Kids Hiking Essentials for Families Who Hit the Trails
There’s nothing like going off the grid to get some fresh air and immersed yourself in nature. Hiking is an activity that I enjoy even more now that I have kids – endless conversations, excitement over wildlife, and a little competitiveness makes hiking less grueling, and more like an adventure.
Besides, going on a hike is an excellent way for kids to learn some serious life skills: It teaches them about planning and self-reliance – you want to be ready for anything, but you also want to pack light. Then there’s problem-solving. How will you get across the stream without getting soaked? What do you do if you get lost? You learn to appreciate nature, respect wildlife, and leave nothing behind. And of course, you practice self-discipline and perseverance. Set a goal – whether it’s doing a whole loop, or reaching the summit – and don’t give up!
Ready to go on a hike? Here are some of our essentials for kids:
While you will be lugging all the real essentials, your kiddo will want a little bag of their own to store their must-haves and treasures collected on the way.
Spanish label Modernaked draws inspiration from retro climber bags for their kids’ backpacks, and we simply adore the 70’s color combos such as the Toffee and Ruby Trio. They’re durable and lightweight, made with locally sourced cotton canvas and accented with natural leather details. They also double as stylish school bags when you’re not on a mountain!
When it comes to footwear, regular sneakers won’t do. You’ll be dealing with steep, uneven terrain and rocks, so you’ll want something grippy and protective.
Hike in comfort and style with Plae’s Kaiden Hiking Boots. Made with nylon and full grain leather, these boots are completely breathable and waterproof, making them great for all seasons. The soles are flexible, offer excellent traction, and follow the natural contours of a child’s feet. The colors look like they’re straight out of nature, like the woodsy Ember and desert-inspired Canyon Clay.
It’s important to wear a hat when hiking – and the higher in elevation you go, the wider your brim should be. Unless you enjoy sunburns.
Brookes Boswell makes the most gorgeous packable straw hat, which is perfect for days when the weather can’t make up its mind. When it’s suddenly overcast, simply fold it in half along the crease in a crown, and roll it up. When the sun starts shining in your face (this usually happens right after you carefully pack up your hat), simply pop it back out, and marvel at how well it holds its shape. A space-saving must-have!
Hiking sticks make the journey more fun, and not just because they magically turn into swords/staffs/wands/lightsabers/hunting spears with your imagination… but because they prevent you from falling (the opposite of fun).
The PaceMaker Journey Trekking Poles are made with aerospace-grade aluminum that are strong and weigh almost nothing. The tungsten tips and rubber feet offer extra grip when things get rocky and steep, while the cork handles keep hands sweat-free. The poles are height-adjustable with a secure twist lock design, and are covered by a one-year warranty.
We all know how important it is to stay hydrated… but who wants to lug a clunky water bottle for miles and miles?
The que Collapsible Water Bottle is a squishy, space-saving godsend. It holds 12/20 fl oz when full, and collapses to about half the size in between refills. It’s made with lightweight 100% food-grade silicone, and is taste/odor/BPA/plastic-free. It has a wide mouth perfect for ice cubes, and can be thrown in the dishwasher.
And if your jaw hasn’t hit the floor, que donates 10% of their profits The Ocean Foundation to protect over 230 species of polar wildlife (including penguins and polar bears.)
Once you reach your destination, treat yourself to a… GRANOLA BAR? No – with all that hard work, you deserve a proper piping-hot meal.
The Minimal Insulated Food Jar offers just that, in a cute and compact package.It features a double wall vacuum and copper-plated inner wall (translation: HOT), and comes with a foldable spoon that tucks neatly into the leak-proof screw top. It’s so effective, it even comes with a pressure-relief button to help it open. Yes, just like the one on your Instant Pot.
So, let’s be realistic. If you’re new to this whole thing, your kiddo will probably be doing very little hiking. Hiking is a pretty strenuous workout, and it takes a lot of practice to build stronger muscles, stamina, and even lung capacity. It would be a shame if you packed up your trekking poles, full-brim hat, collapsible bottle and insulated food jar, only to turn around and head home after 50 steps.
For young kids and beginners, invest in a child carrier backpack. The Deuter Kid Comfort 3 is built with a sturdy metal frame to support kids of all sizes. Comfort-wise, there’s ample padding on the hipbelt for you, and cushion on the backrest, sides, and straps for your child. The harness is easily adjustable, there’s a built-in sunshade, and there are lots of roomy pockets – no need for a separate backpack.
We’ve had our Kid Comfort for almost a decade now, and it still looks and feels brand new. The quality is top notch!
What are some of your hiking essentials for kids? Share with us!
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