Taking Kids Backpacking
Taking your child backpacking is one of the most precious moments you can spend with your child. Being outdoors, and away from electronic distraction is priceless and it ensures bonding with your child. Backpacking is healthy and it will leave a lasting memory for your child.
However, planning to take your child backpacking requires careful planning, to make sure your child enjoys backpacking.
- Careful Planning. It’s important to pick the right trail for the first backpacking trial. Make sure it’s easy, and the trail should be no more than 2-3 miles at most. You want to introduce backpacking to your child slowly. Otherwise, they will not want to go out again. When you pick the right trail, ask the local ranger station regarding any fire restrictions, special hazard warnings, or wildlife warnings.
- Pack Light. Get a kid size backpack for your child, and pack light. Personally, in my first backpacking trip with my son, I only had him pack a few light garments, snacks, a lightweight toy, and an ultra-light sleeping bag. For kids backpack, we carry Osprey which is a premium, comfortable backpack for kids.
- Cook Simple Food. Bring a lot of your child’s favorite snacks, and pack simple meals. My child is picky eater, so dehydrated food wouldn’t work, but I found making simple pasta that my son loves the night before, and re heating it on the trial worked like a charm. If you are only going away for a one overnight trip, you can freeze and take hot dogs and cook over fire at camp. You can also take cold cuts, sandwiches, and depending on your child’s taste, simple meals he or she is accustomed to at him or her. Avoid complicated meals, or meals that require a lot of ingredients. You can also try freeze dried gourmet meals from Mountain House, and we carry a wide array of Mountain House Gourmet Meals, and desserts at a discount. All you need to do is add boiling water.
- Ensure Your Child is Not Bored. Taking a small toy will help avoid your child from boredom. Also, having a personal item that he is close to is comforting.
- Be Patient. Have reasonable expectation on your first backpacking trip. Your child may get tired quickly, or complaint or get bored. These are common experiences, and just be patient, and make it as fun as you can for your child.
- Rehearse At Home. It doesn’t hurt to pitch a tent at home and involve your child in setting up the tent. Engaging your child is important, and it makes them feel important.
- Bring a Friend If You Can. Bringing a friend to your child’s first backpacking trip is fun for your child, ad it will take some pressure off of you in entertaining your child.
- On the trail it’s best to walk behind your child so you can keep an eye. If there is more than one adult, then your child should be in the middle.
- Take breaks regularly. Your child will need breaks regularly, because they are not use to hiking long distances with backpacks in a rough terrain. There is nothing wrong with taking breaks, and you want to make sure they are well hydrated.
- I always attach a whistle to my child while backpacking, because it can come in handy. Do not rely on cell reception when backpacking, and if you can get your hands on a satellite communication device, take it with you.
- Dress your child in layers and avoid cotton. Pack light, easy to dry garment, and make sure you have extra socks for your child.