Backpacking trips can be some of the most adventurous journeys we embark upon.
Rain, snow, fallen trees, boulders the size of houses, mountain lion encounters, and bears roaming through the camp at night.
We. Are. Adventurers.
Now, throw kids into the mix!
Do any of you brave the backcountry with your kids? What are your tips and tricks to surviving the rugged outdoors with your outdoor rugrats? Here are a few of mine.
1. Extra Kid Shoes
Yes, it adds a bit more weight to your pack, but it’s not “if” they soak their shoes - it’s “when”.
And then, you’ll be the hero who made the remainder of their trip bearable. Making those first few trips fun will help lay a foundation for those tougher trips later on.
2. Snacks! Snacks! Snacks!
We are so accustomed to packing the bear minimum when it comes to food; a lightweight Mountain House Meal or Peak Refuel with a granola bar, and we’re good. But kiddos need a bit more s’more. Throw in a small ziplock of marshmallows, some fruit snacks, or M&M’s, and you are the greatest backpacking-vending-machine-dad ever.
3. Are We There Yet?
If this isn’t obvious, make the trips a bit shorter in distance. Unless you have a Rambo-child who is unstoppable, most kids start dramatically giving up between 1 and 2 miles. That’s the sweet spot with my rugrats (ages 2, 4, 8, 10, 12) anyway. Also, it really helps to have a very defined arrival point, like a lake, or riverside. These epic landscape changes really help to define the arrival. Besides, what kid doesn’t like throwing rocks in the water?!
What are your tips for Backpacking with Kids?