Even when our kids were small, my husband and I continued camping and hiking, carrying them in specially designed backpacks along on our outdoor adventures. Once they were big enough to hike, we came up with a list of must-have items to make family adventures more enjoyable. Here are some things to help make your next family adventure a walk in the park:
We typically don’t invest in high-priced hiking boots from the outdoor store, since our kids tend to outgrow them within a few short months. We find sturdy boots at our local big box store that stand up to a season or two of muddy trails, keeping tootsies dry while providing good traction. If you find something promising in the boys department, remember to subtract a size and a half from your daughters usual shoe size; make sure they try on boots with hiking socks to gauge a proper fit.
We usually carry a backpack with us, to allow for hands-free hiking. Worn by my husband or me, one pack holds all the essentials for our family of four. Inside, there’s room for extra clothing, car keys and a cell phone for emergencies or for impromptu photos along the trail.
It’s been said that an army marches on its stomach, and we’ve found this to be true for our kids, as well. We carry a lot of snacks, letting our kids help choose their favorites, to make sure everyone is happy with the selection. In addition, we keep a stash of suckers or hard candy to ward off bouts of crabbiness due to low blood sugar.
A general rule of thumb is to bring one, 8-ounce bottle per person. If we’re taking a short hike, we may bring a bottle or two with us, leaving the rest in a cooler in the car for a refreshing drink afterward. Our dog has her own bottle, too, since water isn’t always available on the trail.
Lastly, we bring along a small pouch or zipper bag with bandages and antibiotic ointment. Adhesive bandages help with blisters, cuts or scrapes earned along the trail. We also bring along bug spray for wooded hikes, and sun block for coastal jaunts.
Armed with these essentials, you’ll be ready for your next family adventure. With proper planning, you and your kids will be happy campers. So, grab that backpack, get outside, and take a hike!