Here are a bunch of tips and tricks when hiking with kids! What to bring on your hike that will make things easier on you and your kids, and how to make it fun along the way. If you’re about to go camping or to a National Park you’ll want to read this so you’re prepared.
If you love getting out and about and going hiking with kids we have a few tips and tricks that have made our experiences more fun for everyone. From toddlers to now a teenager and two elementary age kids we have been thru all the stages of camping and hiking with our own kids and believe me there are things you can do to make an ok experience a lot more fun and comfortable for everyone involved. (originally published 6/16)
When we had our middle daughter we bought a backpack similar to this one but a much cheaper version. Being the penny pincher I am I didn’t want to spend a lot until I knew we would be hiking with kids on a regular basis, and that was kinda’ a mistake. When you have an infant or toddler it will make all of you happier if you start with the following items.
Hiking with kids
- Mid range or higher end child carrier WITH a sunshade (I linked to the one we had and loved – affiliate links in post present)
- Backpack diaper bag with insulated bottle holders
- Lots of snacks suitable for your child
- Plenty of water for everyone, we carry a Camelbak
What to bring when hiking with kids
- Hand sanitizer
- Hard soled shoes for them (when they want to toddle around)
- Small toys you can fasten with a string to the child carrier
- Pacifiers (if they normally use one)
- Hat (with brim all the way around ideally)
- First Aid kit
- Here are hiking ideas for kids to make it fun for them
If they can walk they won’t want to stay in the carrier the whole time. Find spots with some grass and let them out here and there. Let them pick grass, flowers, pick up rocks, etc…that is part of the fun.
Do NOT put them in clothing you don’t want ruined (or shoes). While they are in the carrier hand them long blades of grasses or flowers to keep them busy, feel, and get excited about hiking with you again.
When you’re hiking with kids who are a bit older, maybe 5 and up there is a lot more they can do AND you can have them help you carry things. Once there are this age they should each carry a backpack with their own water bottle, snacks, rocks they find etc…..
Give them this responsibility because it makes things easier on you and gives them the freedom to add whatever “treasures” they find to their own bag (and get water out when they choose). You should bring:
Camping with Kids
- Backpack for everyone (junior size for smaller kids)
- Plenty of water (give each child 2 bottles to carry)
- Hiking shoes
- Clothing that can get dirty
- Snacks for everyone
- Picnic lunch if you’re out long enough
- Binoculars – makes it fun
- Compass – makes it fun and educational
- Palm sized botany book
- Hand sanitizer
- First Aid kit
- Free printable Nature Hike I SPY
If you’re headed on a long trip here is a list of things to pack for a road trip that will help out quite a bit as well as our best family vacations and places you can camp for free throughout the US!
These things have helped us tremendously and all our kids love to get out and explore, yes even our teenager. It is a great time together that allows you to unplug and connect as a family more. If you haven’t tried hiking with your kids yet you really should.
Try somewhere flat and a short hike to begin with and work up to longer ones but I bet you’ll be surprised at how much you enjoy it yourself!