Take Your Kids Backpacking With You

By on October 5, 2015

Backpacking with kids is a great way to introduce them to the great outdoors and a fun way to get some exercise. This will also allow them to learn to appreciate the wonders of nature and will allow you to get to know your kids better in a different setting. Backpacking with kids require planning (where you can also get the kids involved), plus it is also good to have practice hiking trips (natural setting close to home) and tent pitching in your backyard. Here are some tips to get you ready with a backpacking trip with your kids.

In the Backcountry

  • First time out? Choose a campsite destination not more than a mile or 2 from a trailhead. If for some reason you need to bail out, you won’t have too many steps to retrace.
  • Take a kid’s perspective: Say your child spots an interesting insect along the trail. To you, it’s just another beetle—you’re thinking about the 2 more miles you need to hike to the lake. To your child, it’s a really cool beetle—he’s wondering why Mom or Dad is so worked up about getting to some lake. What to do? If your goal is to have your child associate backpacking with fun, at times it’s good to adopt your child’s priorities.

Backpacking with Kids

  • Adjust your expectations: We’ve heard tales of families attempting difficult, off-trail backpacking expeditions. These can be tedious and exhausting for kids. If the trip is unpleasant, you run the risk of giving kids a negative impression of the outdoors, an attitude that can take a long time to reverse.
  • Share the load: Give kids a kid-size pack and let them carry a few lightweight items. Snacks, water, a sleeping bag perhaps, or their rain gear. Adults, meanwhile, should play Sherpa for younger kids so the journey doesn’t exhaust or discourage them.
  • Self-sufficiency: Kids like to feel a degree of self-sufficiency. So, for example, give each child his or her own water bottle (or hydration system) so they can choose the time they want to drink.
  • On the trail: If you have 2 or more adults in your party, it’s usually smart to have one in the lead and one in the rear, with kids in the middle.
  • Share chores: Enlist your child to take part in camp chores. Try asking your child to be in charge of keeping things neat and clean. Kids seem to grasp the concept of caring for nature more intuitively than adults, so this is usually one assignment that’s a perfect fit for kids.
  • Be safe: Make sure your kids always carry a whistle (teach them to blow it if they become separated from you) and have easy access to a flashlight or headlamp. For the younger ones, attach a lanyard to both the whistle and light and tie them to one of the child’s belt loops.

Backpacking with your kids has its own rewards. Staying fit and healthy, fostering family camaraderie, developing self sufficiency, confidence and independence and making memories that your kids will never forget. So, how about it? Try a backpacking trip with your kids and discover with them a wonderful new adventure. Don’t forget to tell us about it! Happy camping!

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Image source: Flickr
Featured Image: Flickr

One Comment

  1. Shasha

    July 17, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    I have a washing quteison. I’ve just gone through one cycle using cloth pads (I got LunaPads in order to use unbleached, undyed cotton). I washed them each day by hand in the bathroom sink after some soaking because I didn’t want to have a container full of pads in my small bathroom, and it’s not like we run the washing machine every week. But after they dried, the fabric wasn’t so smooth anymore. It’s fuzzing up a bit where it wraps around my skivvies, and that’s to be expected, but the surface that had done the absorbing is not so soft anymore and has fuzzies. Will it not do that if I just wash them in the washing machine? Or should I just stop freaking out and see what happens after 4 months?I’m so excited that I made the switch (though I’ll be staying in someone else’s apartment next month, and don’t know how the washing situation will be, so I’ve got to use up my disposables). Even my husband thinks it’s cool, since I gave him a daily update.By the way, since this discussion is all about our privates anyways: try using a garlic clove for a yeast infection rather than the creams. Just peel it so it’s smooth, pop it in, and get it out the next morning. It takes care of the infection and doesn’t smell.

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