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What to bring on hiking trips with children?

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Hiking with Kids
The gear to bring on a trip and the packing itself keeps a lot of people from going out hiking with their kids. There is an investment in purchasing a child carrier backpack but other than that, most parents will have everything else. The purchase of a pack or two is a good investment. We�ve used them on vacations, the fair, even the voting booth. When your kids outgrow them, and as long as they are in ok shape, they make great gifts to other young families. I�ve put together the following list to guide others on what they may need for a day out hiking with the kids. This is what I bring and I would use it as a starter list. Print it out, if you find on your first trip your child needs something else than add to it. Depending on your climate and time of year, clothing needs will change.

For an overnight trip car camping or backpacking, see
Very young children
In Car
Cloths for day of hiking
Hiking socks and boots
Comfortable driving shoes
Warm fleece and fleece hat
Rain/Wind Jacket
Cell phone/wallet/keys/chap stick
Two pairs of pants
T-shirts (short/long)
Warm fleece
Hiking shoes and socks
Sippy cup
Plate, bowl, fork, spoon
Several 1 piece outfits
Diapers, wipes
Formula & dispenser or Milk
Bottles and water
Kid medicine
Blanket for each child
Maps/Trip reports/data
Kid Carrier for each kid
Extra plastic bags and zip locks
Toilet Paper - half role +
First aid kit
Bear spray, snakebite kit
Bin of toys/books
Kids CD's
Lots of water
Juice for 3 days
Apples, carrots, oranges
bananas, bread, cookies
Cold cereal in baggies
Ritz, Raisins, Pretzels
Can food for dinners
Can fruit
Pudding and fruit cups
Jelly w/knives (in zip lock)
Fruit snacks, vanilla wafers
Cheese--its, Triskits
Granola bars
Breakfast bars
PB & J Sandwiches

Purchasing Kid Carriers

There are quite a few models to choose from now from basic no frills models to packs that have lots of junk you probably won't use like a GPS holder. What you are looking for is a model that is comfortable for you and your child. You want some padding on the waist and shoulder straps, your child needs to be able to comfortably fall asleep inside the pack. This can be tricky to do inside the store but you need to make sure there is enough adjustment up and down that the child's head can rest on something when they fall asleep. If you are serious about your destinations, you'll log the most trail miles while they sleeping in your pack.

Another thing to look at is how much gear the pack can carry. One of my packs has a bag that velcro's onto the bottom of the pack. This is nice because it can easily be removed for packing and the pack frame is smaller when loading it in the car. Unfortunately, the bag isn't supper tight and I get movement when walking downhill. The other pack has the gear pouches as part of the pack and there is something nice about 1 less item I might forget. All kid carriers have weight limits that I use as a general guideline to know the ages it's designed for but I usually exceed the limits in time.

For children under one, a front pouch has worked very well for me. You'll see parents using these in the mall and around town. I've used a very basic model for years, one with little padding at all. In some ways this is good as it doesn't interfere much when I'm wearing my second child on my back in the kid carrier.
Camping with Children

Boots for Kids

This is a real pain, trying to get kids under 4 in the right footwear. I hate buying shoes for my kids since they grow right out of them. I've found some comfort in buying second hand since they are usually like new and under $4 dollars a pair. I've got several pairs of really good boots but I can't get them on my sons wide feet. So, he has climbed many mountains in footwear not designed for real hiking, doing fine most of the time but slipping if it got steep.

First Aid Kit

They will fall and cut themselves so you best be ready. In the past 18 months, I have forgot the kit once. It was that trip my son fell cutting his forehead. Some gauze bangages and tape would have been really handy. The only other incident I've had was on a summit where my daughter attached her hand to a small cactus. Some tweezers in the kit worked to get out all the splinters.
Always bring the first aid kit Childrens boots Several kid carriers