Top Tips For Family Hikes
Summer is finally here! Long, warm summer days are perfect for taking the kids on a family hike. Hiking is a popular activity in the US. In 2016 42.2 million Americans went hiking, with 15% of participants aged 6-17. So, get the babies in their carriers, put on your hiking boots, leave technology behind and pack a bag for some adventures in the great outdoors. Here are some top tips for family hikes.
Choose the right route
Before you leave the house, think about the route you will be taking. Make sure it isn’t too long for the youngest walking member of your party. It is pretty much guaranteed that if it is too long, the little one will end up on Dad’s shoulders! For little ones, keep the routes interesting with plenty of things to see and do as you are walking. Just make sure you use the best hiking boots for wide feet to avoid slips and injuries. For example, changes in scenery, bridges, water crossings, rocks to clamber over or trees to climb. Keep your older children interested by involving them in route planning and navigation using a map and compass.
Equipment is key
To go on a hike, you and your children will need a good quality, sturdy pair of shoes or boots. Be prepared for all weathers with waterproofs, sun hats and an extra layer of warm clothing. If you have a little one, you will need to carry them in a carrier. Ensure it is comfortable before you start as an ill-fitting carrier could cause discomfort and injury. It may also help to use poles to reduce strain on knees by sharing the load more evenly across your body. Older kids can carry their own gear, and maybe some of yours, using a lightweight backpack. From a safety perspective, always carry a first aid kit as well as an emergency flare or whistle for each person.
Fuel for the family
As parents, we know that children, whatever their age, are always hungry so stock up on snacks before leaving the house. Foods such as dried fruits, nuts or fruit will keep them (and you!) fueled and it is always worth having chocolate or candies hidden away for when your kids get tired and need some bribery to keep going. It is also a lovely treat if you can schedule a cafe stop in during your hike just to keep the troops happy! Moreover, hiking is thirsty work so everyone will need plenty of water to keep them hydrated. This can be carried in metal water bottles designed to keep the water cool or in hydration backpacks.
Hiking with your family is a great way to enjoy the great outdoors. Choosing the right route and equipment alongside keeping the kids fueled with snacks will make sure everyone has a fun time and will want to go hiking again.