To go hiking in a National Park with your kids is one of those experiences everyone should have. It is an educational, challenging, and fun adventure for every member of the family. My husband and I have done it with our sons a few times and are planning on doing it again and again.
However, this is also a great responsibility. Having kids with you who don’t always assess the danger or don’t know certain things can be risky, especially if you go to a place with no touristic infrastructure other than the ranger’s station. So extra precautions must be taken.
7 Tips for Hiking with Kids
There are a lot of benefits to be gotten from taking your kids on a hiking experience. It is a much healthier and far more productive pastime than allowing them to play on their game consoles all day, for a start. What’s more, it will allow them to get out there and see more of the natural world, which could end up inspiring them to be more at one with nature during their adulthood.
Embarking on a hiking trip with the kids is not always straightforward, however, and you will have to put some work in if you want this venture to be a successful one. To find out exactly what needs to be done in this instance, check out the guide below.
1. Invest in quality gear and teach them how to use it
If you want to take your kid’s hiking, chances are that you have some experience at it. So by now, you probably know the brands that tend to work best for you. This means that you can go and purchase some equipment for your kids knowing that it is likely to work well for them too.
Once you have everything home, teach them how to use them. Tell them about breaking in their boots, show them how to properly use a whistle, tell them about the items that need to be treated delicately and practice with them how to set up tents and create fire.
2. Allow them to carry as much of their stuff as you think they can take
This is a pretty basic one. It will allow them to feel useful and sometimes even powerful, knowing that they can carry their own stuff (even if it is just part of it) on their own. This is another golden chance to teach them how to pack everything tightly, how to adjust their backpacks, so they don’t get hurt.
Recommended Read: Hiking Spruce Peak in Stowe, Vermont
3. Know the trail
Since this is your first experience as a family, it is best if you do it on a trail that you already are familiar with. Or do some reading on the best hiking trails. This will allow you to be less stressed and focused more on having fun. It is also a way to avoid situations like getting lost and not being able to properly calculate water.
Even if you know the trail, having a navigation tool with you is always a good idea, just in case.
4. Put together a good bug out bag
This one is essential even if you are hiking on your own or with a group of adults but still. You must create a good one, with extra supplies, and take into consideration that your kids might need something special.
If you don’t know how to make one, check this bug out bags guide.
5. Choose a child-friendly trail
Nothing will put your kids off of hiking more than them being unable to get to grips with the trail that you take them on. If the walk is too long, too inclined, or too strenuous, all they are going to want is for the hike to be over and they may never wish to hike again. It is important, then, that you choose a child-friendly trail, this being one that is suitable for the age range and skill level of your kids. Even if this means tackling a trail that is too easy for you, it’ll all be worth it when you instill a love for hiking into your children.
To find a hike that is suitable for your kids, make sure to head to a trip marketplace like www.escapewithpro.com. Here, you will always be able to find an up-to-date list of the very latest hiking expeditions — it’s up to you to keep tabs of this site to ensure that you can book your family’s place on the perfect hike.
6. Take the time of day into consideration
Heading out on a hike with your kids at the wrong time of the day will spell disaster. Therefore, you must be strategic when it comes to when you embark on your walking adventures, as that will make all the difference in your bid to get your kids enthused about hiking.
In this instance, you should:
- Not be outside while the sun is at its very hottest.
- Not miss out on set meal times (or make sure that you bring a packed lunch with you if you do.)
- Not hike during nap time (a cranky kid does not make for a good hiker.)
7. Make sure your kids are dressed for success
Similarly, a child who has not dressed appropriately for long-distance walking will also not make for a good hiker. It’s essential, then, that you take care when it comes to dressing your kids on the morning of your hike.
All-terrain shoes are a must in this instance (if you want your kids to avoid the plight of blisters), as are items of clothing that protect against the extremities of weather, such as waterproof coats, hats, and sunglasses.
If you want your kids to love hiking in the future, you have to take the above advice and ensure that their first walking experience is a successful one.
These are the top 4 things that my husband and I did to be more relaxed and safe. Do you have any other to share?