Backpacking With Kids: Tips Which Can Make A Difference!

How do you envisage backpacking with your kids? Do you view it as grueling, sadistic experience where your wife drags your reluctant, complaining 5 year old up the trail, or do you view it as an opportunity to introduce your child to the bountiful wonders of nature? Actually, your first-ever backpacking trip with your kid can become a memory to cherish forever, or it can be a horrid nightmare! It all depends on how you plan your excursion, and how well you prepare yourself before going. Why let your apprehensions make you take a step back from going backpacking when you can arrange a dream weekend just by following these simple tricks?

So before you start making preparations…..

Act Wisely While Making A Tour Plan


Face it! At the starter level, you cannot expect your tot to “climb every mountain” and have all the fun of trekking with you. So you better choose short trails and make sure that the spot you choose does not have much elevation gain. Instead, go for spots that have lakes, waterfalls or at least ponds along the way. Children love water, you know.

One more thing!  Keep in mind that you may need to adjust your hike as per the comfort level of your bundle of joy. Complying with his or her level of comfort, you may have to adjust your reaching time.

The Next Step Is…

 Once you decide a spot, you should start making preparations before you go. You can…

  • Invite Your Buddies Who Have Kids To Join You: Admit it! Your kids may get turned off with you after a while. With playfellows they will enjoy the access to companionship throughout the trail.


  • Rehearse:  Give your children a taste of what the trail is going to be like.  You can start by taking them for an extended walk (perhaps 2 hours?). Make them carry their own pack- simply keep it lightweight. Subsequently, allow them to carry a little more weight each time.


  • Replicate Camping At Home:  You can pitch a tent in the patio and let your kids sleep overnight inside it. This will make them at ease with a new sleeping setting.


  • Take Care Of The Fire Restrictions:  Before leaving, check the backcountry fire limitations at your destination. Know if campfires are allowed or banned there.

Of course, you should start packing some days before you start trailing…

But What Are The Must Haves While You Are Backpacking With Kids?

Keep this checklist handy before you go.

  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray.
  • Snacks.
  • Stuffed animal
  • Suitable clothes for all possible weather conditions.
  • Extra clothes.
  • Foldable walking stick.
  • First aid box that contains lots of adhesive bandages of different sizes and colors, calamine lotion for bug bites, moleskin for blisters, a lot of anti-bacterial wipes, Epipen (if your child has allergy) , children’s Tylenol and/or ibuprofen and tweezers to take out ticks, needles and splinters.
However, if your child is very small, make sure that you carry a kid pack with some light gear and make someone else carry the rest of the supplies.

Once You Are Out …

….keep these points in mind

  • Be Practical: Restrict the hiking time on the trail to 4-5 hours everyday.
  • Keep Patience: Don’t lose your temper if they stop and ask you questions. They may spot the first woodpecker or trillium.
  • Make Sure That The Kids participate Too: While you play the Sherpa so the journey does not become tedious to your younger ones, you can make them carry their sleeping bags, water, snacks and perhaps, rain gear. Don’t forget to praise them about how well they are doing.


 With this write up as your aid, you can have a framework that elucidates the different ways by which you can introduce your kids to the wonders of backpacking. Of course, with your experience, and practical presence of mind, you can have a dream time with your family while you are out for backpacking.