When setting off for a day or two of hiking with the family, there is some gear which is essential, especially if you’ll be doing any amount of trekking. While most of the gear you’ll bring along would be the same as if there were no kids in the hiking party, there are a few things you’ll want to have handy for the younger folks. If you are simply going to hike, the basic list will suffice, but if you will be trekking, don’t forget to search out the best hiking poles in appropriate sizes because you will really need them!

The Basic ‘Must Have’ List for Hikers

If you look anywhere around the web, the ‘must have’ assortment of carry-along items will be fairly common. Of course, you’ll want a backpack to carry it all in but within that bag you will want to have:

  • First Aid Kit
  • Flashlight
  • GPS/Compass/Map
  • Waterproof Matches or Lighter
  • Emergency Flasher
  • Good Socks
  • Water (and plenty of it!)
  • Food
  • Emergency Blankets
  • Mobile Phone
  • Dry Sack and/or Lightweight Pup Tent

It may seem like a lot for one person to carry, but when mom and at least one older kid is hiking with you, they can carry small backpacks as well. In fact, it is recommended they do so. This way, everyone can have their own little ‘extras’, which in some circles are considered to be ‘must haves.’

Those Little Extras Make All the Difference When Hiking with Kids

Getting ready to go on a hike is really exciting for kids, especially if they’ve never done so before. It’s a real adventure before they get out there and get going, but once the novelty wears off it’s, “Are we almost there yet? I’m tired. When can we rest? Hey, I’m hungry and thirsty!” And, so it goes. Here is where you neatly pack extra snacks in each kid’s backpack and an extra sports drink or two to keep them hydrated.

Although you can’t really pack any electronics beyond a small handheld game or cell phone with apps, you can put a small pack of crayons and a few sheets of paper in their pack if they are younger kids. Most children love to color and you could make it interesting by bringing coloring pages of wildlife and vegetation you hope to see along your hike.

And – The Icing on the Cake – Trekking Poles!

Finally, if kids start getting really antsy, get off trail a bit and let them have at it with their trekking poles. That’s really the whole fun of it for the kids. You’ll have a lighter or matches to light a campfire somewhere off trail, a few snacks to feed their by-now hungry bellies and some sports drinks to quench their thirst. Make it a picnic/trekking/hiking date and they’ll love nature just as much as you do. Well, maybe someday, but for now, you can ignite their interest if nothing more and give them a memory to last a lifetime.