The main thing to consider when hiking with children is modifying how far to hike and the extra gear needed. Be prepared to shorten the trip considerably and take the time to just enjoy being outdoors.
Diapers are a big issue when hiking with little ones. Remember to never bury or burn diapers. You MUST take them with you when you leave the trail. Consider scraping the poop into a cat hole and putting the diaper in a plastic bag.
Children should be dressed in bright clothing and never in camouflage. Have fun and don't forget the snacks. See our checklists.
Leave No Trace
Remember to pack it in and pack it out. If it wasn't there when you came then don't leave it there when you head home.
Proper human waste disposal helps prevent the spread of disease. Cat holes should be six to eight inches deep and 200 feet from water, trails and campsites.
Never remove rocks, plants or other objects from a trail. Take only pictures home for memories. See poisonous plants to help you recognize them on the trail.
• Carry a whistle. It's louder than yelling and will last longer than your throat.
• Take your cell phone. It might or might not work in remote areas, but it's better to be safe than sorry.
• Hike with a friend. Hiking with a friend or a group increases your safety.
• Leave your itinerary with a family member. Remember to check in upon your return.
• Never climb on waterfalls.
• Stay on marked trails rather than wandering through the woods.
• Never drink water out of springs or lakes. There could be bacteria in the water.
Be prepared with a small first aid kit for minor scrapes and cuts. See our checklist to help you decide what to take on your adventure. Whether it's an afternoon walk on the trail or a three-day backpack trip, you always need a first aid kit.
Know your limit and take a break when you need to rest. It's not a good idea to take off on a three-day hike if you haven't exercised in a long time.
Trekking poles are used for safety and comfort while hiking. They are balancing sticks and can help prevent falls. Hiking poles are like an extra pair of legs and help maintain good posture and keep your arms up and active.
The poles should be adjusted so that your forearm is roughly horizontal. Adjust the pole on ascents and descents so that the pole when held vertically is still horizontal to your forearm.