Preparing for a hike with children takes some thought and planning. There is a fine line between over-preparation and ignoring safety concerns. The first things you will need to consider are the ages of your children and their abilities. Pick a hike that is easy for everyone, yet that has something interesting to hook them.
- How far do you think they will be able to walk?
- Is the hike appropriate for the weather conditions?
- How long will it take to drive to the trailhead?
- What kinds of permits do you need?
- Do you have the pertinent maps and directions?
- Do you have a friend to join you on your adventure?
I like to pack my gear the night before to make it easier to get out the door in the morning. I keep most of my hiking gear in a tote in a closet so it is easy to assemble. Spare clothes go into large Ziploc type bags. Additional spare clothes go into a bag in the car in case we all get wet or muddy. I pack lunches and lots of snacks that are easy to eat in the car and on the trail. I bring extra food and water to have in the car in case we eat all our food on the trail, and so we don’t have to stop on the way home. I get the water bottles ready and make sure everything is by the door, ready to go. Many people have a checklist they use every time the pack, and that can help speed up the process and ensure you don’t forget crucial pieces of gear.