Backpacking With Children
- Start small: If your children are new to backpacking, begin with short, easy hikes and gradually increase the distance and difficulty as they get older and more comfortable.
- Pack appropriately: Make sure each child has their own backpack that fits properly and is packed with essentials such as water, snacks, and clothing. A hungry child is an unhappy child and they can easily ruin the mood if they’re not properly fed. Keep enough snacks to keep them entertained along the way. Food is comfort, and you’ll be able to buy a few moments of silence if you keep some of your kids’ favorite snacks in your back pocket. But try to keep it healthy and not too sugary if you don’t want to have a severe case of the jitters on your hands. Go for things like nuts, dried fruit, or cereal bars, kids absolutely love them and they will keep them full and happy.
- Plan ahead: Research the trail you plan to hike and be aware of any potential hazards, such as steep cliffs or river crossings.
- Set expectations: Make sure your children understand the importance of hiking at a steady pace and following the rules of the trail. But remember that you’re back packing with children so you’ll have to lower your expectations. Try to find a way to get as close to your camping grounds as possible if you’re going camping. Try to go for flatter terrain if you’re back packing with children and go for trails with plenty of amenities along the way.
- Plan accordingly: You should avoid hikes longer than 3 to 4 miles since you’ll be carrying an extra load. And it’s not just the children, but the extra food, supplies, and equipment.
- Involve them in the planning process: Let your children help plan the trip and make decisions about what to pack, what to eat, and what activities to do along the way.
- Keep it fun: Don’t forget to stop and play along the way. Have a picnic, skip stones in a stream, or play games.
- Teach safety: Make sure your children understand the basics of hiking safety, such as staying on the trail and being mindful of wildlife.
Speaking of equipment, make sure you get your hands on a good child-carrying backpack. A good backpack should have sun and rain protection, be able to stand on its own to facilitate loading and unloading, and have sufficient space for supplies. It should also be adjustable in case you want to switch with your partner.
If your kids are old enough, you can give them some leeway and let them walk along the way with you. It will save you energy and keep your children entertained. Kids like to move, allowing them to roam will keep them happy and they’ll be less susceptible to acting up later on down the road.
Always remember, Backpacking with kids can be a wonderful bonding experience between you, your family, and nature. Don’t start out on the wrong foot, be sure to take the proper precautions, invest in the proper equipment, and make sure that you keep your kids happy along the way. This way you’ll have a wonderful trip with your family.
For more information on backpacking check out these excellent hiking, backpacking and camping resources.