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Author Topic: Backcountry with kiddos  (Read 2524 times)

Offline Jpmiller

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Backcountry with kiddos
« on: December 14, 2017, 06:55:31 AM »
I'm going to try and put together a backpacking trip with my toddler next summer. He loves camping and loves hiking. Not anything extreme and may just end up walking down a decommissioned logging road but I want to get him out there and excited.

Anyone have any experience with young kids? Anything to think about other than normal kid stuff? He will still be three. Really looking forward to it, thanks for any help!

Offline jamesfromseattle

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Re: Backcountry with kiddos
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2017, 07:00:29 AM »
I have no experience doing this but we have a kid on the way and have already been thinking about it. Would love to hear the tips that others have.

Offline boneaddict

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Re: Backcountry with kiddos
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2017, 07:10:56 AM »
-Remember not to overdo it.  Their world is a lot bigger than ours.
- They donít regulate their tank very well. Full throttle then nothing left in the tank. 
-Bugs....from skeeters to yellow jackets.   As a family we got into a hornets nest. I held back and took most of the hits, then finally ran up and scooped em and ran with them.   I was very happy to have a couple Benadryl in my pack.  You never know what they are allergic too.   
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Offline Karl Blanchard

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Re: Backcountry with kiddos
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2017, 07:21:49 AM »
Bone hit on very good points. I will add that it HAS to be a positive experience.  There will be time later in life to learn some mental toughness and face adversity head on but at 3 it isn't time yet.  Keep outings short and fun.  Next thing you know the hooks will be set deep and he'll do anything to chase dad around the mountains!
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Offline cbond3318

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Re: Backcountry with kiddos
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2017, 07:35:34 AM »
These two already covered great points. I will add, put yourself in the mind of a toddler while hiking, stop and point out everything. The bugs, the weird moss, the squirrels fighting. Tell a tall tale of how old mans beard came to be. Check out all the tracks and scat. Point out noises, weird trees with a hollowed our stump. Keep their imagination sparked and youíll have the time of your life.  Itís not about how far you get but what you do along the way. Bring snacks, stay ahead of their hunger and throw him/her on your shoulders to cover ground


Good luck! :tup:
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Offline Karl Blanchard

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Re: Backcountry with kiddos
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2017, 07:39:43 AM »
These two already covered great points. I will add, put yourself in the mind of a toddler while hiking, stop and point out everything. The bugs, the weird moss, the squirrels fighting. Tell a tall tale of how old mans beard came to be. Check out all the tracks and scat. Point out noises, weird trees with a hollowed our stump. Keep their imagination sparked and youíll have the time of your life.  Itís not about how far you get but what you do along the way. Bring snacks, stay ahead of their hunger and throw him/her on your shoulders to cover ground


Good luck! :tup:
  absolutely nailed it :tup:  can't believe I forgot to mention snacks!!!!  So many snacks :chuckle:
It is foolish and wrong to mourn these men.  Rather, we should thank god that such men lived.  -General George S. Patton

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Offline poopooheaddad

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Re: Backcountry with kiddos
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2017, 07:53:01 AM »
definitely snacks, hot chocolate, and kids love flashlights and those snap stick glow sticks miss those times...
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Offline swanny

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Re: Backcountry with kiddos
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2017, 08:15:33 AM »
I have no experience doing this but we have a kid on the way and have already been thinking about it. Would love to hear the tips that others have.

No experience with toddlers (yet), but my wife and I made it our goal to hike 100 miles before our son turned 1 in September. We started when he was about 3 months old doing day hikes, did a couple of overnight backpacking trips also. We figure we still have a couple more backpacking trips through the Spring/Summer before neither of us will be interested in carrying him in the pack any longer. Get a good kid carry pack, get out there and have fun! Keep the trips reasonable, make sure you pack all the necessary snacks, clothing, water/milk, etc. Our typical packing was one of us carries the kid and in his pack was all his needs, while the other carried both of our gear whether day hiking or backpacking. Refining your gear list with lighter weight options will help greatly! Fitz has loved hiking and seen all conditions, in fact his first hike was in 6" of snow! The coolest part is seeing them roam around the woods and how they play/interact with the natural environment.

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Offline jackelope

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Re: Backcountry with kiddos
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2017, 08:37:29 AM »
Did a pretty fair amount of hiking with our daughter from age 1 to current(10). Now not so much but earlier on, a highlight of the trip for her was a treat at the lake or whatever the destination was. The big hits were the mountain house desserts. Also bring something to do once you get to where you're going. Fishing, bug catching, a tree or wildflower ID book(even if you know what all the trees are). We kept it to under 2 miles one way until she was maybe 6-7 years old. We're planning a Goat Rocks overnighter next summer. I'm thinking maybe 10-12 miles total with 1 night spent out.
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Offline jamesfromseattle

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Re: Backcountry with kiddos
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2017, 10:21:43 AM »
The discussion of snacks reminded me of something my family used to to when I was little:

Occasionally one the grown ups would run off in the woods to scout for "M&M rocks", "gummy bear bushes", etc.  If we were lucky they would call us over and we could discover a rock with M&Ms or other candy growing out of it.  This sticks out to me as one of my favorite parts of early hiking trips and is one of my earliest childhood memories.  That being said, it left me with a pretty warped understanding of geology and botany.

Offline cbond3318

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Re: Backcountry with kiddos
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2017, 11:00:44 AM »
Another cool thing I do with my boys is pack a couple of my small sheds and let them ďfind ď them along the way.
Just tend your own and live.

Offline pianoman9701

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Re: Backcountry with kiddos
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2017, 11:06:06 AM »
You have to decide first if the trip is for you or the kid. If it's truly for the kid, backcountry camping won't cause fun memories. Find a camping spot close to water so he can swim and/or fish. Make sure you can have a fire and shame on you if you don't have hotdogs and s'mores ready. Hot chocolate and pancakes or waffles for breakfast. Bring his favorite toy or game. If he gets bored, he won't have fun. Taking kids camping and having a good time takes planning.
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Online Ridgerunner

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Re: Backcountry with kiddos
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2017, 12:13:05 PM »
Lots of great advice here, snacks, easy destinations with something interesting to explore.

The first time I took the kids backcounty camping, I had two 9 year olds, two 5 year olds and a 11 month old. I made sure the trail in was short, about 2 miles with minimal elevation gain.  Kids all had a great time, we made sure there was a lake destination for them to explore, also made sure that the woods were open enough that they had space to run around off trail when we got to our destination.  One thing they all enjoyed as making little floating "boats" out of leaves and flowers and sending them down the creek.  The older 4 carried packs that they had snacks, lightweight clothes etc but were pretty light overall.  Everyone had a awesome trip the first day, that night one of the 5 year olds started throwing up, I ended up carrying him back out to the trailhead.  Thankfully I had been training for a sheep hunt so I ended up carrying him all the way back to the vehicle but you never know what is going to come up in the backcountry.  A few years later I've done a few more trips, the oldest kids aren't all that into the woods and backpacking although they do enjoy camping.  The younger ones love it. 

Biggest thing is the trip has to be about them, trying to combine with a scouting trip is probably asking for disappointment on your end. 

Offline blackveltbowhunter

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Re: Backcountry with kiddos
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2017, 02:13:57 PM »
Alot of great advice. I started all of my girls in a backpack. And just went until they started to complain and then push past that a bit. Same thing once they started walking. They're tolerance increases quickly and they have been doin couple mile hikes for sometime now. This last summer they both did several mile hikes, and 20+ mile bike rides at 9 and 10.

Snacks, and breaks are huge. Bone hit the nail on the head they will run then crash. Its like they have no intermediate pace. Lol. But they learn it. Make sure trails are decent, obstacles that seem like nothing, are serious to them. Creek crossings etc....  I also have avoided  trails that have any "sketchy" sections.  But they will love having small streams and rocks, it builds their confidence. I have found the best motivator to be another friend, either another kid or 4 legged variety will keep them occupied and entertained instead of just trudging. Whenever possible have a destination, a waterfall, lake, etc. Some kind of goal. Mostly be mindful of your attitude, I really struggled in the beginning wanting them to experience all of the sights and areas i enjoyed, not being mindful those were simply out of reach of their capabilities even some seemingly simple hikes. Once i realized that they were making their own memories and to them a half mile away from the road is "backcountry " it got alot easier to relax and go with the flow. Push when needed but adjust my expectations to reality.

Offline Fl0und3rz

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Re: Backcountry with kiddos
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2017, 02:36:03 PM »
I took my three year old out one year.  We did lots of stomping on caterpillars, saw some sign, had a nice hike and a good lunch out.

- Lot's of snacks.

- Keep the walk flat as possible.

- Be prepared to take lots of stops and detours.

- Be prepared to carry him/her.  This is difficult with a rifle, pack, etc.  I might have just taken a pistol, if I had a hunting capable one at the time.

- Stop, look, and listen to everything.  Leaves, rocks, caterpillars, sign, poop, etc.  It's all cool when you are three.

- Take trinkets like compass, walkie talkies, etc. to goof around with.

- Don't get to bent if he/she is not quiet or not interested.  It won't be fun for either of you.  Enjoy every minute.

- Water features are cool, too, because who doesn't like throwing rocks in water.


I can't wait to go again on longer outings now that he is a little older and more into it.

 

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