Minimalist Baby Travel Essentials

Exploring the Outdoors with Baby: Essential Minimalist Gear for Travel and Hiking Trips

Exploring the Outdoors with A Baby: Essential Minimalist Gear for Travel and Hiking Trips

As someone who values sustainability and dual-purpose functionality, I always prefer to purchase simple and practical items. When my husband and I had our baby, we made a conscious effort to stick to a budget and invest only in necessary items. These essentials have been tried and tested by us personally, and I wanted to share our experience with others. We were fortunate enough to have our loved ones gift us most of the items from our baby registry and also receive pre-loved clothes from friends and family, which warmed our hearts. Now that I have prepared myself for Pregnancy, it's time to focus on my baby's needs and essentials. Let's go!

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Travel Tips
  • For flights, Skyscanner is excellent for comparing the best airline deals.
  • For accommodations, our family trusts for reasonable prices.

Here's our Sustainable and Practical Guide to Baby Travel Essentials

We've compiled a list of our minimalist baby essentials, items that were gifted to us, and what we purchased before the baby's arrival that we still use to this day for our travel and hiking adventures.

Infant Car Seat: Road Trip Safety

Travel with Ease Using Chicco Baby Gears 

When our baby was in the newborn phase, we took many road trips, and our top priority was his safety. After researching various car seats, we chose Chicco due to its credibility and functional features. We appreciated its ease of installation and durability, which made it the perfect choice for our long drives. Investing in a Chicco car seat was our best decision to ensure our baby's safety.

One of the best features of Chicco car seats is that they are FAA-approved for use on airplanes. This means that all Chicco infant and convertible car seats are certified for usage on aircraft.

Big Bear Lake with an Infant
Our 5-month-old baby comfortably embarks on a long road trip in his Chicco Infant Car Seat.

1. Baby Transport: Car Seat and Stroller

Infant Car Seat 

Baby Stroller
  • Chicco Cortina Cx Stroller: We received a free infant car seat with a stroller from FB marketplace. Before using it, we had it professionally cleaned. However, if given the chance to do it again, I would purchase our infant car seat with a stroller as it saves us all the hassle. The difference in cost is minimal, only around $50 more, but it saves you time and energy. Although the model we received was old and bulky, it was incredibly sturdy and durable, allowing us to use it on all kinds of terrain, including rocky roads and even in snow. Moreover, the storage space underneath was massive, accommodating a large diaper bag, jackets, and two big water bottles. This was a lifesaver for us new parents who tend to bring a lot of stuff during the first few months, ahahaa.
  • For travel convenience and when they're more than 6 months old check out GB Stroller, it's lightweight, easy and you can carry it inside the plane. For budget-conscious check out  Mompush.

Bonus tip: Car seat cover/nursing cover
  • Car Seat Canopy & Nursing Cover: I used this cover for the infant car seat and to protect my little one from the sun, wind and dust. Aside from that, it's also a seat cover for grocery carts and for breastfeeding sessions in public. Sometimes I even use it for impromptu diaper changes when traveling. 

What to do in Sequoia National Park in March
Save money on unnecessary baby gear by bringing your own Graco Pack n' Play on your travels. Our family brought our own crib to our hiking trip in Sequoia National Park and our baby was able to sleep comfortably.

The Pack n' Play was the perfect choice for our baby's sleeping arrangements. Not only does it come with a diaper changing area and a flat mattress for newborns, but it can also convert into a toddler bed, making it versatile and practical. We have used it both at home and while traveling, so it serves a dual purpose.

3. Clothing: Sleepers and Onesies

Newborn Stage: Less is More
We want efficient and safe clothes for the baby. In his newborn stage, we wanted all of his clothes to be easy to wear and as first-time parents, we made sure everything looked simpler during a diaper change. We ordered newborn zippered sleepers that already came with mittens and footsies, they cover his hands and feet for comfort and the zipper makes it easy to change his diapers at night. However, as much as I like the quality and softness of these zippered sleepers they did not work with our baby as all babies are different. We’ll use it for our second baby.

I also wanted to take care of his little head and these kimono-style onesies were perfect. However,  the kimono onesies did not work for our baby. More stuff for our second baby then, ahahaa.

From the moment we came home he wore his 0-3 month-sized onesies. These are the clothes that we loved. It turns out we're big fans of plain old-looking onesies.

Clothes for 0 - 6 Months:

4. Diapers: Cloth Diapers, Diaper Mat, and Diaper rash balm

  • Earth Mama Diaper Balm - I'm proud to say my baby did not have any diaper rash, as I try to prevent it by applying this diaper balm especially if I see any redness on his skin during a diaper change. It's organic too! 

5. Bathing: Bathtub, Washcloth, and Potty training

  • Fisher-Price Whale of a Tub BathtubAt first we didn't want to buy a baby tub for bathing, but this one became more useful for us, easy to store, and easy to wash afterwards. The tub also grows with the baby till the toddler years. We were able to use it till 2 years old. This one stays at home, please.
  • Baby Muslin Washcloth 10 pcs.  - I used this for bathing my baby as it's gentle on his skin, and also as a burp cloth.
  • OXO Tot 2-in-1 Go Potty - This made potty training easy as we can use it in our bathroom and outdoors too. I started potty training around 18 months old, my baby would go around the corner or near the bathroom to poop, so by 23 months I knew he was ready. It took him 2-3 days to figure out what was going on and before he turned 2 years old he was potty trained.

If you're getting one of those Free welcome kits from the baby registry sites, you will get lots of free samples like pacifiers, breast pads, and baby bottles. I used the samples first to check what my baby wanted, and then later on we bought the one he liked.

Baby Carrier Convertible for Newborns and Older Babies 8-32 lbs
Pullover Baby Bibs - The perfect bib for hiking as it stays in place and also serves as a neck warmer, ahahaa. This is during our hike in Sequoia National Park, also check out my Favorite Hiking Boots.

6. Feeding: Burp cloths, Bibs, Feeding set, and Teething

  • Baby Pacifier Clip/Blanket Leash "Tropical Palm Leaves Trees Pineapples" - My baby didn't really like using a pacifier but during our first international trip we made him use one as it helps with the ear pressure. I used this leash to hold his pacifier in place and it even holds his toys too. (Check out: Travel Tips When Flying with a Baby)
  • Never Drop from Hand Baby Teething - A very useful teething toy especially since our baby loves to throw things all the time. This really comes in handy when you're traveling and you're baby is teething.
  • Silicone Baby Feeding Set - A perfect feeding starter pack for babies, includes a waterproof bib, suction bowl, and a spoon. We started using this when he was 6 months old.
  • Pullover Baby Bibs - These do not have any velcro on them and they stay on during feeding and are great for drool protection. Best bib on the market! I have many of these as you can never have enough bibs with a growing baby, as it's always in demand. My Most Favorite Baby Travel Essential! If you want something cheaper and works the same way try this one: Pullover Baby Bibs - All white

7. Breastfeeding: Breast Pump, Breast Pads, Baby Bottles, and Nipple Cream

  • Bottle Brush Cleaner and Tray - This is not a must-have if you're exclusively breastfeeding, but it comes in handy when you want to separate the baby items from your utensils when you're ready to use the breast pump for bottle feeding.

Bonus tip: You can get Breast Pumps for free with your Insurance. Also, you can get free breast pads, baby bottles and baby product samples if you register a  Baby registry with Walmart, Target and Buybuy Baby.

8. Sleeping Hacks: Muslin Swaddle, White Noise Machine, Humidifier, and Nasal Aspirator

  • Bamboo Cotton Muslin Swaddle 3 pcs.  - I tried so hard to use this on my baby as it's the softest cloth I've ever touched. However, he didn't like it at all so we ended up using it as a diaper change mat, burp cloth, and even as a breastfeeding cover.

Optional items but not really needed, it always depends on your baby:
  • FridaBaby NoseFrida Snotsucker 24 filters - This nasal aspirator will get rid of the mucus when the baby is having a cold. Also, those small suction bulbs also come in hand like the ones they use in the hospital, sometimes even more reliable than nosefrida. Some days I just use his onesie, mould a sharp tip and insert it on his nose, it works for me!

Best time to visit bear bear lake

Got a baby and need a hand? Or two? My husband says the best way to raise a child is hands-free. We were thrilled to introduce our baby to the world of hiking in California at a young age. When our little one was just five months old, we took him on his very first hike in Big Bear, using our reliable baby carrier. We were so pleased with the experience that we went on another hike during the winter season in Sequoia National Park. This time, he was old enough to appreciate the natural beauty that surrounded us.

9. Carriers: Baby Carrier and Diaper Bag

These items are my favorite baby travel essentials for traveling, hiking and road travel:
  • Ubon Lightweight Backpack 20 - I'm not your ordinary momma I prefer to buy things with a dual purpose. Our hiking bag came in handy as a hospital bag and diaper bag. Keep in mind you can always use any kind of backpack or shoulder bag.  
  • Infantino Flip 4-in-1 Carrier - My husband and I loved this carrier for long walks as it provides good back support, especially on our hikes and grocery shopping. 

Baby Car Mirror, View Infant in Rear-Facing Seat
Baby Rear-Facing Video CameraPeek-a-boo!  Mommy and Daddy see you!  Don't want to break your neck looking back on baby?  We thought we'd be fine until our friend bought it for us.  And then our necks said, "Thank you."

10. Gear: Play Mat, Bouncer, and Toys

Toys we bring on the plane:
  • Bath Books – Set of 4 Black and White Waterproof Books - Newborns love black and white pictures so this came very handy during tummy time, later on, we used it for bath time as it's waterproof, and when he started to see more colors this book was even more entertaining to my baby. We sometimes bring just two books with us on our plane travels as it's light and small.
  • Sea Animal Fabric Cloth Book - This second book features sea animals I wanted my baby to be acquainted with loving the ocean as he grows up and the scratchy sounds on each page made him giggle.
  • Colorful Stacking cups - Our baby loved this toy! We brought this to most of our travels, road trips and even at the beach.

Playtime at Home:
  • Large Waterproof Foam Play Mat - You can always purchase a Yoga mat instead and place a blanket on it for tummy time - viola, dual-purpose! We still have this foam play mat and it has been very durable for more than 2 years now.
  • Infantino Activity Gym & Play Mat, Tropical - This is great for babies' tummy time. Another option if you want a dual-purpose mat is you can always to purchase a yoga mat and then place a thick blanket on top of it. I loved the Yoga mat option as it's non-slippery and thick enough for my yoga routine and my baby's tummy time.
  • Fisher-Price Fawn Meadows Deluxe Bouncer - I can't live without this bouncer! My husband's cousin gifted us a baby bouncer and it really helped us out when we needed to do something or wanted to get to the bathroom. Just make sure you don't use it as a crib replacement and I always check on my baby every few minutes. 
  • Baby Floatie with Sun Canopy - If you're looking for a way to keep your baby safe from the sun's harmful rays when swimming in the pool. Consider checking out this baby floatie. After being in this floaty, our baby started to splash around the pool and moved his legs even more.

11. Things I thought I didn't need

  • Electric Nail Trimmer - Lifesaver! Save your sweat from cutting those precious nails. We got this trimmer and it works wonders, my husband and I usually sneaked in trimming our son's nails while his breastfeeding.
  • Baby Logbook - As a new parent, I was unaware of the significance of monitoring my baby's feeding, diaper changes, and sleeping patterns. However, since I started using a baby logbook, it has been an essential tool for me during my journey.  Here's another option: a travel-size baby logbook.
  • Baby-safe sunblock - I've never been picky about my sunblock but then I found out babies are very sensitive to sunbock. We have to make sure all our products are free from chemicals like Oxybenzone, Avobenzone, Octisalate, Octocrylene, Homosalate, Octinoxate, Parabens and Fragrance. We discovered Reef Repair which is mineral-based and contains "non-nano particles so it's Coral Reef Compliant. 
  • Check out our Amazon Storefront to see our latest baby gear recommendations. 

More Baby Tips: Free Products

Free Welcome Kit with baby products, coupons, breastfeeding pump, and baby formula milk samples
By creating a baby registry with different sites you'll be able to accumulate free baby items and breastfeeding samples.

How to get Free Baby Kit Samples with no shipping fee?

Buybuy Baby
  • Go to the website and create a baby registry. Buybuy Baby also does not ship out welcome kits to your address. All you need to do is walk into any Buybuy Baby store and tell them you registered for the baby registry and you're there to claim your free welcome kit.

  • Go to the Walmart website and create a baby registry. Type in your details, due date, and shipping address. They will automatically send you a free welcome kit in around 4-6 weeks.

  • Go to the target website or through your target app and create a baby registry. There will be a portion on the baby registry page that mentions the free welcome kit, click on that one and it will show you a barcode (screenshot that code so you won't have to go back to that page again). My husband and I drove to Target but they ran out of the welcome kit. It turns out that they have a new policy with the welcome kit now. You have to get it online, in order to get rid of the shipping fee, you'll have to purchase any kind of stuff that reaches the amount of 35 USD. So we bought our toiletries and then added the welcome kit to our cart.

How to get Free Breastfeeding products?

The Medela Moms' Room
  • Sign up with "The Medela Moms' Room" and put in your details and due date. It will prompt you if you want to receive some free samples and you will then provide your shipping address.

How to get Free Breast Pumps? (depends on your insurance coverage)

  • It will be on the same website where you sign up with "The Medela Moms' Room" for your free breastfeeding products. Click on the website's Moms' Room Concierge Team and fill out your insurance information. This is one way of knowing if your insurance covers your breast pump, or you can always call your insurance company to make sure about the cost and all other inquiries.
  • As for me, I simply filled out the form from the website and received my free electric breast pump the following day by mail.

How to Get Free Baby Formula Samples?

  • Go to the Enfamil website and sign up with your details, and they'll send you free Free Enfamil baby formula samples. Enfamil is also giving out cash rebates, make sure to keep your receipt as I was able to get 10 USD for our Enfamil purchase.

  • Go to the Similac website, register, and expect to get Free Similac baby formula samples in the mail for free too.

Budget tip for Baby items

  • For those moms who are on a tight budget here's one tip for you, try hand-downs from families and friends or shop for secondhand baby gear. My husband and I were able to get free stuff for our baby from people we know and even purchased a car seat mirror for only 5 USD on the Facebook marketplace.

Where to get Free baby items or second-hand gear?

Facebook Marketplace
  • If you're on a tight budget and don't mind using second-hand items like cribs and all kinds of baby gear, check out Facebook Marketplace. There are tons of free items to choose from and some baby gear is also sold at half the price instead of buying a new one that your baby is only going to use for a few months (you can even bargain if you want). 
  • Take note: Baby car seats have an expiry date, check with the seller before buying used seats. Check the model number at the bottom of the seat where you'll find the expiry date details.

Diaper Assistance for Cloth Diapers
  • or
  • For "theclothoption", the applications are reviewed no earlier than 45 days from your due date or expected placement. The diapers will be sent to your address within 30 days of the due date.

Explore our Amazon Storefront for more ideas on must-have travel items for babies. Plan memorable family trips without overspending.

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