Many people love to hike every once in a while. If you are one of those people, you would probably pack your backpack, select the right equipment, and head out. Easy! But if you’re someone who has kids, it is never that simple. What if there were ways for your kids to join you on your hiking adventure?
If your kids are old enough to walk properly and do some mild physical activities, having them accompany you for easy hiking experiences can be fun. Not only will it keep them active, but it’s also a great way to teach your kids to enjoy and appreciate nature. Plus, it can be a unique outdoor learning experience for them.
However, in order to make any hiking trip with your kids successful, you will need proper planning, preparation, and specific gear.
In this blog, we have enumerated 8 essential tips for hiking with kids that you must remember while planning a hiking trip. Whether you want to go hiking with your kids to a distant location or somewhere close to your residence, these tips will help make your hiking trip successful.
When hiking with kids, choose a trail you’re familiar with. Remember, not all trails are the same; some trails may be too strenuous for younger kids, while other trails may not be enough to keep them entertained.
Make sure to research a day before the trip to find a trail that’s not too exhausting and has enough rocks, logs, bridges, and spots to rest and explore. All these factors will keep them entertained, allow them to play around, and hold their interest.
Hiking with kids can be as challenging as it is exciting. Kids tend to take their own sweet time exploring everything that they encounter. They also tend to bring you bizarre and intellectual questions from their curiosity cabinet. These are things for which you must ensure that there is enough time. Rushing them to move faster without letting them soak in their surroundings due to time constraints will only ruin their experience.
Hiking means fresh air, scenic views, plenty of physical activity, and being in tune with nature. But it also means bugs, mosquitoes, sun tan, and loads of energy consumption. Therefore, you and your kids need all the essential supplies required along the way. These usually include:
Since hiking includes a lot of walking, running, and climbing along the way, it is important to keep your kids hydrated and energized. Make sure you pack a separate bag for snacks, energy drinks, and an adequate amount of water for your kids.
Some great energy-packed snacks for hiking with kids include granola bars, dry fruits, bread with a choice of spread, fruits, and candies. You could also set milestones for your kids to cross and reward them with treats. This will keep them motivated and energized throughout the hike.
One of the essential tips for hiking with kids is ensuring they’re appropriately dressed. If the weather is warm and kids want to remove their jackets while walking, they can do so. However, if the weather gets chilly while moving up the trail, they will have enough layers on them to keep them from catching a cold.
Ensure you and your kids wear hiking clothes made of quick-drying materials that absorb sweat. These are perfect for kids who constantly work up a sweat. Moreover, these dry-fits can help your kids stay comfortable, reducing the chances of irritability. You can easily get dry-fit hiking clothes for kids at Adventure HQ.
If you think adding gear to your hiking essentials list is not needed, trust us, it’s the opposite! It doesn't have to be heavy equipment your kids cannot manage. For instance, hats, whistles, binoculars, compasses, etc are examples of gear that come under hiking essentials. If you choose an easier, flat trail, you can ask your kids to ride the way up on their bicycles.
Also, consider carrying trekking poles. In case you don’t have any, lightweight wooden logs will fulfill the purpose. These are helpful while walking and keep you from losing balance on steep climbs.
The key to making your hiking trip successful is ensuring it is fun! So why not add some games? You could plan some specially tailored imaginative games, a scavenger hunt, or simply a game where you ask your kids to keep up with the number of signs, animals, or birds they spot along the way.
Let your kids explore the wildlife and see what they discover. For all you know, it could be bird nests, a new wildflower species, or all things wet, muddy, and bumpy. But it sure will keep them engaged while allowing them to have fun!
Choose a trail that ends at an activity spot or someplace that can be a new experience for your kids. It’s best not to let them know what awaits at the end of it. This will build curiosity and keep them active and motivated to find out. Some of these locations or activities could be:
So, now you have a fair idea of how to plan and what to prepare for when hiking with kids. From water bottles to snacks and essential gear, you must have it all. Once all that is in place, you and your kids are set to embark on an adventurous hike!