View Full Version : Size of pack

03-07-2011, 23:07
I have been trying to figure out what size pack I would need for my hiking with my kids. My oldest is 10 and she will have her own regular pack so she can carry some stuff. My oldest son is 5 and he doe not have a real pack, just a small backpack for carrying his trail mix and 1 water bottle. My youngest is 3 and he does not carry anything. So should I look for a 50 - 70 or 90 liter size pack

03-07-2011, 23:14
To be honest it depends on the type of gear you are carrying and the duration. If you have light, compact gear like a Tarptent and down bags/quilts then you could get by with a smaller pack. Im assuming that you aren't doing any cold weather hiking with the little kids so your insulation layers/ bags should be lighter and smaller. A 50 liter pack may be large enough or you may need a 100 liter pack. It depends on what you are carrying.

03-08-2011, 01:29
With multiple children under 11, no matter how big the pack is .. you will fill it and still have additional things you think you should take - just in case. If you camp with your children in the back yard or "car camp", you will have a better idea of how much weight and bulk might be involved. Now that my children are all bigger than me, I'm the one carrying the small backpack with trail mix and 1 water bottle.

03-10-2011, 22:54
I take my five year old son for overnights several times a year. My pack size nearly doubles from 35 L pack and ~20 lbs to 60 L pack at ~35 lbs. Not only am I carrying his gear, but I also pack extra stuff just in case. Extra insulation, water, food ...
Cant imagine carrying gear for four!

03-11-2011, 10:19
We started hiking with our daughter when she was 4, and I think my pack was about 70 pounds. It's funny how much stuff you think you need when you take a small child into the big scary wilderness. We had two adults and one kid, which made it easier.

With three kids, and only one carrying his/her own gear, it's going to be a challenge. You will need to carry a 4 person tent, 3 sleeping bags (yours and the two youngest), 3 sleeping pads, enough food for 4 people for the entire hike, all of their clothing as well as your own, etc. That's going to require a fairly large pack. If you can share the load with a second adult, that would help, obviously.

The only way to buy a pack for this adventure is to get all the gear together and go to a decent outfitter and start filling up packs to see what fits. You'll need something with a large capacity as well as good weight handling abilities. (I could make you a deal on my old Gregory Shasta, in size Large, which is what I used to carry when we did family hikes. It'll carry 70 pounds and a lot of gear. But the Large size fits very few people. And it weighs over six pounds empty.)

The good news is that any hike you do should be fairly short, to a fun destination where the kids will find plenty of things to do. A creek or small pond is ideal. Two or three miles of hiking is more than plenty for the two youngest kids. Set up a base camp and explore the area. Have fun.

Feral Bill
03-11-2011, 11:41
Go big. You may have to add all sorts of stuff. I used a Dana Terraplane when my kids were small with no regrets.

03-11-2011, 23:22
I have been thinking about it all week. My oldest is my daughter and she is 10. She is 4 foot 11 inches tall, so she is the size of a small woman. I figure I could get her a small woman's pack and she can take some stuff. My oldest son is 5 and he has a school pack which he can carry 1 bottle of water and some of his clothes. But I would keep the weight down. The youngest is 3 and he carries some trail mix and some toys for him self. We got a 3 person tent that is 7 feet by 7 feet. Right know it is set up in the basement and i am having them get use to it. We all fit in to it. thanks

03-12-2011, 19:38
Go big. You may have to add all sorts of stuff. I used a Dana Terraplane when my kids were small with no regrets.

Absolutely. 80+ Liters...

03-15-2011, 23:19
Agree that big is the way to go. It's not that you'll be carrying great weight, but you'll be carrying bulk...extra clothes, stuffed bunny rabbits.... It also lets dad carry most of the gear, while mom remains free to move fast, as an excited little one often requires.

My daughter is almost 30 now, but I still have the huge Gregory Cassin I bought to use when we went out with her as a little one. (We started with her at age 4, too.) In a few years, I intend to use it with my granddaughter!