5 tips for hiking with kids

Thank-You BODYARMOR sports drink for sponsoring this post.  All opinions are entirely my own.  

I arrived home this week from a weeklong vacation in South Dakota with my family.  We spent the majority of our days outside hiking and observing nature while visiting national parks and monuments.  Although I wasn’t sure if my kids would be able to handle all of the activities we had planned they ended up doing a great job. Preparing correctly and communicating with our kids was key to the success.  It was essential to discuss what we expected safety wise from our kids beforehand, along with telling them what they were to expect from each activity we had planned.

There were a few times that I felt out of my comfort zone as a parent, but it was fantastic for my kids to get out and explore nature.  I don’t think we give our kids credit for everything they can accomplish, and how much they understand.  It was so much fun watching them explore all of the beauty that being outside had to offer.  I don’t think they mentioned wanting to play on their electronics once.  Well, maybe a few times on our 10-hour ride home. 

Here are some tips I have for you for taking hiking trips with kids. 

Bring plenty of drinks and snacks- I can’t stress this one enough.  Nothing can disrupt a family outing like a child who needs something to eat or drink.  My husband and I have gotten into the habit of bringing filling snacks and drinks with us on vacations or any family outing where the children are going to be active.  Not all snacks and drinks are created equal.  Great snacks include nuts, jerky, energy bites and fruit.  BODYARMOR sports drink provides superior hydration and is packed with electrolytes, coconut water, vitamins and natural sweeteners.  My kids love their flavors and I do too.  Having something sweet to drink – especially something that includes natural ingredients – helps motivate them when we want them to last longer on our hikes.

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Hike early in the morning- When you are hiking with your kids, it is always a good idea to head out early in the morning.  My kids wake up at the crack of dawn anyway, so they’re in a good mood.  It is cooler in the morning, trails are more peaceful and if you’re looking to see some wildlife, getting to the trails earlier in the morning is a good idea.  When we take our kid’s hiking, we like to be done by noon, when it starts to get warm.

Have the proper gear for carrying kids- Our kids are 6, 4 and 1.  Our two older kids do well hiking a few miles, but we still need to take our one-year-old in a carrier.  Make sure you have a hiking backpack that you and your child feel comfortable in and make sure you test the carrier out before heading out on a long trail.

Choose the right hike and take breaks- If your kids are still young like mine are then make sure you research the type of hike you plan to take before setting off.  It is not a great idea to take children on a hike they can’t handle.  You might end up carrying them the whole time, and the point of hiking as a family is for everyone to have fun.  I think that 1-2 miles long enough for kids under the age of 10, and if your kids get tired, let them rest!  Perhaps you can get some family photos in while you are taking a break!

5. Let them explore! – Going outside and exploring nature is such a wonderful thing to do!  Kids are curious about the world and so we should be too!  If your kids want to stop and watch wildlife, let them!  Show them how much they can enjoy themselves!

A happy family equals a happy hike.  I still think that the most important thing is making sure that your family is well hydrated and full.

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