|Mamá Selfie - Photo Courtesy of Two Groms and a Mom|
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|
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.
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
- 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
- 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.
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
- 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
- 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.
- 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?
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