January 14, 2014

A Tale of Two Mountain Mamas: The Minimalist and the Planner

Mamá Selfie - Photo Courtesy of Two Groms and a Mom
I've been doing lots of #HIRL this year! That's hashtag lingo for "Hangout In Real Life", so when Teresa from Two Groms and a Mom and I had a chance to meet up, we did! We first met over social media and quickly found out that we have lots in common: our children's ages, our Latino culture, California roots and of course loving the outdoors.

I like to follow rules, have plans and sometimes a plan for a plan.  Sounds a little crazy but I love to be prepared for everything that could happen on the trail.  Some of it is due my personality, but my accountant training, and background as a former law enforcement officer means I'm always doing a "risk assessment" when we head out to the outdoors, and plan accordingly.  I always plan for the worst and expect the best because of certain previous bad outdoor experiences.  My planning for day hikes with my toddlers sometimes feels like a mini-backpacking trip but it's the way I feel most comfortable going into the outdoors with my children.

Groms and Chasqui Niños - Photo Courtesy of Two Groms and a Mom
There is no one-way of hitting the trail as it seemed apparent when Two Groms and a Mom and Chasqui Mom went hiking with their children! Here's a chance to learn about our methods and see what works for you to hit the trail with your kids!



The Pack

Teresa: My pack is the Deuter Kid Comfort II kid carrier. It’s hard to say how much hiking the baby will want to do, so a capacious kid carrier lets me carry a toddler and the essentials.

Melissa: My pack is the Teton Sports Escape 4300 Ultra LightBackpack and the Ergobaby Sports Carrier.  I find it easier to carry all my gear in a large backpacking pack (including the small carrier) because it does not all fit in my larger kid carrier.  My toddler also likes to vary from hiking to being carried quite often and I find it easier to carry her on my shoulders or to front-carry her in the Ergo with the backpack on.
  
What's Inside?

Teresa: For a morning on the trail with a two- and five-year old, I pack:

Photo Courtesy of Two Groms and a Mom

  • An ultralight Eagle Creek pouch with everyday kid/baby essentials:
    • 2 diapers
    •  A Ziplock bag full of baby wipes
    • Sunscreen
    • 4 Fruit Snacks
    • 4 Clif Z/Luna Bars
  • A trail-appropriate toy or two
  • Shade canopy for the Deuter pack
  • An extra layer for each of us
  • 3 bottles of water or a hydration bladder tucked in the Deuter H20 compartment
  •  iPhone
What’s Missing?
  •  Lunch. My kids ate a big breakfast just before we left the house, so I figured they would be fine with snacks on the trail and lunch at home after our hike.  I was wrong! They ended up eating a sandwich, goldfish, and fruit snacks out of Melissa’s stash. Not my finest mom moment.
  •  Backcountry essentials. I tend to treat day hikes like a walk in the park, not like an adventure in the woods. It’s not uncommon for me to leave behind a compass, first aid supplies, etc.  Sure, it might make for a lighter pack, but it doesn't exactly ingratiate me to those who do prepare properly.

What's Inside?

Melissa: For a morning on the trail with a two- and four-year old, I pack:

Not all items pictured.  Need more food!

  • 4 Diapers
  • Baby Wipes packet
  • 100 oz Hydration Reservoir
  • A Water Bottle
  • Family First Aid Kit
  •  Epi-Pens (2 Qty) and Allergy Pills
  • Small Roll of Toilet Paper/"Poop" Shovel
  •  iPhone and Large Camera
  •  Peruvian Tablecloth/Blanket
  • 3-4 Trail Toys and a small child backpack (items to be carried in)
  • Garmin GPS
  • Two extra layers (Fleece and jacket)
  • Food and Snacks
    • Clif Kid Z Bars (4 qty)
    • Clif Bars (2 qyt)
    • Gold Fish Crackers (2 separate baggies)
    • Trader Joe's Chianti Red Wine Artisan Salami
    • Mozzarella Cheese Sticks (4 qty)
    • Yogurt Tubes (4 qty)
    •  Turkey and Cheese Sandwiches (2 qty)
    • Toaster Pastries (2 qty)
    • Fruit Snacks (Lots of it)
    • Trail Mix or Dried Fruit


What’s Excessive?
  •  Lots of it is excessive but there's a reason behind all my gear that I "need" to take.  The Peruvian blanket is probably the most excessive and space/weight consuming, I like it for pictures.  Too many useless trail toys as well as food.  Sometimes my picky eater decides to eat while hiking so I have everything in the world that he might possibly eat!
  • Technology wise: The Garmin GPS isn't really helpful for a 1-2 mile hike, but I like to know the "numbers" after a hike.  I also like to take high resolution pictures with my larger camera but in all reality iPhone pictures are probably good enough.
  • Large First Aid Kit: I have EVERYTHING in my first aid kit in case of any medical incident.  I'm a little paranoid since I have Exercise Induced Anaphylaxis hence the dual Epi-Pens and allergy pills  but half of the kit could be safely left behind.

How I'll Pack Differently Next Time

Teresa:
  • I learned a great lesson while my kids ransacked Melissa’s lunch stash: trailside hunger fosters more omnivorous eating! Hikes are a great opportunity to introduce new foods to picky kids. You’ll be seeing fewer packaged trail snacks from me, and more of the food that gets ignored in the school lunchbox.
  • The basics: I love that Melissa keeps a multitool within reach! There’s a reason this is a backcountry essential. I’m putting together a little kit of trail essentials that will go on every hike from now on, which will include a multitool, a headlamp, energy bars, a whistle, a small first aid kit, and a compass.


Melissa:
  •  I don't need to entertain the kids! Nature will entertain the kids so I shouldn't bring so many toys or bring one toy that would be appropriate for that hike.  My kids did great chasing bubbles on a previous hike, but not on this particular joint hike.  The bubbles worsened my toddler's meltdown, which wasn't the purpose of the bubbles! Fail.
  • Teresa dressed her kids in warm clothes and a fleece sweater.  Even though I checked the weather and knew it wasn't going to be awfully cold, I still brought our down jackets.  More bulk and weight in my pack than I probably needed.  My daughter ended up wearing hers but the other two jackets were unnecessary.  This is when my backpacking mentality is too much for day hiking.
  • Smaller First Aid Kit! Not too much explaining here but if I needed the WHOLE first aid kit then we are probably in more trouble than my first aid kit can handle.  Time to call or send for help!

It's great to learn from one another and I look forward to meeting more outdoor parents like Teresa! I love helping others learn how to get outdoors with their children and hope you can take one of our approaches or a combination of the two to get outdoors with your family.  To hear more on Teresa's point of view head on over to Two Groms and a Mom!

How do you prepare for day hike with your children? Are you a minimalist or a planner?

Join in on the conversation by leaving a comment here! You can also join in on the conversations on Chasqui Mom's FacebookInstagram and Twitter that is updated daily with outdoor activities and other wonderful posts and links from #OutdoorFamilies!

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting this great comparison! I fall somewhere in the middle. My daughter, Emma, is older than your kids (she's 8) so it is a little easier to figure out her needs - I just ask her, and then override her decisions if necessary. LOL!
    A lot of what goes (or doesn't) in my pack is based on previous experience. For example, we never used to carry a first aid kit for a day hike in our pack. We changed that the day Emma stepped on wasp nest hidden under some leaves on a trail. Her and I both suffered stings. It was nasty and scary. So not only do we now carry a small first aid kit, we also have it customized with a few things that don't come in a standard, off-the-shelf set. It will serve us well to deal with incidents on the trail until we get back to our vehicle. We keep a bigger kit in the car in case the quick fix from the small kit isn't quite enough.
    The snack situation is always tricky. It never fails that when I pack a lot, it doesn't get eaten. And when I pack a small amount, everyone is starving. I get Emma to help with the snacks, giving her choice from a variety of options. This way, she can't complain that there is "nothing good" since she's the one who helped make the choices.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't wait until my children are a little older so they can start understanding the concept of "preparing for the outdoors" and like you said that way they can't complain!

      And BTW, that must have been horrible to step on a wasps nest! I hope no one had a bad reaction, that's always my fear.

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...