I love hiking and going to the beach but it's hard when you have little ones. I always find myself struggling on my packing list (cause we all know with kids its more of a packing list than grabbing your bag and walking out the door) and how to pack the lightest with two little ones. I've learned to finally figure out how to do so and though I don't go out as much as I would love to I have managed to make my hikes much happier and lighter. Here's a few of my must haves for hiking with my little ones and why I choose to bring each of these items.
Hiking with kids means being ready for any scenario possible, especially if you are hiking with two little ones. My girls are 1 and 3 at the moment and I've had my fair share of stops, early turn around points, snack times, water breaks, and of course, the lovely potty time in the woods. Lets start off with the most important one on my list. Hydration! I can't stress enough how important water is especially on a hike with 2 little ones on a hot summer day in lovely Oahu, Hawaii. The days can be nice and cool but can get up in the 90's and over heating and thirst is a huge thing so hydration is a must. I usually take either my Camel-Back or my Hydroflask (both can be found in "Shop Gear" on my menu) depending on how long the hike is. If it's a fairly long one ("time-wise" not "length-wise", hiking with kids can take much longer than on your own) I would bring both my Hydroflask and the Camel-Back and have my daughter carry the Camel-Back. I will fill both up with water and ice so it can stay cool as long as possible.
Some of the stuff I take hiking with me are (left to right) my Sand Cloud bag/towel, my Ergo baby carrier, a camel back with ice cold water, my Hydroflask, my wallet, some snacks, my Raw Elements sunblock, my fully charged GoPro, hand sanitizer, and of course, my keys. I don't take all of this on one hike but I take what I need depending on the kind of hike I decide to do that day.
Snacks. We all have heard that one kid that is "Always Hungry!" That's my daughter all during the hike, "I'm hungry mom!" "Mommy I'm thirsty!" "Mommy is it snack time yet?" So yes, bring tons of snacks. I usually bring small healthy and filling snacks like granola bars, oatmeal cookies, granola trail mix, etc.
I try to avoid sugars and sweets during a hike cause it's not the kind of food they need when they're burning tons of calories walking a few miles like the big guys. They're little people so two miles for us is like 5 miles for their little feet.
Hiking means being outdoors so be aware of where you're going. Always bring mosquito repellent, sunblock, sunglasses, a hat, etc depending on where you're hiking. Obviously if it's shaded you may not need sunglasses and sunblock but may needed a bunch of mosquito repellent so always be aware. I always just take it with me and spray them down before starting the hike and leave all the bottles in the car. I will just take the small tiny bottles of sunblock or mosquito repellent just in case. That way I don't have to carry so much.
If you're hiking with infants then that means bottles, stopping to feed, nursing sessions, changing diapers, and baby carriers. For diapers I usually put two in my Ergo with a small ziploc bag with wipes. I love using my Ergo baby carrier cause this way I can nurse my little one while I'm still hiking and cover her head up for comfort, stability, and privacy. Also beats carrying a bottle everywhere and stopping for feeding sessions. I also love my Ergo cause it puts less strain on my back. With two c-sections, I've been diagnosed with arthritis on my lower back and a occipital nerve block where my neck and head connect. Trust me the pain can be miserable especially on a hike but when I switched to the Ergo, I haven't had anymore issues like before. Yes I will be sore obviously but it won't be to the point that I can't finish the hike or it takes me hours to finish it cause of the pain. Plus the Ergo is also good for your child. The position the baby sits is perfect for their hips and avoids them getting hip dysplasia down the road. That's a huge plus for me. Plus did I mention how comfy they are??
Another thing to always have handy is hand sanitizer. You wouldn't believe that stuff kids want to pick up. My youngest picked up a snail once and tried to eat it. At first I thought it was a rock she was playing with until I saw her try to eat it. Yes! Very disgusting and I went crazy with hand sanitizer washing her down. My oldest has a thing with picking up sticks. She loves to collect sticks. You should see my trunk. She always stores her sticks in the trunk of my car. I keep throwing a few away here and there cause if not I would never have any trunk space. My oldest is also my clumsy child. I'm sure we all have that one child that just trips with every root, stick, stone, or even their own two feet. That's Bella! I have yet to do a hike without her falling at least three times. I always have a small first aid kit in the car but for the remainder of the hike I wash out her cuts and scratches with hand sanitizer and then pour some cool water on it from our Hydroflask. I usually put long pants on her during hikes now just for that reason.
Last but not least... a bag to put it all in. I love using my towel bag from Sand Cloud cause I can take it out and lay it on the ground on our resting points and use it as a snack time picnic blanket. If not I also like to use my CamelBack. I usually get the one that have a pocket to put my things in. Kind of like a small book-bag. They're awesome to have. Water plus all of your stuff all in one place. Who can beat that???? Besides the Sand Cloud bag.
Well I hope this helps all you mothers, fathers, babysitters, aunties, uncles... out there. I've learned from all of my hikes and still learn from each one something new. Kids always keep you on the go and each hike there's something new. It might be something small like maybe I should try this snack and see how long she lasts before she says I'm hungry again, to something like how much water should I bring? Or maybe I should keep some alcohol wipes on me and band-aids. It's different for everyone but this is what usually works best for me. Feel free to comment below with your tips and tricks or even packing list for your keiki (children) hiking adventures. I love to read comments and feedback. If you like this post feel free to share it with your family and friends. :)
Disclaimer: Affiliate links are posted on this blog post. All opinions are my own and I have not been compensated for this post. Always remember to dispose of your trash properly and to always take care of yourself and your kids. Always go prepared and don't do something that seems dangerous. Hydration is very important, especially for the little ones that are full of energy. Remember to take breaks according to your child's needs.
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Eco-Friendly travels around the US and the world with our family with hopes to inspire others to unplug and adventure the world.
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I'm a crafty explorer who loves the ocean, the great outdoors, animals, planet earth, and creating wearable art out of beach treasures. I love the beach, traveling, and exploring new places around me with my mermaid family. I hope you like my blog.