When you’re going on holiday, it’s a no brainer you’ll take the whole family with you. But what happens if your holiday plans are a little more adventurous? We’ll walk you through hiking with kids, including what to know, where to go and how to become a hiking with kids pro.
Hiking with baby
When taking a baby hiking, your first concern will usually be around the fact that your child cannot walk, followed by them being exposed to the elements and then the lack of amenities in the local area. As a rule of thumb, we recommend that you wait until your baby is able to sit up on their own, usually when they are roughly six months old.
We also recommend you think about the following when taking a baby hiking:
• Research the climate and weather forecast beforehand and dress your child accordingly. It’s also best to take extra layers for your little one, as you can add or remove them as appropriate.
• Source a reliable and comfortable child carrier backpack. Decide which family memberwill carry your child and fit this backpack to suit your body. If someone else in your group is going to share carrying the baby during your hike, take this into consideration when deciding on a backpack and make yourself aware of how to adjust this suitably.
• Make sure to do a dry run with your baby at least a few days beforehand. This means you’ll be able to plan for any issues with carrying your child or their response to hiking in advance.
• Plan in regular breaks and familiarise yourself with the route so you can stop in an appropriate place if you need to.
• Pack the essentials and separate them out between the hikers. This spreads the load and means you’ll always have the fundamentals to hand should you need them.
Hiking with toddlers
So you’ve decided to go hiking with toddlers. Toddlers are some of the most inquisitive people in the world and are always full of questions about the world around them. Hiking with toddlers is a great way for them to get out into the fresh air and explore. It just happens that it’s also a great way to tire them out!
Before going hiking with kids, we suggest you:
• Still make plans to take a carrier of some kind. No one can fully anticipate when a toddler has had quite enough, so save your arms and go prepared.
• Make the hike as exciting as possible. Before heading out, research points of interest to stop at and enjoy so that you break up the walking for them. You can even bring buckets and spades so that they can play in shallow water or collect bugs along the route.
• Decide on your equipment well in advance. If you’re planning on pushing your toddler, bring a jogging stroller over their usual pram. This will be lighter and able to navigate the terrain a little easier.
• Choose a relatively flat terrain, or one with a slight incline, and go for a walkable distance for your child (should they choose to walk).
Trails for kids in the UK
Good hikes for kids usually involve some form of interaction with the trail. You know your children best, so find ways to engage them while you’re hiking and keep an eye on their mood before you set off. Trekking for kids is a fantastic way to ease them into outdoor activities and learn more about wildlife, flora and nature.
The best hikes for kids are interesting, relatively short in length and time and have regular breaks. Good hikes for kids are mainly flat, low to the ground and it’s best to stick to trails that are well-known. This means the paths are likely to be kept tidy and easily accessible, so you shouldn’t encounter any difficult obstructions or blockages.
Some of the best trails for kids in the UK include:
• Brecon Beacons National Park
• Peak District National Park
• Yorkshire Dales National Park
• Giant’s Causeway Green Trail, County Antrim
• Knole Deer Park All-Ability Walk, Kent
Essential gear for hiking with kids
When you’re off hiking with kids, there are some essential bits you’ll need to remember to take:
• Sun cream, insect repellent and kid’s hats
• Walking poles for the whole family
• Age-appropriate snacks and drinks
• Rucksacks for the whole family
• Durable, reliable walking boots and socks
• Jackets and suitable outdoor clothing
Remember to have fun while you’re out hiking with your children, keep them entertained and enjoy watching the wonder on their face as they start to understand the great outdoors.
Make sure your kids are fully kitted out for your adventure and browse kid’s outdoor clothing .