As the weather turns cooler (okay, downright COLD!), your family may begin to feel cabin fever! Family hiking is a great remedy for that, plus your kids will get to experience the great outdoors. Hiking with children takes some extra preparation, but the extra steps are worth the experience.
Get The Gear
The right equipment is essential for planning a successful hike with children. If you have a baby, number one on that list is a baby carrier. You’ll need one that provides adequate comfort and support for your baby, and is comfortable for you as well. For younger babies, you’ll need a front carrier, with baby facing you. Older babies are still carried in the front, but once they are completely comfortable supporting the weight of their head, they can face out and enjoy more of the scenery. Most carriers covert to the back so you can still carry toddlers who may not be able to handle the walking. Visit an outdoors store, try on a few carriers with your baby, and get the expert opinion of employees!
You’ll also need to be prepared for anything. Diaper changes, spit ups, hunger, everything you’d be prepared to deal with at home, you’ll need to be ready for on the trail. Have your pack ready with diapers, wipes, diaper cream, a change of clothes, a nursing cover for nursing moms, or formula, snacks, water, and any medications your child may need. Also pack a first aid kit to deal with bug bites, blisters, or anything that may pop up on the trail.
Find a trail
There are many family friendly trails that can accommodate you and your children. Check out the Sierra Club website for a database of trails. Organizations like Hike It Baby have organized group hikes that provide the support of a group leader, and the company of other adults and kids. If you are going to go it alone, be sure to do a trial run first, and take a well-populated trail.
Hiking is a great activity for the fall and even into the winter depending on the weather. Hit the trails with your family this season and enjoy the beauty of nature.