Backpacking With Kids

Backpacking with the Kids

Backpacking with your boys is a rare opportunity to really get to know them. When you are away from cell phones, computers and TVs, you get that opportunity for one-in-one time, while your kid’s get lo learn a thing or two about nature and personal responsibility.

What to bring? - the first rule of backpacking is “keep it simple” and the second rule is “keep it light”. Start with a backpack and a tent, followed by a sleeping bag and a lightweight pad for each of you. Bring a backpacking stove and a water filter. Add a bowl, cup and spoon for each person. Don’t forget a small first aide kit.

When it comes to clothes, there is a third rule “kids get dirty, but it doesn’t matter”. Here are is a list of the essentials:

  • A pair of shorts, and a pair warm pants -or better yet, a convertible pair of hiking pants
  • A short-sleeved shirt
  • A fleece shirt
  • A rain jacket
  • A bandana - it will serve multiple uses
  • Hiking boots or other comfortable shoes
  • Sandals or crocs for around camp
  • Two pairs of socks

First step when planning for food is to get a bear canister. It not only will keep bears away from your food supply, but mice and squirrels as well. Just bring what the kids will enjoy and don’t plan to use the backpack trip as the time to improve your children’s diet. Bring just what you need, and remember, you will be carrying this stuff. Bringing way too much food is a common mistake.

Backcountry Adventures with the kids

When you are backpacking, the world is your playground. Just in case it rains, bring a book and a deck of cards. Leave the toys behind.

How far you go will depend upon the age and physical condition of your boy, but usually 3-5 miles is a good distance for children between the ages of 7 and 15. Pick a spot near a lake, than set-up camp for two nights, giving you a layover day just to hang out and play.

Don’t sweat the small stuff and just enjoy your backpacking trip as a chance to get to enjoy each other’s company and learn more about your boy(s) likes and dislikes.

Get those backpacks out and go enjoy the great outdoors before the summer is completely over.

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