you should definitely look into bringing a simple, powerful, and durable power bank with you.
That way, you can plug in your regular baby monitor from home and use it while you’re camping. Plus, you’ll be able to use it for lots of other things like keeping your other phones and devices charged up.
This battery pack from Omars can fit a standard two-prong plug or up to 2 USB connections, making it a device you’ll get plenty of use out of even after baby outgrows the monitor.
Battery Life: 24000mAh… or, enough to charge an iPhone X 9 times.
Why I Like It: This is just a great device you should get a lot of use out of if you love camping.
When it comes to baby monitors, they all have slightly different power sources. They might run on a mini USB connnection or simply plug straight into the wall via a 2 or 3 prong plug. This power bank should be able to handle any kind of baby monitor (though you might need a small, inexpensive adapter for a 3 prong plug… check one out on Amazon right here.)
Bringing along this bad boy and your regular at-home baby monitor is probably the simplest solution for camping with an infant.
This power bank should take around 4 hours to fully charge, and you’ll get tons of power out of that one charge. Load it up before you leave the house and you should be able to power the baby monitor for a few hours per night for several nights.
Potential Drawbacks: Not many. This is the most expensive option on this list, but also the most versatile (you can use it for tons of stuff beyond just powering a baby monitor).
Another possible downside is that it takes several hours to charge, so if you forget to charge it up while you’re packing the car up before you hit the road, you might be screwed. You won’t be able to charge it in the car.
BONUS: Free option using your cell phone
One cool trick I picked up while doing this research involved using two cell phones:
Simply have your partner or spouse call your phone from theirs. Once on the call, place one phone on speaker and leave it in the tent.
Bring the other phone with you around the campsite, and be sure to place it on mute so you don’t wake the baby.
It’s a simple, low quality option that you won’t want to do all night (and you’ll need good cell service), but it’ll work in a pinch and it’s free.
Use it if it helps!
Alternatively, you could grab a set of simple battery-operated walkie talkies and leave one in the tent or trailer (with the talk button depressed / taped down), and carry the other one with you.
Camping with a baby is a big undertaking. But there are some pretty simple solutions to the baby monitor problem if baby needs an early bedtime and you want to keep an ear on them!
For my money, I would probably just get a great power bank like the Omars and bring my usual monitor from home. I think you’ll just get way more use out of a portable battery pack than a battery powered, audio-only baby monitor. But the monitors on this list are great if you go camping a lot and want something specific!
Hope this helps, parents!