View Full Version : Need Information About Hiking the AT with Kids

09-29-2005, 04:25
Hello, I am new to this site. I have been wanting to hike the AT for many years. My family thinks that I have lost my mind. I have three children we go camping and hiking all the time. My question is how safe is the AT for a woman and three children. I would also like some insite on what a good weight is for them on such a long trail. The oldest is 15 male, second oldest is 14 female, and the youngest is 10 female.
I would like to get any input. Good or Bad.

09-29-2005, 04:44
Hello, I am new to this site. I have been wanting to hike the AT for many years. My family thinks that I have lost my mind. I have three children we go camping and hiking all the time. My question is how safe is the AT for a woman and three children. I would also like some insite on what a good weight is for them on such a long trail. The oldest is 15 male, second oldest is 14 female, and the youngest is 10 female.
I would like to get any input. Good or Bad.
:) If you haven't read this journal yet, check it out.



09-29-2005, 06:56
Are you thinking about thru-hiking the AT or section hiking? It seems like there are a lot of considerations around taking teens and older children on a thru-hike - that I really can't speak to with experience, although I can raise issues - but section hiking ought to be absolutely okay, no different than anywhere else you've hiked.

I guess my biggest concern around a possible thru-hike with kids would be making sure they want it as much as you do. Five or six months is a huge amount of time to be out on the trail for anyone, and you need to make sure it's your kids' dream, too, not just yours. Then, too, I assume either you are homeschooling or planning to homeschool that year, because you won't be able to do an entire thru-hike just in their summer vacation.

The two teens ought to be able to carry as much as you do and will probably hike your feet off! The 10 year old will need to have some pretty serious stamina but again, if she's hiking all the time with you anyway, that maybe won't be such a huge jump.

Safety, other than random events, shouldn't be a problem. You'll basically be hiking with two other adult-sized people... plus most people are generally very nice to children. I bet your kids would have a ball getting to know the other hikers and hearing their stories - my kids always do, anyhow.

As I say, though, my biggest concern would be making sure you and your kids are on the exact same page about doing a thru-hike at all. Being away from friends, school, sports, activities etc. at this age can seem like a lifetime - and kids don't have the perspective that it will all be there when they get back.

I'd be interested to hear how your planning is going and whether you do decide to go.

Jane in CT

Red Hat
09-29-2005, 12:44
I second reading the Troll family journal and even contacting them by email. They were great to hike with this year and I know will give good advice. Red Hat

09-29-2005, 13:45
I couldn't imagine hiking with 3 kids. There must be a lot of love in that family.:)

09-30-2005, 00:53
the older two should be fine to section hike. i have a 10 year old daughter, 4'-2" or so, about 70 lbs... she can just barely carry her own bag, clothes, water, and pack, and not too far at that. i have to schlep her food and shelter. but that's her and me.... your mileage may vary... a previous poster's advice about their dedication to the goal is worth considering... just doing a section hike is a whole different matter.

the answer to your direct question of 'is it safe for a woman to hike with three children?' is yes, i think it is. yes, there are some wackos out there, but i run into more nuts in a single trip to walmart on an evening after 7 pm than i ever have in a week on the trail... i'd leave my daughter to cook dinner while i went for more water a quarter mile away sooner than leave her alone in the walmart lobby. (i live in a really small town... all we have is walmart...)

on a separate note, i think poster "just jeff" has a pretty good section on his website about hiking with kids...


09-30-2005, 03:21
We plan to Thru not section. I can section on any trail we have been planning this for over two years now. Hoping to start in middle of April 2006.

09-30-2005, 03:28
I am like any other parent out there. I want what is best for my kids and don't intend to push them into anything they are not ready for. That said, we plan to Thru hike the AT in 2006. And when I say plan that is what I mean. I am not going out there with the ideal that we will accomplish the intire trail. I know that kids have limits me too for that. We would like to hike the intire trail but if it turns out not to happen the first time then that's ok. I don't intend to push and endanger them at all. We know that we may not complete the trail. But we do want to start with the intention of trying to finish it. I love my kids more than life it self and we just want to get as much information as possible so we have the opportunity to try.

09-30-2005, 07:23
Hey, I don't think anyone here thinks you want to endanger or harm your children. If we thought hiking the AT was dangerous or harmful, we wouldn't do it, either! I was just asking a couple of questions to clarify your plans, since it wasn't clear from the first post if you planned to thru-hike or not. If your kids are on board with the idea, and you have a plan for what that year is going to mean in terms of their education, why not go for it? My only reservation... and maybe it's just me ... is that it seems like, from what I've heard, a thru-hike is just an incredibly intense undertaking. On my longer section hikes, I've definitely thought, wow, could I take this for 5-6 months? Not only the physical work, which is considerable, but the mental and emotional toll involved in walking over 2,000 miles. I am not sure even an adult fully understands and can contemplate what something like that can mean, much less a child. However, many kids and teens can be incredibly determined, and can accomplish great things if given the chance. So, as I say, good luck to you!

Jane in CT

09-30-2005, 18:07
Thank you for your honesty. On the AT what is a good weight we are trying to plan for 7-9 days food at a time is this too many days. What types of food do you use dehydrated or MRE. Also about how much water do you think we should carry per person.

10-01-2005, 01:48
kids are a lot more adaptable than we give them credit for, and have the added advantage of not having as many preconceived notions, with less 'programming' of what's really 'needed' in life. they'll be fine.

water-i have not been out (willingly) for more than 10 days at a time, in the smokies (i meandered a lot, not just on the AT), but my general impression is that most people seem to believe that carrying 2 qts/liters is sufficient, with another group saying that just 1 is fine. i'm sure there will be comments confirming and countering that. but that's ok... that's what this forum is about-exchanging ideas. well, ok, we argue some too, but you know what i mean... depending on where i am and if i'm alone or not, i carry different amounts... more here in LA on one trail, less if in the smokies, less still if canoeing.

food-a rule of thumb is 1.5-2lbs/person/day. obviously, dehydrated food weighs much less than 'average', and fresh food (like fruit, meat, and veggies) weighs more... somewhere in the middle is the truth. you have kids, and i'd bet they will eat a bit less than a 25 yr old 180lb male... the AT has a lot of resupply opportunities, and i remember reading a thread somewhere here that the average thruhiker carrried about 4 days of food with them, with variations of from 2-8 days.... again, i'm sure there will be comments for you to read about that issue as well.

pack weight is wide open to discussion... a general rule of 20-25% of body weight is a good place to start. i think that works for adults, but wouldn't expect my 70lb 10 year old to carry 14-17 lbs... I don't even like to carry that much! :D she's good for about 5 lbs (a change of clothes, her sleeping bag, a small flashlight, water, the book she insists on taking, and that's about it.) i lean way to the lightweight side of things... i'm 41, my back and knees hurt, and i refuse to sleep on the ground anymore. spent a few years abusing my body in the army, and i just don't like it. i caught the 'light' bug and have a base pack weight of about 12-15 lbs... i live south of you, in LA, and have an easier climate to deal with than my brother in upstate NY, for example... if i camp with him in the fall i need more stuff (raingear, fleece, stocking cap) than camping down here in the summer, and my base weight goes up to about 15-17 lbs... (we also fish, so i'm including the weight of a rod, reel, and really small tackle box). some people carry more 'stuff' in order to be more physically comfortable (stool/pillow), participate in a hobby (fish, photography), or 'just in case' (extra pants). some folks "need" a walkman, radio, cell phone, tent, gas stove, 6lb pack, or butane curling iron. it's all a matter of comfort/priorities. i get by without any electronic devices, use a hammock, an alcohol stove, and have a very lightweight pack to carry my light load... but it took awhile to get there. and i adapt to each trip. if on a trip with my brother, i may carry fishing gear. if in the smokies, i may carry one less water bottle. if in a new area, i may borrow a GPS to get a better idea of exactly where a trail goes (especially if it's not already marked on the map). if i'm scouting a future hunting area, or just feel like trying to sneak up on some deer, i'll carry a pair of binoculars to help. you'll have to experiement on your own to figure out the difference between your 'needs' and your 'wants'... this is a good forum to help get advice for that. also, i think there was a poll on here about average pack weight.

one of the best methods of getting advice is to just post a packing list... you'll get all sorts of comments, mostly blunt, honest, and full of experience. listen to the comments, decide what to change, if anything, and go out overnight with it. figure out how it worked, make changes, and post another list. we'll help you figure it out.

good luck.

10-01-2005, 02:53
Thanks Seeker,
Right now my pack is about 42 pounds I need HELP getting the weight down. My 10 year olds pack is about 15 pounds so you can see I need help.

What should we pack and not pack. And that 42 pounds is without clothes.

10-01-2005, 12:14
It won't be a popular opinion, but I say push them, and it isn't a democracy. Someone has to be in charge. It sounds like you would neve endanger them, and you know your kids better than anyone. I would suggest that you include them in planning, gear buying, and getting your pack weight down. Let them help you do research on how to get the weight down, discuss how some of you will be weaker than others on different days, and how to divide up the gear throughout the trip. Rotate who is in charge of camp, breaks, etc. You set the parameters, so they know what they have to work with - ex. "We have 6 months to get from GA to ME."; "We have to do 12 miles tomorrow."

I've been trying to get my weight down, too. I'm reading this book, "Beyond Backpacking", by Ray Jardine; ISBN 0-9632359-3-1. I'm not going to make my own pack, but I am going to make the quilt in the book, instead of carrying a commercial bag. It has some great tips and patterns, and might be worth the read. Don't carry more than 7 days of food, and get creative with food weight. Dehydrate your meals ("Backpack Gourmet", by Linda Frederick Yaffee; ISBN 0-8117-2634-7), and add WPI (whey protein isolate) to things like oatmeal, most dinners, and baked items. Try to go organic whenever possible, because the chemicals in processed food will put more of a strain on your body, which will cause it to scream for more water, and sap your energy. Especially use organic with coffee and dairy products.

Just Jeff
10-01-2005, 14:49
I haven't thru-hiked yet, but I hike with my kids pretty often. Here are some things I would consider...just my opinions:

Ten Essentials - Obviously, make sure they're always carrying these at all times while hiking. It's easy to get lax on this in camp (not that it's right), but I make sure my kids at least carry the whistle with them...no exceptions. Even when they go get water. Your kids are all old enough to know how to use a compass, so make sure they do.

Food - You can get by with 3-5 days of food on most of the AT.

Hitchhiking - Most people seem to hitch to town for resupply. It'll be a little tougher to find a hitch for three people instead of 1-2, and you'll have to explain to your kids about safety of hitching. OTOH, whackos will probably pick up individuals and pass by groups of 4, so it'll probably equal out in the end.

Pace - You probably already have this down, but I know my kids get frustrated with each other sometimes when one wants to hike faster than the other. On a weekender this isn't really a problem, but over 6 months it may become an issue. (OTOH, I'm sure you'll eventually settle into a pace if everyone is having fun.) Additionally, can your 10 year old hike 15 miles a day? Mine can't. That means you may not finish in 6 months. No big deal if you're SOBO, I guess, but if NOBO you may not reach Katahdin before the trail closes in October.

Education - This can take a lot of time away from hiking, or mean more zero days, depending on how you structure it. Hiking can be an education in itself, obviously, but the state doesn't see it that way. Homeschooling along the way is an option...just have the kids carry one subject at a time and maildrop the other books ahead. I know at the end of a long day, studying is the last thing I feel like doing, though. Or maybe you can homeschool them on the "advanced track" before you leave, then play catch-up when you're done, and they'll fit right back in with their peers soon after the trip.

Exposure - They'll see many things on the AT that you don't generally see on shorter and less-populated trails, that may make you uncomfortable. Pot smoking in shelters, for example. Stumbling upon a couple having sex near the trail doesn't actually happen very often, but it's possible. Most people are very respectful and I'd say it's probably a healthier environment than a big city, but the "thru-hiking community" is still a bit different than "normal society" so you'll have new situations to consider.

Hiking styles - Hiking all day may be enjoyable for you, and for your kids on shorter sections, but 6 months of it may not be enough stimulation for your daughter. You know her better than any of us, though...I'm just offering something to consider.

Regarding democracy - The kids need a leader, but if you're out there long-term they'll to be able to offer input, too. I often push my kids on shorter trips, just like frieden says, but thru-hiking changes the whole situation. Pushing them hard when they know they're going home in two days gives them an achievable target, and they know that soon they'll have a big feeling of accomplishment. Pushing them hard when they're staring down six months of the same is an entirely different situation. Again - you know your kids better than we do...push them however you see fit.

Make it fun! I know I dreamed of something like this when I was 10 but never even came close to this kind of opportunity! The biggest issue for me today would be the education.

Just Jeff
10-01-2005, 14:58
Oh yeah - definitely agree with frieden. Read Jardine's Beyond Backpacking. He has lots of good ideas in there, even if you don't make your own gear. Offers a new way of looking at everything in your pack, and I'm positive you'll knock off at least 15 lbs if you apply his principles.

Not that everything in there is the gospel some people believe it is, but he does have some great ideas.

10-01-2005, 18:37
Jeff, on the education front, we are planning a thru for spring 2008, and have already decided that when we finish for the year in May or June of 2007 (the two I am hiking with will be finishing grades 8 and 10 by that point), we'll just start right in with grades 9 and 11 and go full-force so we're done by our start date. I am figuring that a six-day week, together with working all summer long, should probably do it. (As a side note, my kids who will be staying home will also be on the same schedule, so I don't have to worry about anybody not working while we're gone). I am also thinking we will probably drop most activities (theatre, Scouts, miscellaneous classes) during that leadup year, so the only thing we have to concentrate on is our schoolwork and preparing for the hike.

Jane in CT

10-01-2005, 19:27
You say in the initial post that you go camping and hiking with them all the time. How is everyone at the end of a weeklong hike? A two-week hike? Your question about pack weights implies to me that the four of you have not hiked that long or that far as a group.

I second (third, fourth...) the idea that everyone in the group has to buy into the plan on their own, and not just because you think it's a good idea, or because you don't have anyone else to take care of them while you hike.

BTW, I have three adult children who were 1) homeschooled 2) dragged all over the Europe during seven of their formative years and 3) who have done a lot of camping and hiking as well. The longest hike I took with a ten-year-old was the West Highland Way in Scotland, which is about 93 miles long, an easy week's hike. (Which we slacked, using a van service. And eating in pubs and tea houses and restaurants.) The ten-year-old enjoyed himself but found walking rather too slow for his taste and amused himself by annoying his sister and me. (He pretended we were yaks and he herded us by slapping us with his gloves. That got old to us, but not to him.)

Obviously I don't know you at all, but as the parent of three children I am incredulous to the point of disbelief that all three of your children think this is a great idea. If they do, I wish you all luck and I hope to see you out there next year--when I plan to attempt my "empty-nest" thru.

Just Jeff
10-01-2005, 19:32
...when I plan to attempt my "empty-nest" thru.
I'm counting down the days, too! Coincidentally, my 6 year old graduates the same year I retire from the AF. Hope he doesn't mind if I bring my pack to his graduation...

10-01-2005, 19:36
I'm counting down the days, too! Coincidentally, my 6 year old graduates the same year I retire from the AF.

That is impecable timing!

10-01-2005, 21:10
My 14 year old girl is the only concern when it comes to them wanting it or not. I have had problems with her not wanting to pull her own weight. But other than that they all want too.
We have done several week and weekend hikes but only one two week or longer hike. The problem I am having with the pack weight is because it is such a long period of time. I'm not exactly sure what to leave at home. When we did our other hikes we werent far from home and had plenty of money incase we needed something extra.
I have homeschooled for two years. They are in school this year and back in homeschool next year for the AT.
We have had alot of financial problems the past two years and will be on very limited funds. My ten year old was hit by a car in March of 2004 So it has been along time getting back to the point of being able to do any long hikes.
We plan on going to local trails for a couple of weeks to a month before the AT. I want to make sure that my youngest is going to be able to go to the AT. It has been a long road and lots of physical therapy but we have the go ahead from all her doctors now and plan to start training this month.
Training will include bike riding and walking long distances in the beginning, then adding our packs while walking. I figure by December we will be walking with our packs.

For our longer trips in the past this is a list of items.
Extra pants or shorts which ever we were'nt wearing
extra shirt
two pairs of socks
first aid kit
head lamp (for each of us)
extra lithium batteries
two small cook sets
cozy's (each)
one liter water bottles (each)
water filter
rain jacket (each)
boots (each)
sandles (each)
light sticks (mainly for the youngest)
fuel (Trioxane)
stove (I use a pineapple can)
food (everyone carried their own)
deck of cards
mini monopoly game
radio for weather
whistle (each)
wash cloth (each)
soap, shampoo (incase we stopped at a campground)

I seem to have collected more stuff since then. Also should I send some of it ahead or carry. Alot of the weight is fuel and food. I purchased some MRE's not realizing the amount of weight would be so much more.

Just Jeff
10-01-2005, 21:47
You can break down the MREs into component pieces and ditch what you don't need or like. Then throw away the cardboard boxes (except one for heating with, assuming you have the new ones). With MREs you don't need a stove, either. Still heavier than other types of food, but you can cut some of the weight.

I generally carry things like quick-cooking pasta like macaroni and cheese, some Liptons (now Knorr's) sides, some bagels with summer sausage and cheese, tortillas, tuna packs to add to the Liptons, some fresh fruit and lots of snickers. Pop tarts are pretty good, too, but they can get crumbly.

There are many many many posts on how to cut weight...search around. I assume you already have the gear you need, but if you're looking to cut weight here are some general ideas...again, just my opinions:

The easiest way to cut weight is pack, shelter, bag. What are you doing for shelter? A four-person tent? 4 bivy sacks? Probably somewhere in between. It might be hard to find a place for a 4 person tent along parts of the trail, btw. Two 2-person shelters would be a good mix of convenience and weight/cost savings, IMO. If you can't afford the expensive stuff, just get a cheap old tarp and add some bug net. Granny Gatewood hiked with a shower curtain for a tarp.

Once you get the weight and bulk down, there are several options for lightweight packs. You can easily find a comfortable one for 2-3 lbs.

Bags get more expensive, but plenty of people hike with Campmor 20F bags...they're a good mix of weight and cost. You can cut even more weight by making yourself a quilt, if you're into that.

Of course, I'd recommend trying out a hammock, but that's a whole 'nother story...

10-02-2005, 01:00
regarding "pushing" your kids, you're the best judge of that. however, they're like a brand new horse or ox team... only one failure, one pound too heavy to pull, will cause that new team to quit, convinced that they can't do it... and it will ruin them. kids aren't too far off that, though you can talk to them, as opposed to animals. i took my then 4 and 8 year olds on a too-long hike once... the little one made it 7.5 miles before falling asleep on her feet...i carried her the remaining half mile. the older one made it the whole 8 miles... fortunately, it was 4 miles up, 4 miles downhill... (middle prong fork trail to indian flats falls in the GSMNP). the older one generally doesn't go with me anymore... the little one still does, but only because she doesn't remember...

however, as a success story, one of our first 'camping trips' was to the mount collins shelter, also in the GSMNP. the cool thing is, it's only a half mile off the road to clingman's dome. my girls packed their school backpacks with a change of clothes and sleeping bags. probably 4# each... they were about 5 and 9 then. i carried the food and other 'stuff' they just had to have at that age... we hadn't gone 100 yards down the trail when the oldest said her pack was heavy, and asked if i could carry it... it's only half a mile, so i stopped, slipped it on frontwise, and we went on... my little one has a mouth... and she immediately jumped on the older one, saying how it wasn't fair to make me carry her pack, etc... she only took another 50 yards to call another halt, this time to tell me 'toria's right dad... i should carry my own pack... i'll do it'... she did, and i didn't hear one single word of complaint the rest of the weekend from her... peer pressure/sibling rivalry/whatever... it can work wonders...

true democracy only works to a point... you're still the parent, and responsible for your kids. (i know you know... but i'm just laying out my point... no preachiness intended.) i choose to use enlightened monarchy... include others in the planning... make it their idea, and once they buy into it, they have ownership and will be enthused about it... but they have to know that you're still the parent, and still in charge. if there's a change in plans, you have the experience to make the hard call to curtail the day's hiking due to weather, or fatigue, or whatever, if necessary...

"stuff". i'm going to copy your list here, in bold italics, and add my comments, if any.

extra shirt hopefully not cotton.
two pairs of socks total or extra? only need one extra.
underclothing why? girls may need bras, but all can hike in swimtrunks with a built in liner... $9 at walmart.
first aid kit be careful of weight here. don't carry too much, tempered with not enough. see first aid kit thread at this site.
head lamp (for each of us) 1-2oz is ok. have seen heavier.
extra lithium batteries assuming for headlamps. why? figure out how long they should last, and resupply before then by bounce box. not as cost effective, but lighter.
two small cook sets why two? or do you mean two pots? 2l and 1.5l should be about right.
cozies (each) i assume these are for each person's pot/bowl? may be too many, or i'm not understanding what you mean...
one liter water bottles (each)
water filter why? bandana to strain if needed, Aqua Mira to purify. to me, it's a no brainer-saves 13 oz (vs a 16oz filter i used to have), though some people still feel the need to 'filter' their water... (but, then, there are also people out there who will actually pay over $2 for 20 oz of "vitamin fortified water", yet gripe about $2.50 for a gallon of gasoline.)
rain jacket (each) watch the weight here. stearns set (walmart, $25) is about 24oz. military poncho is also 24oz. driducks suit, also $25, is just 10 oz. stearns is sturdier, driducks is much more fragile.
boots (each) why boots and not sneakers/running shoes?
sandels (each) why?
light sticks (mainly for the youngest) why?
fuel (Trioxane)
stove (I use a pineapple can)
food (everyone carried their own)
deck of cards i found a kids deck of mini cards for about $2.50. or, cut them in half either way, widthwise or lengthwise, to lighten.
mini monopoly game up to you.
radio for weather again, up to you... i'm pretty good at the weather and don't need a long range forecast once i've decided to go... once i'm out in it, i have to continue on rain or shine, hot or cold. i can generally feel rain coming the day beforehand, and even my 10 year old can smell it coming an hour or so beforehand, on the wind... i didn't have to teach her that either... she just up and mentioned it one day, before i even noticed... darned if she wasn't right... anyway, i just go with the flow. and depending on where you are, the weather report won't neccessarily be accurate. it rains in the smokies every afternoon, in summer, regardless of the knoxville forecast. temps are usually 10-20* off too, especially at night.
whistle (each)
wash cloth (each)
soap, shampoo (incase we stopped at a campground)

you've not mentioned anything about packs, tents, sleeping bags and pads, or kitchen stuff, all of which can be really heavy. that's where you can save a lot of weight.

10-02-2005, 02:10
amazing how you can remember something 45 minutes later...

ray jardine's book. get it. read it. taste/chew/swallow it... but don't digest all of it... seriously, it's a good book, philosophy is good as far as getting you to thinking about WHY you carry what you do, but i don't completely agree with all of it. still, i own it, it's a good book, and worth reading and re-reading... will definately help you lighten your load.

MREs. i ate them in the army, both in peacetime and while deployed, for 11 years. they suck for camping... they taste ok, contain foods you can get elsewhere in a can (but in a foilish type bag), and are heavy. they are NOT designed to be lightweight backpacking meals. they are simply a solution to the army's logisitical problem of feeding a soldier a meal that will sustain him without the trouble of cooking it for him. early on, they contained some dehydrated portions (fruit was GREAT. beef and pork patties were good enough), but due to the large numbers of complaints by infantrymen (who had to carry and use 2 qts of their own water to rehydrate them, as opposed to us tankers, who had our abrams tanks to carry 5 whole gallons of water, as did much of the rest of the army), they were discontinued in favor of fully hydrated foods... they are not a good option for camping. you can feed more people for less weight per person, and carry your own lifesavers, tootsie rolls, instant coffee, creamer, sugar, salt, pepper, toilet paper, and gum. the 'cake' items are usually flattened beyond recognition and you're better off carrying your own chips ahoy or oreo cookies for snacks. the fruit is no better than stuff from a package (dole school snack packs), though it might be a larger portion. like jeff said, a couple packages of lipton/knorr noodles with a foil package of pre-cooked chicken meat thrown in, serves more for the weight. i was always astounded by the amount of packaging too... you can break them down, getting rid of the spoon, cardboard boxes, heater, outer package, and any other unused/unwanted items, but there's still a lot of wasted weight in the packages... they're designed to keep the food good for several years at summer temps, and several more years if kept in cold storage, be rugged enough to survive days of abrasion and crushing in a rucksack, and there was a standard for being dropped from a height as well, though i can't remember it... all overkill for camping.

10-02-2005, 06:03
To the question about tent, sleeping bags, pad, and kitchen stuff. Right now we have a 4 person tent 7lbs, I read that there may not be ample space to set one up of that size. So we are rethinking the tent. The problem with tents is there is myself female, a 14 year old female and a 10 year old female. Also my son is 15 I know he wants his own tent but the 14 year old and ten year old want to be in my tent. Even if I get them to bunk together and I would have one and my son would have one then we have three tents to carry. I'm thinking that would be more damage to the area than one large or two smaller ones.

Our sleeping bags are rated at 20+ and only weight 1.5 pounds. We do have fleece liners and silk liners not sure which one would be best.

I havent purchased new sleeping pads yet. Do you know of good lightweight ones.

Our kitchen contains two pineapple can stoves. Two pots for boiling water, sporks and a cup each
I am trying out the freezer bag cooking next weekend. I read some recipes about using instant potatoes and adding powdered butter and milk to the bag and then only needing to add water later. Also ones on instant rice etc. Not sure the kids will go for it yet but going to give it a try maybe it will help lighten the load using other recipes like that one.

Our rain jackets I bought on clearence at Walmart for $3 each they are only 5 ozs each and fold up very small so they don't take up alot of space.

I think our packs are too heavy but don't have the finances to replace them at current. I'm not sure about the girls packs I think they are under 3 lbs. each. My sons is 4.5 lbs and mine is 5.5 lbs. They are internal frame packs My sons is the only one that has acess to the metal frame system and could be removed without damage to the pack. Unforturnaly mine can't.

I choose hiking boots because of the location of where we live there isnt many places to shop for hiking equiptment. All we have is a Walmart but because of the town we live in there is not many places to hike or anything long distance. They don't carry the same stuff as other Walmarts do in towns closer to like the OT etc...

shades of blue
10-02-2005, 08:51
Long distance hikers tend to not get enough nutrients on the trail. It's way to easy to eat candy bars and liptons and then fill up in town. Adults can handle the malnutrition better than a growing child. I would talk to a nutritionist or someone else knowledgable about what a 10/14 year old needs for growing bones and ect. I'm not saying don't go for it...I think it's a great idea, you just may want to really think through the food issue.
BTW...when I hiked, I got away with 3-4 days of food almost the entire trail.....Maine was a little more difficult with that average, but in my opinion it's worth the trip into town to not carry alot more weight in food.

10-02-2005, 11:38
Read the Troll family journal!! Amazing family!

I took Snowman's boys over for a section hike at the end of May. They are 10 & 12. They had never backpacked before or really hiked long distances. They were amazing! Doing 10 and 11 miles days nearly right away!

Snowman and I carried most of the food for all 4 of us so I can't really provide much info on that.

As far as safety - I would feel safer on the trail with kids than I would at a shopping mall!! People on the trail take care of each other - possibly not outright (like carrying your stuff - haha) but in ways that you know you are safe. Hard to explain.

But definitely contact the Troll family! Good Luck!

Jack Tarlin
10-02-2005, 13:16
You might want to check out long-distance hiker Cindy Ross' excellent book "Kids in the Wild: A Family Guide to Outdoor Recreation" (Mountainerrs Books).