Beautiful weather is here, and everyone in the family is itching to get outside and enjoy nature. Before you hit the trail, be sure to pack these ten items for your tiny hikers. You won’t get caught unprepared in the middle of your favorite trail and the middle of a tantrum. Keep scrolling for our top 10 with hikers under five.
- Snacks – I know this seems obvious, but the reasons to bring all the treats are more than just hunger. Hiking isn’t always exciting for little ones, but M&Ms are usually pretty exciting. When the trail gets a little longer than planned, chocolate bribes are always acceptable. Also, all that exercise tends to make everyone hungrier (or even hangrier) than expected.
- A lot of water – Try and pack as much water as you can comfortably carry. We always go through my big bottle and each of my kids’ little bottles (they carry their bottles and cameras in their backpacks) by the end of the hike. Trust me on this one; you’ll need more than you think.
- Comfortable carrier – I’ve owned at least five different carriers, and this one is my favorite. It is best to have an option that won’t hurt your back, and it is easy to get off and on. My twins are four years old, and my youngest is 2. I have ended up carrying one or more of them on almost every trail we’ve explored.
- Sunscreen, bug spray, or full coverage clothes – hiking trails are unpredictable when it comes to sun and shade, but they are very predictable when it comes to bugs. It makes the day so much easier when you’re prepared for all the possible conditions. Pro Mom Tip: bring a sunscreen face stick for easy application. If you only have sunscreen spray/lotion, bring a makeup sponge to help spread it on without tears.
- TP Kit – Dirty knees and bottoms are inevitable and always inconvenient when you’re hiking. Regular wet wipes aren’t 100% biodegradable, and they can take up to 100 years to disappear. We love TP Kits because each pack comes with tough tissues, wet wipes and a resealable bag. Zero trace on little bodies and the environment.
- First aid must-haves – grab a small container of bandages and a tube of antibiotic ointment, and most scratches and scrapes are covered. Hiking comes with lots of obstacles for little legs, and a few falls are inevitable.
- All-terrain shoes – My kids live in Keen sandals. I don’t get paid to say that; it’s just that simple. The closed toes and sturdy soles protect their feet. I can throw them in the washer after a long morning in the mud, and they are seemingly indestructible.
- Portable cellphone charger – for starters, hiking with little ones makes for some adorable photos and great memories. Don’t let your phone die before you capture each one. More importantly, you don’t want to be in the middle of the woods without a phone if someone gets hurt or you need help.
- Back up clothes – your kiddos will get dirty, wet, have an accident and sweat a lot. No one wants to finish a hike in nasty clothes. Grab an extra pair to keep the whining to a minimum.
- Low expectations – maybe I should have put this first. You might end up going about 10 feet. You might end up going about a mile further than you expected. Your kiddo might stare at bugs for 10 minutes or throw rocks in the water for an hour. It is almost a guarantee that nothing will go as planned. That’s OK! The journey is fun when it comes to hiking with kids.
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