Best Baby Gear for the Outdoors

Kristina

Kristina

Jun 17, 2022

Raising a child to love the outdoors starts at a very young age, a baby. I love nothing more than when I am outside enjoying life with my baby.  There are several outdoor baby gear that I use that enable me to take my baby outside with me, especially when I have two toddlers running around with me as well.  

baby outside gear

Baby gear for outside is great for when you want to enjoy time in your backyard, hiking, walking, on the beach, camping with a baby or anytime you find yourself outside. Below is my best baby gear for outside selection and what I personally used with my 3 babies.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase. Rest assured all products I suggest are products I have bought or would buy based on personal experience or through my network of other mommas.

Summary of Best Outdoor Baby Gear

ProductCategoryFeatures
Baby Jogging Stroller Best For Running With Baby Best For Trail Walks
Smooth Ride Storage Compartment Wheel Lock Compression Seat Infinite Recline

Can Babies Wear Sunscreen?

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation a baby is more sensitive to the sun in the first months of life.  This is because their bodies have less melanin compared to an older child.  It is the melanin that helps prevent sun damage. Until a baby is 6 months old you should not use sun screen; the best protection against the sun is clothing and shade.

This doesn’t mean you cannot go outside with your baby, but it does require you to plan. Get some ideas of what to do with your baby outside with my Best Activities to do Outdoors with Baby.

Best Baby Gear to Shade your Baby Outside

Baby Sunhat:

Babies often don’t have a lot of hair to protect their scalp from the sun. The best product to keep your baby’s head from the sun is a hat.

There are many different hats to consider depending on your baby's age and the temperature outside. 

In the summer months when the sun exposure is greatest a wide brim hat is ideal. The wide brim will help shade a baby’s face as well as keep the sun off of their scalp. A 3 inch brim is recommended.

Some summer sun hats will come with adjustable features and or straps to help keep the hat on your baby. The older your baby is the more likely he/she will pull off the hat. A younger baby might not require the straps while I highly recommend it for an older baby (+6 months).

Best Sun Hat for Baby Girl

Jan & Jul original Grow with me Adjustable Hat.

This adjustable hat not only looks adorable, but comes will all the features you will want to shade your baby's scalp and face and stay on their head.

Oudoor baby gear girls sun hat
My 3 week old in Jan& Jul sunhat

Features of Jan & Jul Grow with me Adjustable Hat

  • Wide Brim
  • Adjustability
  • Chin Strap with Clip
  • UPF 50+
  • Lightweight and packs easily
  • Multiple designs to choose from

Best Summer Sun Hat for Baby Boy

Jan & Jul Gro-With-Me-Aqua-Dry-Sun- Hats for Boys

The Aqua Dry Sun hat is a dynamic hat that can be used everywhere. The hat is lightweight and breathable and will have no issues getting wet for a day at the beach.

Feature of Jan & Jul Gro-With-Me-Aqua-Dry-Sun- Hats for Boys

  • Wide Brim
  • Adjustability
  • Drawstring closure around chin
  • UPF 50 material
  • Water Repellent
  • Light weight and packs easily
  • Multiple designs to chose from

Best Summer Sun Hat Gender Neutral

SimpliKids Sun Hat

This hat is great for either a boy or girl. SimpliKids Sun Hat has all the features needed to protect baby and can be passed down to other siblings, regardless of gender.

baby outdoor gear sunhat for boy
My 1 year-old wearing Jan & Jul hat

Features of SimpliKids Sun Hat

  • Toggle Chin Closure
  • UPF 50+
  • Lightweight breathable material
  • Wide Brim
  • Multiple designs to choose from

Baby Shade Tent:

When you cannot keep your baby in the shade a small tent is a perfect solution to keep your little one out of the sun. 

Baby outdoor gear sunshade tent
My 4 week old baby sleeping at the lake beach

Whether you are at the beach, in your backyard or at a park on a sunny day, a tent will provide the best shade for your baby. Also it is a great location for your baby to nap if you are planning on being outside for long periods of time.

I use the Multifun kids tent and love it. It comes with a carrying case and pops up in seconds. It is lightweight and easily can be taken in a suitcase on your trips. I have taken it to Florida and used it on the beach with two of my kids.

Features of Multifun Kids Tent

  • 360 Ventilation
  • UPF 50+
  • Set up in seconds
  • Comes with carrying case
  • Lightweight
  • Water resistant and windproof

Outdoor Baby Gear To Go A Hike Or Walk:

If you love to go hiking or on long walks you are in luck. Babies love to be carried and there are many benefits of babywearing.

Babies who are worn cry less. Ones that are carried for more than 3 hours a day cry 43% less during the day and 51% less at night at 6 weeks. 6 weeks is known as the peak fussiness with newborns.WebMd

Also babywearing encourages breastfeeding by keeping the baby close. A study by WebMD found that babies who are worn are twice as likely to be breastfed at 5 months than babies who were not.   

For me, babywearing is the best way to be able to multitask, especially for us mommas with more than one kid. With my newest baby I still have to chase around my 2 and 3.5 year old and without baby wearing that wouldn’t be possible.

The first thing you will need is a way to carry your little one. After a carrier there are a couple other gear that will come in handy as well. 

There are multiple options to babywear and I will take you through the differences.

A Wearable Baby Wrap

Main Benefit of a wearable wrap: Great for transitioning wearing your baby from outside to inside

Main Hurdle of a wearable wrap: Learning to wrap quickly and effectively

I go on walks in my neighborhood once to twice a day. It started when I got a dog and never stopped. I take my children along with me and, depending on their age, use different gear to ensure it happens.

For a shorter walk I commonly will use the Moby wrap to carry my babies. The Moby wrap is an unstructured wrap. The great thing about the unstructured wraps is they are less cumbersome and bulky than other carriers. It is a large piece of fabric that you wrap around your body to secure your baby on you.

Once I get back home if I want to transition back inside I can keep my baby in the Moby wrap and get stuff done. I can also comfortable sit down wearing this wrap with no issues. My babies spend a lot of time inside and outside in the Moby wrap.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/agxGWwbATyc

Demonstration on how to put on the Moby wrap

The key to success with wearable wraps is correctly putting them on. If you wrap too tightly your baby may not be comfortable, if you wrap too loosely your baby might not be secure. It is worth the time watching a video to ensure you are wearing the wrap as intended. 

A soft structured carrier

Main Benefit of soft structured carrier: Better support and easier to put baby in and out of

Main Hurdle of soft structured carrier: Not comfortable to sit down in due to bulky waist strap

For longer walks or hikes with a baby a soft structured carrier is best. A soft structured carrier provides better support to the user and will be more comfortable to wear for longer periods of time. 

best soft structure carrier: LIllebaby carrier
Me carrying my 4 month old with soft structure carrier (Lillebaby)

Me carrying my 4 month old with soft structure carrier (Lillebaby)

Soft structured carriers are easier to put on than a wrap. They have more features such as adjustability, padded straps, lumbar support, pockets, and multiple carrying positions.

However, I don’t like to wear them indoors because they are a bit more bulky and I am unable to sit comfortably with one on. If, after a walk you want to transition indoors and still wear your baby an unstructured  wrap is best.

I use the Lillebaby complete as my preferred soft structured carrier. The Lillebaby can be used for a newborn all the way up to a toddler age. Not all carriers are suitable for a newborn without buying additional gear.  

https://www.youtube.com/embed/9pKhB3iYC9g

To wear a newborn with the LIllebaby your baby will be inward facing in the infant set-up. It comes with a built-in sunshade, which is a game changer for me since you can't put sunscreen on a young baby.

Once your baby has gained head control you have the option for your baby to face outward. 

To see more options you can read Best Soft Structured Carriers. A soft structured carrier is an essential for hiking with a baby aged (0-6months old).

Framed carrier

Main Benefit of framed carrier: More storage capacity and air circulation for baby and carrier

Main Hurdle of framed carrier: Not suitable to use until baby can sit up on their own

Once your baby is around 6 months old, or slightly older, a framed hiking backpack is vital for hiking. These framed hiking backpack carriers will be more comfortable for both you and your baby to hike over a soft structured carriers.

Kelty Signature PerfectFit hiking backpack
My hiking backpack with my 10 month old son

Framed hiking backpack carriers allow your baby to sit in their own space, not pressed up against your body, providing better air circulation. Other benefits of framed carriers can be sunshades, adjustability, hydration packs, and comfort.

Framed hiking backpacks provide better storage capacity for your hike and better weight distribution. When hiking with a soft structured carrier you or whomever you are hiking with will need to wear another backpack if you want to bring supplies.

My kids started riding in the Kelty Journey PerfectFit Signature backpack when they turned 6 months old and never complained. I have taken them to many national parks in these carriers and hiked up and down mountains. They have allowed me to continue to do what I love, hiking, as babies or toddlers.

For other options or see why Kelty is my choice of carrier read Best Back Carrier for Toddlers.

On The Go Baby Changing Items

Whenever you leave the house with a baby make sure you have the outdoor baby gear to change your baby, you never know when he/she will have a blowout. If you are like me it is always at the most inconvenient places. 

Ensure you have everything you need to clean up your baby so it does not ruin your walk or hike. 

Baby Gear you need for changes on the go

This can be placed directly in a famed hiking backpack or a small bag if hiking/walking with a wrap or soft structured carrier. 

General Outdoor Baby Gear for Anywhere

Stadium Blanket

Stadium blankets are perfect regardless of where you are. One side is waterproof letting you lay it down anywhere and it makes for easier clean up. The other side is designed for warmth which is ideal for the baby to lay on, either on back or belly, with supervision.

outdoor baby gear stadium blanket

A stadium blanket can be placed down in a tent or directly on the ground no matter where you are. I bring mine on hikes, if my pack has enough space and use in my backyard. 

A fun activity you can do once your baby is sitting up and eating finger foods is to have a picnic outside on the stadium blanket.

Safe Spot for Baby Outside:

Before a baby can sit up on their own it is important to have safe spots to place your baby down. It can be nice to get a break from baby wearing and to also relax outdoors. 

Snuggle Me: Awake Babies

With supervision you can put a Snuggle Me down outside and put your baby in it. Again, if it is a sunny day it might be best to put the lounger in the tent before placing the baby down.

These items can be used inside as well to give them dual purpose. I didn’t have a lounger for my first baby and found it revolutionary when I got one for my second. Now, I’m on my third baby and it is a very used baby gear item.

Baby loungers should not be used for sleep, and you should always supervise your baby when he/she is placed in one.

Travel Bassinet: Sleeping Babies

If you are looking for a safe spot for you baby to sleep outside a lightweight portable baby bed will be the safest option. Best outdoor portable beds will come with shade protection allowing you to not to worry. Just make sure you are following safe baby sleep practices.

For a newborn the Hiccapop Mini Dome is a great option.

Blanket:

Babies love to feel cozy. When lounging around outside, placing a blanket over the baby helps make them feel secure and warm. I always have one on hand and I changed the thickness based on outdoor temperatures.

On hot days I use a muslin blanket. These blankets are lightweight and large, making them perfect to wrap babies in on warm days. Another use of the muslin blanket is for a breastfeeding cover if your little one gets hungry. 

Below 65 degrees I normally go with a heavier warmer blanket, but still bring a muslin blanket as a breastfeeding cover in case my baby wants to feed and I am around other people. 

Best Outdoor Summer Baby Gear

Baby Water Carrier

Headed to the beach or pool? Want a way to wear your baby while partaking in the water activity. A baby water carrier is a great option. While wearing an infant water carrier you free up your hands to help your older children or just enjoy yourself!

best infant water carrier
Carrying my 2 month old baby in my water baby carrier

My favorite baby water carrier is the Beachfront Baby Sling. The sling is lightweight, easy to put on and passes all the safety standards. I can wear my baby while still being able to help my toddlers learn to swim.

Baby Pool

baby pool for summertime
My 10 month old loving splashing in the water

When your baby is able to sit up on their own you might want to get a baby pool. A baby pool filled a couple of inches with water is a great way to cool off a baby in the summer time. Just make sure the pool has a shade or is placed in the shade.

Baby Gear for Running Outside

Jogging Stroller

If you are a runner a jogging stroller is essential for keeping that lifestyle. Different jogging strollers have different recommendations for when it is safe to run with a baby.

double bob revolution stroller baby outdoor gear
Me running with my double Bob Revolution stroller

A bob revolution stroller is a great running stroller. It can be used on blacktop surfaces and handle a more rigid surface as well. The back drops are low accommodating a baby around the age of 8 weeks old.

The bob revolution stroller comes in a double, which I use when taking two of my kids out for a run or walk. These strollers make great strollers not only for running but as an everyday stroller. 

What is the difference between a jogging stroller and normal stroller?

Running strollers are more expensive than regular strollers. A jogging stroller comes with 3 larger wheels rather than 4 smaller wheels which allow for more maneuverability and speed. They have suspension to allow for a smoother ride for babies and ease of use for runners. Other features can include fixing a wheel, adjustable handlebars, safety tether, and hand brakes. 

Jogging strollers are larger strollers, designed to be more stable, so you still may need a smaller stroller for travel. 

Hope this helps get your baby and you outside!