Hiking with Children

Table of Contents

What should they carry ?

When planning a long hike with children, it’s important to make sure that they are carrying a backpack that is appropriate for their size and strength. As a general rule, children should carry a backpack that is no more than 10-15% of their body weight. Here are some items that children can be responsible for carrying:

  1. Water: Each child should carry their own water bottle or hydration pack, filled with enough water to last for the duration of the hike.
  2. Snacks: Depending on the length of the hike, children can be responsible for carrying their own snacks, such as trail mix, fruit, or energy bars.
  3. Sun protection: Children can carry their own sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats to protect themselves from the sun.
  4. Extra clothing: Depending on the weather, children may need to carry extra clothing, such as a rain jacket, gloves, or a hat.
  5. First aid kit: Depending on the length and difficulty of the hike, children can be responsible for carrying a small first aid kit that includes items such as band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and insect repellent.
  6. Map and compass: If the hike requires navigation, older children can be responsible for carrying a map and compass.

It’s important to remember that children should not be overburdened with too much weight, so parents should be prepared to carry some of the items if necessary. When assigning items for children to carry, consider their age, strength, and hiking experience.

How do you keep them from getting bored ?

Going on a long hike with children can be a fun and rewarding experience for the whole family, but it can also be challenging to keep children occupied and entertained during the journey. Here are some suggestions on how to keep children engaged and interested during a long hike:

  1. Make it a game: Turn the hike into a scavenger hunt or a treasure hunt. Make a list of things to look for along the way, such as a certain type of flower, a particular tree, or a rock formation. You can also hide small prizes along the trail for the children to find.
  2. Bring a nature guidebook: Encourage children to identify plants, birds, and insects using a guidebook. This can be a great opportunity for learning about local flora and fauna.
  3. Pack snacks and drinks: Bring plenty of snacks and water to keep children energized and hydrated. Consider bringing some healthy treats like fruit, trail mix or granola bars, which can also serve as a fun and engaging activity in itself.
  4. Play I Spy: This classic game can be played anywhere, including on a hike. Children can take turns looking for something that begins with a particular letter or identifying something in a certain color.
  5. Bring a camera: Give children a camera or a smartphone with a camera and encourage them to take pictures of interesting things along the way. This can be a fun way for children to document the hike and also learn about composition and perspective.
  6. Take breaks: Plan regular breaks along the hike where children can rest, play games or explore their surroundings. This can help break up the monotony of walking and make the hike more enjoyable for children.
  7. Make it educational: Use the hike as an opportunity to teach children about local history, geology, or ecology. Find out about any landmarks or historical sites along the trail and take the time to explain their significance.

Overall, the key to keeping children engaged during a long hike is to make it fun, interactive, and engaging. With a little planning and creativity, you can turn a long hike into a memorable adventure for the whole family.

Oops.. . . The sun went down – Now What ?

If you are planning a hike with children, it’s important to plan your route so that you will have plenty of daylight to complete the hike. However, in case the hike takes longer than expected and you find yourself hiking after dark, here are some precautions and activities to keep in mind:


  1. Make sure everyone has a flashlight or headlamp. It’s important to have a reliable light source to navigate the trail in the dark.
  2. Stay together as a group. It’s important to keep everyone together and avoid getting separated.
  3. Slow down and take your time. Hiking in the dark can be more challenging, so it’s important to take your time and be careful.
  4. Stay on the trail. It can be easy to get disoriented in the dark, so it’s important to stay on the marked trail.


  1. Stargazing: If you are in an area with clear skies, take the opportunity to look at the stars. It can be a great way to learn about constellations and astronomy.
  2. Nighttime wildlife watching: Some animals, such as bats and owls, are more active at night. Listen and watch for signs of wildlife activity.
  3. Play flashlight tag: A game of flashlight tag can be a fun way to keep children entertained and engaged.
  4. Share stories: Sitting around a campfire or under the stars can be a great time to share stories, sing songs, or tell jokes.
  5. Nighttime photography: If you have a camera or a smartphone with a camera, take some nighttime photos. Experiment with long exposures and try to capture the beauty of the nighttime landscape.

Remember, hiking in the dark requires extra precautions, so it’s important to be prepared and stay safe. Always prioritize safety over any activities and make sure to follow all park or trail regulations.

Staying on the trail while hiking In The dark

Hiking in the dark can be challenging and it’s easy to become disoriented, even on a trail you are familiar with. Here are some tips to help you stay on track and avoid getting lost:

  1. Use a map and compass: Make sure you have a map of the trail and a compass to help you navigate. Take a moment to orient yourself before setting out.
  2. Follow the markers: Most trails have markers or blazes that indicate the route. Look for these markers and follow them closely.
  3. Use your flashlight or headlamp: Make sure to keep your flashlight or headlamp on and pointed at the trail. This will help you see where you are going and avoid tripping on obstacles.
  4. Stay on the trail: It can be tempting to take shortcuts or explore side trails, but it’s important to stay on the marked trail to avoid getting lost.
  5. Travel in a group: If possible, travel with a group and stay together. This can help ensure that everyone stays on the trail and no one gets lost.
  6. Listen for sounds: Use your ears as well as your eyes. Listen for sounds of running water, wildlife, or other features that may be familiar.
  7. Know your landmarks: If you are hiking in an area with distinct landmarks, such as a mountain peak or a river, use these as reference points to help you stay on track.
  8. Don’t panic: If you do get lost, try to stay calm and focused. Use your map and compass to orient yourself and retrace your steps if necessary.

Remember, hiking in the dark can be more challenging than hiking during the day, so it’s important to take extra precautions and stay alert. Always make sure to follow park or trail regulations and prioritize safety over any activities.

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