BACKPACKING LIST FOR HIKING
One of the greatest ways to introduce your kids to the wonders of nature is to hike with them. When you plan successful and enjoyable hikes for your kids as they are young, you are setting them on a path to a lifetime of outdoor adventures. Below are some tips that will help you plan successful hikes for both kids and adult
PLANNING AND PACING
Children 2 to 4 years old can hike ½ to 2 miles on their own. They should stop every 10 to 15 minutes to rest. Children ages 5 to 7 can hike for 1 to 3 hours each day, covering 3 to 4 miles over easy terrain. Rest stops should come every 30 to 45 minutes. Eight and 9-year-olds can hike a full day at an easy pace, covering 5 to 6 miles over variable terrain.
While hiking with your kids, you should teach them to stay within eyesight, even older children should also stay within eyesight and earshot. The kids should be taught to stay where they are when they discover that they have derail from the trail. Always instruct them to find a nearby tree and stay with the tree until they are found. If your kid is up to 4 yrs. teach him/her to carry a whistle to call for help when they are lost. Tell them that the standard distress signal when they are lost is 3 blows to indicate ‘I am lost’ or ‘I need help’.
RULES OF THE TRAIL
Teach your kids to always stay on the trail at every point in time, because going off the trail can damage fragile plant life and then cutting across switch-backs will create a pattern of erosion. Instruct the kids to look at certain things rather than touching them, so that other kids with their parents can also enjoy it.
SPECIAL CLOTHING CONSIDERATION
It is advisable that your kids wear tennis shoes that grip worn with socks, or hiking shoes/boots, because wearing an open toe shoes or sandals may get their toes stumped on rocks.
Remember that in cold weather, kids get cold faster than adults. Ensure to dress then in several layers so that the cloth can be pull off as they get warm and added as they cool off.
ITEMS TO BE ON YOUR BACKPACKING LIST
The choice on what items will make your backpacking list is always a difficult task for first time hikers, especially those that are intending to hike with their kids. This article will guide you on items that should make your backpacking list. Remember that you are responsible for your own safety as well as the safety of your kids while hiking, any of these items may save your life as well as your kids, ensure to carry each one and also know how to use them. In addition to these items on your backpacking list, know your limits and be sure you leave an itinerary with friends or relatives.
No matter how easy, no matter how short or close your hiking point is to your house, make sure your backpacking list is loaded with these items below
Always carry a detailed map of the area that you are hiking in and a compass (even if use a GPS or smartphone).
The 15” Green Trails maps are great if you’re staying on trail. If you’re planning on leaving the trail it’s best to have 7.5′ USGS maps. Both kinds are available at most sporting goods stores. Keep your maps in a plastic bag to protect them from the rain and know how to use them.
GPS units are great, but they are not substitutes for knowing how to use a map and compass. The GPS can point you in the right direction, but it’s the map that tells you if you can go that way. It doesn’t matter how fancy your compass is, but if it doesn’t have a compensation setting for true North, make sure you know how to convert magnetic to true North.
Whenever you are hiking with yours kids, ensure they drink a lot of water because without water, their body doesn’t perform well and they could grow more susceptible to heat stroke, hypothermia and altitude sickness. Any water source can harbor tiny organisms that would make their life unpleasant later, so purify all water with a water filter or purifier, chemical tablets or boiling before they drink.
Always bring extra food when hiking in case an unexpected situation delays your return. Also include your kids’ favorite wholesome foods/drinks. Carry at least one extra day’s worth. It should be something that stores for a long time, requires no preparation and is high in energy. Many people choose things they really dislike so they won’t be tempted to break into their emergency rations unless they really need them.
Since you are hiking with kids, you’ll likely need more snacks than usual for the hike, so be sure to plan, and have emergency food in addition.
Ensure to always tuck your kid’s rain gear into your backpack and bring along layers of clothes, because the weather condition can change quickly in the mountains.
- FIRE STARTER
Ensure to enclose a waterproof matches in a water-tight container with a dry or waterproof striker.
- FIRST AID KIT
Before you hike, make sure you purchase hiker first aid kits. You can also consider taking a course on first aid. Since you are hiking with your kids, make sure you carry medication in kid’s dosages.
When hiking with your kids, knives or multi-tools is very important, they can help you prepare food, cut tapes, bandages, repair gear and many more.
- LIGHT SOURCE
When hiking with your kids, ensure to backpack a light source with spare battery and lamp, in case you don’t return before the day becomes dark.
Your eyes and that of your kids need protection especially when you are on snow or above tree line. Include sun glasses on your backpacking list.
- WIPES AND BATH TISSUE
Your kids will need the wipes when their hands get dirty. So ensure to include wipes on your backpacking list.
- OTHER ITEMS
Other items to consider when making up your backpacking list are Insect repellent, whistle, watch, mirror (for signaling), gloves, extra socks, and an orange vest (during hunting season).