Hiking and Tramping. Part 1


Traveling with children is an adventure all its own. You’ve finally arrived at your destination unscathed, now what to do? Adventure touring is possible with little ones, as long as you choose your activities wisely. Certainly bungee jumping is out of the question. However a family backpacking trip or day hike may be just the ticket.

Kids love the outdoors and it is always surprising to view the world through their little eyes. On one memorable occasion, we took our oldest daughter backpacking when she was just 11 months old and barely walking. She rode in a backpack for the six-mile trek to the campsite. When we arrived at the site, we marveled at how intensely she examined each leaf, piece of moss and berry she found.

If you decide that adventure travel is for your family, first decide what you want to do based upon your interests and fitness level. Educate yourself and your kids about where you are going and what you might see. Then, choose the length and duration of the trip based upon the ages and skills of your children. Preschoolers can walk a mile or so with adequate rest breaks and an infant can ride comfortably in a backpack (over four months of age) or front pack (under four months of age). Each child that walks can carry a small backpack with his or her own sunscreen, sun hat and small snack. Kids love to carry their own stuff. It makes them feel important and helpful. If your infant is riding in front pack, it is possible to carry a light rucksack on your back, but the bulk of the gear will have to be carried by the strongest person in the family. Many adventure-touring groups have package deals suitable for families with young children.

Make sure each person has well-fitted, broken-in shoes and adequate clothing for the weather. Dressing in layers is the best way to accomplish this. The first layer should consist of something light and breathable, second layer should be warm and also breathable, like polar fleece, and a light wind-resistant third layer. Remember to bring rain gear for everyone. Dry, comfortable kids are happy kids.

Food and Beverages
Enough food is a requirement for any outdoor adventure. Kids expend a lot of energy and need refueling often. High-energy nutritious snacks and meals are a good way to replenish their energy reserves. Things that pack easily are dried fruit and nut mixes, granola bars and homemade energy bars. Avoid candy bars and simple sugars. They may give quick energy, but it doesn’t last very long, and after the body has used all the sugar, fatigue may be the result.

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