This guest post was written by Evelyn Taylor of Mommy Stroller. She and her husband Paul started the blog to write about baby gear after the overwhelming feeling they experienced when trying to pick out their first stroller for their family. Both of them enjoy spending time with family and friends, listening to live music, and going on jogs with their kids (in a stroller). For detailed baby gear guides, stroller reviews, and anything and everything stroller-related, check out Mommy Stroller. You can also connect with the Mommy Stroller crew on Pinterest and Facebook.
In our modern world where kids spend endless time in front of screens and most people are obsessed with the latest gadgets, spending time outdoors with your family is still a great experience that can create happy memories and stronger familial bonds. Regardless of what age you are, it’s a good idea to temporarily unplug to explore the great outdoors so that your little ones know the importance of nature.
Going on a family hike is a fabulous way to promote exercise and encourage your kids to explore the wilderness. However, you need to keep in mind that hiking with kids is nothing like hiking with adventure-loving adults. You will need to prepare more extensively to keep your children safe, comfortable, and happy during the entire experience. Planning this type of fun might even involve blood, sweat, and tears (ha!). Because of how much effort goes into the planning, preparing for a trek with a child might be a little daunting at first. However, it’s completely possible to plan an enjoyable, smooth, and life-changing hiking trip that will teach your children the importance of nature and the benefits of unplugging from technology for a bit.
Ready to hit the trails? Here are some key tips to keep in mind as you prepare for your adventure:
Make A List
It’s best to prepare for a hiking trip a few weeks in advance, especially if it is your first time. Make a list of everything you need to purchase, prepare, and pack. This way, you can make sure that you won’t leave behind someone’s jacket or hat. Some of the essentials to bring along include sunglasses, water bottles, and extra clothes. If you’re bringing your baby, don’t forget diapers and wet wipes!
If you have toddlers who are big enough, you might want to buy them a small pack that they can fill with your help. It will build anticipation and excitement for the trip while helping them learn more about being responsible.
Choose A Hiking Baby Carrier
The ring sling or wrap you use for your daily errands simply won’t work out in the wilderness. You need to choose a hiking baby carrier that is safe, comfortable, and convenient to use in the great outdoors. Don’t worry, the days of super heavy, stiff, and oversized carriers are over. There is a wide range of ergonomic baby carriers that you can choose from. Some even come with accessories like a diaper changing mat and lots of storage options. Make sure to choose something that supports your back and evenly distributes the weight of your child as well as fulfilling all of your other needs.
Find The Best Stroller For Your Hike
If you can’t imagine walking the trails with your child in a carrier, you might want to try looking for a jogging stroller or all-terrain stroller that could keep your child comfortable even on a bumpy or uneven surface. Most strollers designed for rough terrains are equipped with a five-point harness to help keep your child safe. It is equally important to pick a stroller that’s made for your child’s height and weight. Be extra careful when picking a stroller if your child is younger than age one.
Pick Sturdy And Durable Shoes
Can you imagine all the complaints you will hear during your hike if your child is uncomfortable with the shoes they are wearing? It is important to look for a pair of durable and lightweight kids hiking boots or shoes. It is also important to choose something with a good traction so that your child won’t slip and fall on the trail. If you’re buying new shoes or boots, make sure that your child gets to try them out first. Don’t forget to buy the best hiking socks, too.
Pack Something To Keep The Kids Entertained
While hiking itself can be relaxing and meditative for adults, kids (with their shorter attention span) might actually find some parts of the trail pretty boring. As a parent, you need to go the extra mile to keep your children entertained. You can pack lightweight toys to keep them busy as you hike. If you don’t want to bring too much to pack, you can try preparing games or memorizing songs to keep your kids distracted.
Don’t Forget The First Aid Kit
The last thing you want is to feel helpless when someone in your group gets injured or sick. Make sure you pack a first aid kit for emergencies and accidents. Also, bring basic medication that you might need during your hike. If your entire family is going, make sure to inform a friend of your whereabouts. Assign someone who isn’t joining your party as the “emergency contact” in case something goes wrong while you are out on the trail.
Hiking trips should definitely be fun, but don’t ever forget that safety should always be your top priority. A key aspect of keeping your family safe is to make sure that everything is well thought out so you are prepared for whatever comes your way. While there should be a responsible adult who can serve as the “captain” of the team, everyone joining the hike should be involved in the preparations in some way.
It’s also important to start the prep process early to get everyone excited. A few weeks before your hike, you can start encouraging your children to learn a bit about nature and simple first aid. You can also start bringing your young ones outdoors (even if it’s just your backyard) a little more often. As a family, you can also practice some cute hiking songs together. The best part is all the amazing family memories you will have from that time out on the trails together.
What are your favorite hiking tips?
*This post was sponsored by Mommy Stroller.