Hiking is a great activity for kids for a number of reasons. It teaches them about nature and the environment, and it gets them active and moving. Hiking can also be a fun way to explore new places and see things that they wouldn’t see if they were just walking or driving around. Plus, it’s a great family activity that everyone can enjoy together. If you’re planning on taking your kids hiking, it’s important to make sure that they have the proper hiking gear.
While adult hikers can get by with just a few key items, kids often need a little bit more gear to keep them safe and comfortable on the trail. Here are 20 essential pieces of hiking gear for kids that will make your next hike a success.
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This post is all about hiking gear for kids
20 Must-have Items for Hiking with Kids
There are many things you can bring on your hike with your family. However, you want to keep it to the essentials as you do not want to be weighed down. If there is too much to carry the kids and adults will both start getting grumpy. Try to keep it simple and avoid any hiccups along the way.
As you hike more and more you will soon find there are certain items you want to add to your list and some you will want to leave behind.
Starting with a basic list of hiking gear for kids like this is a great place to begin!
1. A Good Pair of Shoes
The most important piece of gear for any hiker, kid or adult, is a good pair of shoes. Hiking shoes should be comfortable, durable, and provide good traction. They don’t have to be super expensive or fancy, but they should be well-made and fit well.
2. A Comfortable Backpack
A backpack is essential for carrying all of your child’s gear on the hike. Look for a backpack that is comfortable to wear, with straps that adjust to fit your child’s body. The backpack should also have enough space to carry everything your child needs, without being too big or bulky.
3. Plenty of Water
It’s important to stay hydrated when hiking, especially in hot weather. Kids can get dehydrated quickly, so be sure to pack plenty of water for them to drink throughout the hike. A CamelBak or other type of water reservoir is a good option, as it will allow your child to drink without stopping to rest.
4. Healthy Snacks
Hiking can be hard work, and kids will need energy to make it up the trail. Pack some healthy snacks like granola bars, fruit, or nuts to keep their energy levels up. Avoid sugary snacks that will give them a quick sugar rush followed by a crash.
5. A First Aid Kit
A first aid kit is always a good idea when hiking, as you never know when someone might need it. Be sure to pack bandages, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers in case of any minor injuries. If anyone in your group has allergies, be sure to include medication like EpiPens in the kit.
6. A map and Compass
If you’re hiking in an unfamiliar area, be sure to bring a map and compass. This will help you stay on the trail and avoid getting lost. It’s also a good idea to teach your kids how to read a map and use a compass before the hike, so they can help navigated if needed.
7. A flashlight
Even if you’re planning on hiking during the daytime, it’s a good idea to pack a flashlight. If you get lost or run into trouble, a flashlight can be used to signal for help. It can also be used to light the way if you have to hike in the dark.
8. A whistle
A whistle is a small but essential piece of gear for any hiker. If you get lost, a whistle can be used to signal for help. It can also be used to scare away animals if they come too close.
9. Rain gear
If you’re hiking in an area with a lot of rainfall, be sure to pack rain gear for your kids. This includes a raincoat, rain pants, and waterproof shoes or boots. Rain gear will keep your kids dry and comfortable, even if the weather takes a turn for the worse.
10. A hat
A hat is important for protecting your child’s head from the sun. It can also help keep their head warm in cold weather. A wide-brimmed hat is ideal, as it will provide the most coverage.
Sunglasses are important for protecting your child’s eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays. They can also help reduce glare when hiking in bright conditions. Be sure to pack a pair of sunglasses that fit your child’s face well and provide good coverage.
Sunscreen is essential for hiking gear for protecting your kids skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Be sure to apply sunscreen to all exposed skin, including the face, neck, arms, and legs. Reapply sunscreen every few hours, or as needed.
13. Insect repellent
Insect repellent can help keep bugs away from your child while hiking. Be sure to choose an insect repellent that is safe for kids and apply it liberally to exposed skin. Reapply as needed, especially if your child is sweating or swimming.
14. A change of clothes
It’s always a good idea to pack a change of clothes for your child, just in case they get wet or dirty on the hike. Be sure to choose clothes that are comfortable and appropriate for the weather conditions. Pack extra socks and underwear, as these items are often the first to get wet or dirty.
15. A small backpack
A small backpack is perfect for carrying all of your child’s gear on the hike. Be sure to choose a backpack that is comfortable and sized appropriately for your child. They should be able to carry it without too much difficulty.
16. Walkie Talkies
If you have more than one child hiking with you, walkie talkies can be a great way to stay in touch. They can also be used to communicate with other hikers in your group. Be sure to pack extra batteries and keep the walkie talkies in a waterproof bag.
17. A camera
A camera is a great way to capture memories of your hike. Be sure to pack a camera that is durable and easy to use. A disposable camera can be a good option, as they are often less expensive and easier to carry.
18. A notepad and pencil
A notepad and pencil can be used to write down directions, take notes, or draw pictures. They can also be used to leave messages for other hikers. Be sure to pack a small notepad and pencil that are easy to carry.
Binoculars can be used to see animals or scenery that is far away. They can also be used to signal for help if you get lost. Be sure to pack a pair of binoculars that are small and easy to carry.
20. Hiking Poles
Hiking poles can be used to help with balance and stability when hiking. They can also be used to probe for depth when crossing streams or rivers. Be sure to pack a pair of hiking poles that are the right size for your child.
Hiking with a Baby or Toddler
If you have a baby or toddler you can go hiking with them if you have the right gear. This includes a baby carrier, diapers and wipes, formula or food, and extra clothes. You’ll also want to pack a sunscreen and insect repellent for the baby. Be sure to carry all of this gear in a backpack or sling so that your hands are free to hike.
There are also hiking strollers as well as backpacks that are designed to carry young children. These can be a great option if you plan on hiking with your child on a regular basis.
Baby Carrier vs. Hiking Strollers
There are a few things to consider when deciding whether to use a baby carrier or hiking stroller on your hike. If you will be hiking on rugged terrain, a stroller may not be practical. Strollers are also more difficult to carry up and down hills. Baby carriers can be hot in warm weather, but they allow you to keep your child close to your body. This can be comforting for both you and your child.
Hiking with a Dog & Toddler
If you plan on bringing a young child hiking with your dog may be a good choice. There are a few things you need to consider though. First, you’ll need to make sure that your dog is well-behaved and will not disturb other hikers on the trail. You’ll also want to keep your dog on a leash at all times. You’ll need to pack extra water and food for your dog, as well as a bowl for them to drink out of. Be sure to clean up after your dog if they make any messes on the trail.
Hiking with Older Children, Teens and Tweens
If you have an older child, they may be able to help carry some of the gear. This can help lighten your load and make the hike more enjoyable for everyone. You’ll want to be sure to pack extra snacks and water for older children, as they will likely get hungry more quickly. You may also want to bring a first-aid kit as older children are more likely to get hurt on the trail.
Quick Packing Tips for Teens
One of the best ways to make hiking fun for teens is to get them involved in the planning process. Let them help choose the destination, pack the gear, and plan the route. This will help them feel more invested in the hike and they will be more likely to enjoy it.
Another way to make hiking fun for teens is to make it a competition. See who can collect the most leaves or find the best stick. This will help them to focus on their surroundings and have more fun on the hike.
Finally, be sure to pack plenty of snacks and water for your teen. They are likely to get hungry more quickly than adults and will need more fuel to keep going. Pack some snacks that are high in energy, such as granola bars or trail mix.
Tips for Hiking with Children
There are a few things you can do to make hiking with kids easier and more enjoyable. First, be sure to plan your hike in advance. Choose a trail that is appropriate for your child’s age and skill level. Second, be sure to pack plenty of snacks and water. Third, be sure to pack a first-aid kit. Fourth, be sure to bring a map of the area. Fifth, be sure to teach your child basic safety rules before heading out on the hike. Sixth, be sure to stay together as a group while hiking. Finally, be sure to have fun!
I hope this list of hiking gear for kids helped you feel confident on your next hiking adventure!
This post was all about hiking gear for kids.