Family hiking trips are a great way to get the whole family outdoors and moving. Especially with fall around the corner, there is no better time of the year to go on an adventure and get your kids excited about exploring nature. But planning any trip or activity with the whole family can take some preparation. When going hiking, especially, you need to be sure that you’re bringing along all the right things so that everyone can be sure to enjoy the day on the trails and be prepared for rain or shine. Here are our top things to pack for your family hiking trip.
As with any hiking trip, it’s important to check the weather before hitting the trails. Especially if you’re going hiking in the fall months, the weather can range anywhere from sweltering to chilly, so be sure that you and your family are prepped for temperatures and weather conditions. If you are going hiking with kids, it’s even more important to ensure that you are all prepared for the weather conditions. For example, kid’s outerwear is important when hiking in cooler or uncertain weather conditions to be sure your kids don’t get cold, wet, or have a terrible time while hiking. Be sure to bring appropriate footwear for the kind of hike you are doing and definitely hats for the whole family. Hats not only protect you from harmful UV rays but also from bugs.
Snack attacks are a regular occurrence when on a hiking trip, especially if you have kids with you! Be sure to bring along ample snacks for you and the kiddies so that no one gets grumpy along the way. Opt for healthy and energy fueling snacks such as fruits, energy bars, nuts, and sandwiches. Avoid processed foods that may give you a nice quick fill but don’t actually last very long in terms of energy. Pack a small lunch box with healthy snacks and plan to stop along your hike for a small picnic to refuel and refresh.
No matter what kind of hike you’re taking, it’s vital that you bring along water. Pack enough water for everyone in your daypacks to stay hydrated the whole hike. Even if the weather is cooler, you will still be losing water while hiking. Keep enough water on hand for all of you, and be sure to drink along the way to stay healthy and hydrated for your whole hike.
Depending on the nature of your hike, you will want to take a relatively comprehensive first aid kid. You probably don’t need much more than the basics for day hikes, such as Band-Aids, bandages, antibiotic ointment, and scissors. If you are going on a multi-day hike with the family, however, then perhaps you will want to bring along a more comprehensive first aid kit. Especially if you have children with you, who tend to fall and scrape their knees more often. In addition to a first aid kit, be sure to bring alone sunscreen, bug spray, and tick repellent. Depending on what the climate or environment is like where you are hiking, you will want to be sure you are all protected from harmful UV rays and insect bites. Kids especially can react more strongly to bug bites, so be sure to use a gentle kid-friendly insect repellent on children so they can avoid getting nibbled.
Just like most outdoor activities, layers are important. It’s easier to bring along some layers and take them off or put them on instead of getting too hot, too cold, or wet. Luckily, most outdoor brands make lightweight and compact layers made just for all your outdoor adventures, so you don’t have to worry about carrying anything too bulky around or hauling too much weight. One of our favorite go-to lightweight hiking layers for the whole family is the packable jacket and packable vests. They are must-haves for families who love spending time in the great outdoors. Lightweight, versatile, and easy to unpack and pack, packable outerwear will ensure that if the temperatures drop or the rain comes, you’ll be properly prepared.
No hiking trip is complete without backpacks. Luckily, you can find the perfect hiking backpacks for the whole family. Even if they’re not carrying much of anything, have your kids bring along their kid's backpacks so they can carry an extra layer with them. Also, you can play a game with your kids while hiking, such as a scavenger hunt, where they find certain elements in nature along the way. You can also encourage them to collect scavenger hunt items in the backpacks along the way, but recommend they can also put the items back into nature when going home.
For the adults, be sure you have a lightweight and comfortable backpack that is good for hiking where you can carry things you need, such as snacks, water, first aid items, and layers. You also will likely want to carry some things for your kids, so be sure you pack your bag with some room to spare just in case they don’t feel like carrying their own sweatshirts around anymore.
Family hiking is one of the best ways to have fun and get outside with the whole family. It’s also a wonderfully valuable way to teach kids more about the natural world and to help them feel more comfortable exploring and exercising. Be sure to pack these top items for your trip to ensure that everyone has a great time.