Our family has been hiking out to see waterfalls, scenic overlooks and historic landmarks for years. This is the best season of the year to get out there and explore new trails. If you are new to family hiking, there are a few essential pieces of gear that will make your hiking adventure a more enjoyable experience.
Affiliate links are included. Some products were received to faciliate this post.
Essential Gear for Family Hiking
Family hiking is a great way to get the family out in nature and make some memories you’ll never forget. Here are 10 things that you don’t want to forget when you head out on your next family hiking adventure.
The Right Backpack
The number one mistake I see families make when we pass them on the trails is that they don’t have a backpack to carry their gear. I always carry the family backpack with the things we need, but the kids have their own backpacks that they carry as well. Sometimes we have let the kids just use simple drawstring bags where they have their own water bottle and snack bar, but recently we have been replacing and upgrading their bags so they have one with the weight-bearing strap across the chest and/or waist as well as padded shoulder straps.
Having the right backpack that fits each person is essential. You want the backpack to be a comfortable thing that almost gets forgotten while you are hiking.
We were on a hike recently where we saw a young college age hiker who had no water, backpack or any gear. She had a map and looked like she was planning to be out hiking for quite a while. We were kind of concerned because it was a hot summer day and she didn’t look like she was prepared to stay hydrated.
Whether you choose to use a filtered water bottle, pack multiple water bottles for each person or use a camelback bladder backpack, plan to carry enough water for each person.
We always pack snacks even if we don’t plan on taking all day hikes. We typically go about 1-2 hours out on the hike then stop at a pretty overlook or waterfall and let everyone refuel. Make sure you think about snacks that won’t get ruined with the heat or be squished in a backpack. Chocolate and bananas are not good options. But granola bars, trail mix or apples pack well.
If you hike very long at all, you will find that you need facilities and most of the time there are no restrooms out on hiking trails. Take along simple TP Kits that allow you to be prepared for any emergency. These small kits include 5 Tissues, 2 Wet Wipes and Zero Waste. They are 100% biodegradable and fit easily in your hiking backpack.
Everyone generates trash in their day to day life. We always take a plastic bag so we can contain our own personal trash and then pick up other trash as we are hiking out.
Ditch the Itch Cream
If you spend much time out in nature, you will eventually come in contact with poison ivy, bug bites or even stinging weeds. Don’t let itches ruin your day of adventure. Pack a tube of Ditch the Itch Cream and keep everyone comfortable.
First Aid Kit
On the same page as anti-itch cream is the importance of having a first aid kit in your backpack. This doesn’t have to be an elaborate kit, just make sure you have bandaids, tweezers for splinters, headache medicine and some sunscreen. Think about what your family might need and then make sure everything you need is included in your kit.
Our family has their favorite hiking sticks that we take on every hiking adventure but if you forget one, you can probably find one when you arrive at a trailhead and find that other hikers have left one. You have to wonder what stories these sticks could tell..
There are always amazing things to see when you spend time out in nature. Whether you take a camera or a phone, make sure you have a way to capture some of the memories on your hikes. Just be careful when you are crossing creeks or navigating muddy paths. From personal experience, I can tell you that cameras don’t do well when dropped facedown in mud. Put them in your pocket or backpack when you are not using them.
If you carry a full size camera, use a harness strap. It keeps the weight off your back and you are always ready to shoot a photo.
Being out in nature can make your mouth dry. We always keep a pack of gum in the outside pocket so it is easy to access on the trail.
Wet Weather Gear
Pack a lightweight poncho, hat and ziploc bags in case of a pop-up storm. There’s nothing worse than getting caught in the rain with no way to keep yourself and your valuables dry.
Do you enjoy hiking with your family? Got any great tips for gear that you pack with you? I’d love to hear!