Camping and hiking go together in our home. Hiking with kids can be an adventure that is fun for the whole family. A few easy steps ensures that each of our hikes is a positive memorable experience.
Choose a hike that fits your family
I know that the first step to successfully hiking with kids requires picking a hike that is high interest. No matter if the hike is labeled easy, moderate, or strenuous our kids are up to the challenge if their interest is high. Our girls enjoy hikes that include waterfalls, canyons, river beds, boulders, or other natural beauty. If they are see the hike as just a walk without a purpose, they do not have the motivation to complete the hike.
Research the hike
I use the app All Trails to see what the current conditions of the trails looks like. All Trails is an app where past hikers rate the hike, give tips on what to expect on the trail, and sometimes specify what type of gear would be helpful on the hike. We just completed the Fern Canyon Hike in Redwoods National Park and because of All Trails I knew to bring water shoes to navigate the riverbed. It was very helpful as water shoes were necessary. Many hikers commented on how we came prepared and they wished they had. A few minutes of reading reviews can make hiking with kids a much better experience.
Pack the right equipment
When we are camping everything has its place since space is so limited. This is true about our hiking with kids bags too. To ensure that we have all the necessary hiking gear, we keep our 2 CamelBak backpacks and 3 fanny packs full and ready to go.
Each adult carries a backpack that holds 2.5 liters of water. We pack the following in each backpack:
- Bear spray
- Granola & protein bars
- A sweet snack
- Pocket knife
- Bug spray
The kids each have to carry a fanny pack. Each one is packed with:
- Hand wipes
- Gum or Cough Drops
It is important when hiking with kids that each family member contributes to the success of the hike. We all work together, carry weight, and share in encouraging one another on to the goal. It is so great to see the kids help one another and work as a team.
Acknowledge Hard Things
We do not pick easy hikes. We choose interesting hikes that are memorable. When hiking with kids gets hard we agree that it is difficult. We have a family mantra that we do hard things. As our 9 year old was walking up North America’s tallest waterfall, Yosemite Falls, she kept saying it was so hard. It absolutely was hard, even I was struggling and out of breath. Acknowledging that it is hard, but we do hard things as a family validates her feelings and keeps her moving forward. We never push for speed, we hike to enjoy creation and the beauty of our world.
Know Your Limits
We made it to the top of Yosemite Falls and were ready to check out the overlook. As we made our way down to the overlook the trail became more precarious. At one point, the trail became too narrow and high while having no guard rail to keep us from falling. We decided we went far enough and still felt successful. We made it to the top of the Upper Falls, found a place to enjoy a picnic lunch, and worked as family. Hiking with kids makes enjoying the beauty of the creation so much richer.
Favorite Gear for Hiking with Kids