Last night as Jay and I sat outside, he with a beer and me with a glass of wine, I told him I had found a new hike we could do with the boys. He said, “I already beat you to it!” so we now have two new hikes to try. We have gone hiking with just Colby before, but have always gone back to the same two spots. I am looking forward to exploring these two new areas.
In preparation for our adventures, I decided to look up some tips on hiking with children:
- When hiking with kids it is hard to take everything you need while still taking as little as possible. You really have to find a balance between carrying all the stuff your child needs and making sure your backpack is not too heavy.
- Pick a location that is easy to get to (to avoid hearing “Are we there yet?”) and somewhere that is not too far in just in case you need to make a quick exit.
- When hiking with kids be prepared to go more slowly than you are used to. Not just because they have little legs, but they also like to check out every little thing along the way. It is kind of a neat experience to be able to see nature through their eyes.
- Bring a plastic bag because if your child is anything like my four-year old they will want to bring home whatever “treasures” they find – rocks, feathers, leaves, etc.
- Try to be patient and flexible. Do not have too many expectations about how your trip will go.
- Be prepared so be sure to bring sunscreen, bug spray, hand sanitizer, drinking water, and snacks.
- Babies tend to be colder than you are because they are riding rather than hiking. Make sure you bundle them up appropriately. Or if it is really hot and you have them in a carrier, make sure they do not get overheated between the high temperatures and your body heat.
- We have a carrier for Sawyer now and a backpack we will use once he gets a little older.
- Bring scented plastic bags for diapers if you use disposables and carry them out with you. Most hikes do not have trash cans for you to put them in.
- Kids are going to get dirty. Do not waste your time trying to keep them clean. Plan on bathing them and putting on some clean clothes as soon as you get home. There have been times this summer when Colby’s knees have been completely black and I have had to scrub and scrub them just to get them clean again.
- Be prepared to carry kids when they get tired. Make sure you do not make your pack too heavy to carry at the same time as your child or have one of you carry everything. Colby is old enough to carry his own pack now, but we do not usually let him put very much in it.
- Give the children safety items in their pack – a whistle, water, snack, and an extra layer. Let them know the rules like no running and you must always stay in sight of me.
- Some fun options are to bring some fishing poles with you, skipping stones, or puddle jumping.
- The hikes we have gone on are pretty easy so Colby has always worn sneakers. We have not been able to justify the expense of buying him boots when his feet are still growing so quickly.
- It is a good idea to bring some first aid supplies. Sawyer is teething right now so we will definitely bring infant Tylenol and teething tablets.
- Hook up with some other families and hike together. The kids will most likely have more fun when they have some friends along.
- Let them think they are the navigator. Colby loves to bring his compas and read the map for us.
Please let me know if you have any tips on hiking with children that I should add to my list.