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Wanna go for a hike? Hiking is one of our favorite past times to do as a family. There’s just something about being together in nature, by ourselves as a family that creates a bonding time like no other. My daughter learns while we’re on a hike. My hubby gets away from the hustle and bustle of daily life and I personally get to step away from work for a while and unwind in a way that I can’t manage to do at any other time. Planning a hiking trip that is “perfect” can be really hard for any hiker but especially if you’re hiking with kids. Little people have special needs and if you’re walking more than a short bit, you’ll need to make sure that you prepare for those needs. In any case, there are a few things you can do to help yourself plan your perfect trip so that the memories are awesome instead of stressed or worse.
Hiking is a great activity, even if you hate walking. When you take a hiking trip, you’re doing much more than taking a simple walk. You’re putting yourself in an area that you may or may not be comfortable with, you’re doing an activity that is healthy for you rather than simply sitting at home on the couch, and if you go hiking with kids, you’re taking the time to teach them about not only nature, but health and parenting too. Yes, taking a hiking trip with your kids helps to teach them that when they grow up and have children, they should spend quality time with them.
I know that we’re all looking to save as much money as possible, but hiking gear is the one thing that you don’t want to skimp on. The last thing you want is to get out on a hiking trail, miles away from civilzation and have your equipment fail. This is where cashback sites like Ebates can be a huge help. Use them to shop at places like REI and other locations that sell good quality gear so that you earn a bit of cashback on your purchases. Plus, they’ll give you a $10 free gift card when you make your first purchase over $25.00 so hey, you can’t beat “free” cash.
Hiking with Kids: Planning a Hiking Trip
Before you even start to plan your hiking trip, you’ll need to figure out where you’re going to hike at. If you’re taking your kids along, make sure that the area that you’re headed to will be easily for them to walk and climb if needed. Hiking trips that involve kids should also be kept shorter too. In other words, you wouldn’t want to hike the Appalachin Trail with your five year old. If you’re hiking by yourself then by all means plan a big trip like that if you want. I suggest that you plan your hiking locations first for one reason. If you know where you are hiking at, you can prepare for everything possible situation as much as possible. If you try to prepare beforehand, you may miss something like a closed trail or expected bad weather.
Plan how long your hiking trip will be – How long you spend on your hiking trip will depend on a few things so you’ll need to take into consideration things like whether you’re hiking with kids, if you’ve got to be back to work on Monday, if your hiking trail is only open to hikers at specific hours, and other issues that could affect how long you spend out. The length of your hiking trip should always be the first or second thing that you plan. The rest of your planning will depend on how long you’re staying out. The gear you take, the food you need and so on will all change based on the number of hours or days that you’re hiking. If you need a quick hike, a lot of state or national parks have fantastic hiking locations that can be hiked in just a few hours or a single day.
Plan the gear you’ll be taking on your hiking trip – If you’re planning on being out overnight or longer, you’ll need to prepare some gear. No matter how long your hiking trip will last, you’re going to need a good quality hiking backpack. This is especially important if you’re hiking with kids so that you’ll have a place to carry snacks and other things they may need. Other hiking gear that you will want to consider is a waterproof bag to keep your clothing dry, sleeping bag that is rated to whatever temperature you’ll be dealing with, backpacking tent, a mess kit to eat with, Kelly Kettle for boiling water, lighter if you plan to start fires and so on. If you’re bringing the kids along, make sure that you also have a change of clothing for them, extra socks and shoes in case theirs get wet and items they will need to sleep if you’re camping (Six Dollar Family) overnight on the hiking trail.
Plan your meals for your hiking trip – When you’re hiking, you’ll want to travel light, but you also need to make sure that you are able to eat the calories that your body needs if you’re going to be out for any specific length of time. Backpacking food like Backpackers Pantry or Mountain House can be a great option since they’re both yummy and weight practically nothing but they can also get expensive. To help cut down on costs you can carry things that you make at home like trail mix, dried jerky and other dehydrated foods. They’re easy to make at home and like the freeze dried stuff, they weigh next to nothing. Also, make sure you have plenty of water with you. Water is extremely heavy though so if you’re hiking for an extended period, a reusable water bottle with a filter or Camelbak might be your better option.
Plan snacks if you’re hiking with kids – If you’re only taking a day trip, you’ll still want to pack food and drinks. Make sure you pack a full meal, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches work just fine, if you’re going to be out past a normal meal time. Otherwise, snacks like trail mix and water or juice are a must have. If you’ll be carrying a baby with you, make sure to bring a bottle and other feeding accessories with you too.
Plan fun side activities if you’re hiking with kids – While your kids will enjoy being out in nature and being out with you, they will eventually get bored with just walking. To keep them from getting antsy, plan side activities like a nature scavenger hunt, rock hunting (Six Dollar Family), find a creek and let them wade in the water and more. The more you can do to keep their little minds active, the happier they will be and the more fun they will have. If you’re hiking in anational park, check out the Junior Ranger program. Your kids will have a blat and earn a reward if they can finish the requirements.
Plan for safety on your hiking trip – Finally, the biggest preparation you need to make when planning a hiking trip is safety. Consider picking up a portable gps if your phone might not get a signal and make sure you have some way (legal preferred here) to defend yourself if you happen to run into a wild animal in a bad mood. Whatever you use is your preference, but make sure you have it. You’ll also want to let your family know where you will be hiking and how long you expect to be gone. If you’re going to be gone for more than a day, try to give them a breakdown of where you are each day so that if something happens, they will know where abouts to check.
Like I said earlier, planning a hiking trip is incredibly important so please don’t try to go off hiking alone or with your kids wihtout doing it. Those woods, forests and paths might be beautiful but they can be dangerous. Take the time to plan things out and you’ll take the hiking trip that you’ve always dreamed of.