5 Tips For Hiking With Kids
“They’re too young. . . It costs too much. . . We have no time!” These excuses are holding you back from adventuring with your family. We’ve been there too, but we now have at least three good reasons why you should dust off your hiking shoes:
- Families that exercise together stay together.
- Financially speaking, hiking is the cheapest sport out there. There are plenty of trails that don’t require special equipment.
- Lessons of endurance and quiet, natural healing can benefit every family member.
Now, before you think that your kids are going to cheer you on in this endeavor, think again! Here are some responses we’ve had around the Hall household:
Tips to prepare for any trail with any kid in any season:
1. Call in the troops! Bring kid helpers with you, and I don’t mean Grandma! I’m talking about baby carriers. In Nepal, we call them porters. In America, they’re uncles or “real” friends. You need people to help with the kids to make the best of the experience, especially if you’re outnumbered!
2. Pack light but efficient. Women, lets talk: I know you think that you need rolls of toilet paper, a hairbrush, and extra sunblock for the two-hour hike, but really, you don’t. What you need is water (and plenty of it). Keeping your pack as light as possible frees up hands and keeps complaints down. Kids don’t need much to enjoy the trail.
3. Pick the trail well. Are you just now breaking your kids into hiking? It’s best to have a trail that has pit stops every couple of miles. In Nepal, there were tea spots so the kids could have a quick refreshment, bathroom break, and water refill. Many trails in U.S. National Parks offer shorter trails that loop back to water refill stations. These are wise choices for beginners with kids.
4. Consider a guide. Having a guide that knows the trail and the wildlife can increase your learning and happiness exponentially!
But, commentary aside, no one really says “I wish I didn’t go hiking with my kids!” Unless . . .well, you lose one. Anyways, like that’s going to happen!
Back to the tips! After scaling the Annapurna’s with eight small children, hiking the South Rim of Grand Canyon with three babies, and trekking more national parks than I can count, I will now call myself an expert (and tired). The final tip comes from these moments:
5. Be flexible! Especially in groups. Some hikers may be ready to take on an extra day, while others may be done after a quick hike. Be willing to change your plans so everyone enjoys the experience. Nature should be healing and challenging. There are moments to push and moments to back off. Choose your time wisely for each.
With these tips in mind, take on your first challenge.
Don’t forget to check out the latest apps to assist you on your next journey: Best Hiking Apps by Atlas and Boots Bloggers
Comment here and tell us your favorite kid-friendly trails, and share some of your good and bad moments on the trail with kids!