PDA

View Full Version : Hiking with a toddler



Rebekah
11-06-2013, 18:02
DD will be 21months when we plan to hike a section in Shenandoah. We're just at the beginning stages of the planning, but mostly have a route picked out that is very close to where my mother in law lives, has several road crossings, and not a lot of elevation changes. We're looking at about 12 miles over a 3 or 4 day period, then leaving DD with my MIL and hiking a few more days alone. I checked the average temps for the park in May and highs average in the 60s, lows in the 40s, so keeping her warm would be super important. I'm hoping she'll be potty trained by then as she's already peeing on the toilet on average once a day at 14 months. Otherwise I'd hope to use flat cloth diapers, but would use disposables if there would be a huge weight difference.

Anyone BTDT? Any gear must-haves? Recommendations for lightweight, warm, rain jackets? Experience (or faux pas I should know about) washing diapers on the trail?

I'm sure I'll be coming back with more focused questions in the coming months, but like I said, we're just starting to plan so any early help is much appreciated! Also, we're planning to do a couple local weekend trips before our trip in May. Thanks in advance!

johnnybgood
11-06-2013, 19:04
This is a first I believe, advice for backpacking with a toddler . Have you ever backpacked before ? You will need to carry your own tent as the month of May in Shenandoah will see an increase in thru hikers and shelters could get crowded. Weather is often unpredictable in higher elevations with springtime storms packing heavy rain and dangerous lightening.
You plan on carrying your daughter,using a child carrier or hope she will walk the trail holding your hand ? My thought on diapers is I don't have the first damn clue, other than you must be prepared to pack out with everything , including soiled diapers to be a good steward of the trail.
The best suited section for a flat walk would be in the central district ; ending at Big Meadows where you can have your car parked.

Try hiking a day hike first , this will give you an idea what to expect ...how your daughter tolerates a long day in what might be rainy,windy, hot weather away from the comforts of her normal environment.

QHShowoman
11-06-2013, 19:18
There is no part of your plan that sounds even remotely fun ... just the thought of potentially hauling 4 days' of poopy diapers makes me shudder. But HYOH, I guess.
I don't even like to wash dishes while backpacking, so washing diapers would be totally out of the question for me. I guess it's like washing any other bits of clothing, but you'd want to dispose of any poop in a cathole or latrine, first.

So, the kid's going to hiking on her own? Sounds like it from the 3-4 miles you plan to cover each day -- which would take an adult no more than 2 hours to do, but I have no idea how fast you can go with a kid in tow. Like Johnny just said -- do some test hikes, first. I love my 2 yo niece to death and she's a good natured-kid, but a drag to do any sort of serious hiking with.

I don't think keeping warm will be that big of an issue in Virginia, in May. She'll be fine sleeping between you and your partner. But in a tent. You'll definitely want to camp in a tent vs. a shelter or nobody will get any sleep.

nastynate
11-06-2013, 19:18
I did 4 days of 4-6 mile day hikes with my little boy when he was 2 in Rocky Mountain national park. He rode just fine in a backpack carrier. I don't have much advice on the overnight part. He was fine for hours in the pack and would just nap when he got tired. Pack the diapers out, but you can scrape out the pop into a cat hole. There is a video floating around of a couple who did a long canoe trip with 2 toddlers. Multiple months. The pouches of purťed veggies and fruits are very handy.

The Old Boot
11-06-2013, 20:46
While I never did miles with the boys when they were toddlers, I did do a lot of camping with them.

If it were me, I'd look at using diaper liners and cloth diapers. The diaper liners are biodegradable and can be disposed of in privies along the way, unlike disposable diapers that you'd have to pack the whole thing out. Cloth diapers can at least be dried out, if not washed in a collapsible bucket. Carrying them dry, even if dirty will weigh a whole lot less than carrying disposables that contain all that gel soak inside that is used to suck up pee.

Because she's a she, she might even be mostly potty trained by 21 months, I wouldn't try to force it on her of course, but if she's willing, why not. Of course if she is, you'll come home to a little girl who thinks that dropping her pants in the bush is quite acceptable....lol.

Pureed veggies and fruits and pasta dishes can easily be dehydrated to help make the load lighter. A light load is going to be absolutely necessary since one of you is going to have to carry her most of the time, which means that the other of you is going to have to carry gear for 3.

Maybe you want to consider one of the packs like the roller pack found here: http://dixonrollerpack.com/

moldy
11-06-2013, 20:50
You should do this in the Northern half of the SNP so that this "hike" can be easily converted into "car camping". You keep the car along Skyline drive nearby so you can get to it. There are several shelters (huts) you can almost drive to. There is so many ways for a normal hike to go bad without adding a baby to the equation.

modiyooch
11-06-2013, 22:38
I potty trained my toddler on the AT. I wasn't packing diapers in or out. Problems came later when he had to learn to be discreet, and that he needed to use the inside toilet instead of running to the back step, or worse. We chose a summer month. Also had a 4 year old and a 5 year old on the same trip. We did 8 miles and camped in a tent. I think it took us 2.5 days. I have found that when hiking with young children that a stream is very helpful in keeping them interested in the hike. We chose the Virginia Creeper area.

Alligator
11-06-2013, 22:41
Are you going to be using a child carrier or do you think the child will be walking?

Lightweight rain gear, Frogg Toggs makes kid sizes. Size 2 would probably fit. As mentioned, diapers can be scraped into a cat hole. I have seen a recommendation to let the diapers dry in the sun, we never tried that. Good luck on the potty training but overnight you are running a real risk. You don't want a wet bag. Are you planning on a sleeping bag for her? She might be too young for a bag, you could go with fleece sleepers maybe but the temps are pretty low that you mentioned.

HooKooDooKu
11-07-2013, 00:02
Are you going to be using a child carrier or do you think the child will be walking?
The OP WILL be using a child carrier. You can only expect a child to walk about 1 mile/year old. The OPs child will be younger than 2yo, therefore she can only expect DD to walk 2 miles per day MAX at a time she will still be a toddler (throw in the uneven ground of hiking on a trial and it only gets worst).

As for advice, you have to make sure you pay special attention to your child's skin temperature while you're hiking and she's just sitting in the carrier. Your muscles will be generating extra heat... heat your child will not benefit from. So it's very easy to fall into a lull where you feel quite comfortable to quite warm while your child is quite chilly.

We learned that lesson "the hard way". We had taken our toddler on a day hike with a child carrier. It was summer in the GSMNP, and we were quite warm when we started our hike. But when we stopped after about an hour to check DS's diaper, we realized he had become quite cold. It turns out the entire hike had been along a cool mountain stream. The stream was chilling the air around it, but we didn't notice the cool because the heat generated by our muscles masked it. W were busy sweating while DS was rather cold.

Just Bill
11-07-2013, 00:20
Rebekah- screw the haters- get that toddler out there. Itís a fantastic experience for your little one. Itís a bit of work but well worth it. Being a parent is always hard when you put your kids first.
You need two people- my wife doesnít backpack so we confine ourselves to car (tent) camping and dayhikes- so full disclosure we donít backpack yet, but my son has been camping and hiking for over two years with us. My wifeís back issues do allow her to bike so we are going to start bike packing this season if this sounds too tricky or you need an alternative. (over the wheel bike seat for baby, trailer for gear)
Two people- Even the best baby carrier maxes out at 50 lbs (tags say 40 if you are a rule follower) so even for an UL fella like me you canít carry toddler, gear, food and water solo. The pack itself is heavy and counts against the total weight rating.
Two styles-
One partner carries the kid carrier, baby, diapers, etc in the carrier- the other partner heroís up and carryís all the gear. Typically mom with the kid (30-40lbs) Dad with the hero load (40-50lbs). The Osprey Poco plus is the best carrier around, both for carrying capacity and room for extra gear- but itís $$$$. Donít get a carrier without a frame- that cute Kelty 1 is a bust. Being able to set the pack down for breaks and meals high chair style is a huge plus.
If you are a beast like Jennifer Pharr Davis (and your child isnít over 25/30 pounds) you can carry a regular pack and an Ergo Baby to carry your child in front while you carry your pack on your back. This was a hot, sweaty, ball busting experience for the boy and I both so I donít recommend it. That said if your child is light at those temps you may all be pretty comfy (and your nutless daughter will be okay in the Ergo-the boy was not).
I am fairly certain the roller pack is illegal (and a bit silly) on the AT, but Iím not sure.
Potty trained- likely for a gal that age. Only problem- no potty. Practice at home but my boy has no problems squatting (hold their hands) to poop and prefers to pee outside with dad. That said- although we also use cloth- disposables will be better that time of year. Consider some of the ďnight-timeĒ diapers- the extra bulk doesnít get in the way when they are riding and you wonít use as many. As you know cloth doesnít dry fast and are very heavy when wet. Just burry the poop in a cathole and pack out the rest. In warmer months you can use cloth, just wash them and hang them to dry outside your pack. Bring wipes, extra wipes, and some more wipes- toddlers are curious dirty filthy creatures. Bring two 2 gallon ziploks for packing out diapers and trash. Make sure to hang them with your food at camp when you bear bag.
Temps- sleeping should be the main concern but you can find cheap fleece at Old Navy to keep her bundled during the day. Gloves and a hat (with keeper straps/alligator clips) are probably a must. My dad found some TNF rain gear at a thrift store in Boulder- but an umbrella is probably a better bet. A garbage bag with holes works fine; toddlers and your wallet think itís really cool. My son loves using a GoLite umbrella ($15) on our walks. A bigger one is needed (golite makes one) for hiking and sun protection. $35 bucks worth of umbrellas is a better deal than a kid sized Patagonia jacket and will keep you and your little one drier overall. You shouldnít have any umbrella related trail snags in SNP.
We do not allow our son to sleep with us at home, so we had to practice sleeping with us camping. He typically sleeps with me, on my pad, in my sleeping bag when itís cold out (below 60). Otherwise he sleeps in my elephantís foot (half bag) on his own pad. We both fit on a 20Ē pad and under my quilt. If you and hubby sleep together then just snuggle the little one in with you. Just practice at home first and make sure they donít fall into the crack between the pads.
Tent- required. Consider a small tarp as well for rainy breaks as you will be hanging around camp quite a bit. Feel free to use the shelters, but expect crowds. Youíll be stopping earlier than most- so you can hang there for a bit and move on for sleepy time during bad weather. Nice way to stay dry and eat a meal while Dad sets up camp.
Mileage/Planning- I think you are in good shape! You picked an easy to travel area, with lots of bail-outs and help (MIL) nearby. Iíve only been there once, but do remember the central and southern sections to be easier. Consider doing the with baby portion of your hike near the lodges and waysides- that way you can always duck in for a hot meal or a civilization break if you need it. Depending on your pace- a typical day goes like this; keep carrier time to one hour or less at a crack. We usually go out four hours before nap- hike an hour, break a half hour, hike an hour- stop for a long lunch. Time lunch to finish before nap time- get your toddler back into the pack before they get cranky and let them nap in the pack. (or take a family nap if youíre not up for more hiking). We typically then hike straight thru nap time and call it a day after that. We can usually get 4-5 hours of actual trail time in, so if anything your mileage may be conservative but thatís your call.
While your little one may be up for hiking, probably not- save her energy for playing in camp. Iíve found itís more frustrating for everyone to let my guy try to walk, and then fight with each other to get back into the pack. Toddlers are all for walking for 5-10 minutes- then they get cranky. My guy turns 3 in a few days and itís only been the last few months that he truly likes to walk for more than a ten minutes. Heís up to a few miles now- so there is hope but not before two. He even ran for a half mile the other day!
Odds and ends- Food pouches are great toddler choices for camping. My son loves granola bars too and sucked/gummed them for half an hour at that age which made for a keep busy snack. Nido or formula for milk. My son loves drinking water from my Platypus- but the platy doesnít like his toddler teeth! 12 years of use and never a drip, drop, or leak- one year with my toddler and Iím on my tenth bite valve. Bring two spares and beware that they can and do rip off the valve and could choke. The bears are not worth getting alarmed about but be aware of them- make sure you have loud whistles and your child doesnít leave your sight and youíll have no issues.
Bring some simple games (memory type cards, play money, puzzles, whatever sheís into at the time), make up games with sticks rocks and leaves. Bring a favorite toy/book. My son has a really good time with the bear bag rope, we each hold an end and weave it around and then follow it like a choo-choo track or play other silly games with it. Sleeping bag peek-a-boo is fun too. Bring a spare Binky/blanket/pacifier or other ďcriticalĒ items that prevent toddler meltdowns or are required for sleep. Bring some suckers or other treats (roasted marshmallows). Donít be afraid to use a diaper for a little longer than usual, just use extra cream ahead of time.
Your practice trips will shake out most big issues- but itís not that bad. The only really hard thing for me was adapting to toddler time- keep to the schedule toddlers thrive on routine. Be prepared to bail- but donít be afraid to try. Congrats on being a great parent!

Alligator
11-07-2013, 01:53
The OP WILL be using a child carrier. You can only expect a child to walk about 1 mile/year old. The OPs child will be younger than 2yo, therefore she can only expect DD to walk 2 miles per day MAX at a time she will still be a toddler (throw in the uneven ground of hiking on a trial and it only gets worst).

As for advice, you have to make sure you pay special attention to your child's skin temperature while you're hiking and she's just sitting in the carrier. Your muscles will be generating extra heat... heat your child will not benefit from. So it's very easy to fall into a lull where you feel quite comfortable to quite warm while your child is quite chilly.

We learned that lesson "the hard way". We had taken our toddler on a day hike with a child carrier. It was summer in the GSMNP, and we were quite warm when we started our hike. But when we stopped after about an hour to check DS's diaper, we realized he had become quite cold. It turns out the entire hike had been along a cool mountain stream. The stream was chilling the air around it, but we didn't notice the cool because the heat generated by our muscles masked it. W were busy sweating while DS was rather cold. The OP was optimistic about potty training and I was hoping she could clarify her intentions. No need for the bold text, I started day hiking with a kid in a front carrier and overnights at 2, and we are well beyond carrier age so I am aware of the limitations and considerations. Good point though about the temperature differences.

Just Bill's got a lot of points covered. UL gear is very helpful. Tent, I use a megamid, but for young kids consider carefully having a tent with a floor or you might wake up with the child having rolled out under the tent wall. Or be sure to sandwich between adults.

Little kids tend to roll off their pads at night, for which I do not have a good solution. This is one of those times that duct tape could certainly help but could land you in a lot of trouble.

I can't remember when we stopped using Sippy cups but 21 months old is probably still in the age range for those.

We use the Orikaso folding plates and bowls for family use. The folding cup is cool but it has a lot of nooks and crannies to clean.

Kids love flashlights, but if you might be thinking you are going to keep a headlamp on the little bugger you will need to wait until they are about well I don't know really I still can't get them to keep it on. They make a flashlight that looks like a glowstick, kids like those. Or get the glow bracelets. A little stuffed animal is nice to have.

whisper walking
11-07-2013, 08:26
Just Bill covered just about everything, but let me add two tiny items: a fish tank net (small) and a magnifying glass. Kids love to "discover" things at camp. Make it fun and interesting and build time into your day for exploring. She may get a little antsy in that carrier and could probably use the time on the ground to run off a little pent-up energy. I also would like to say that fostering a life-long love of the trail and the backcountry is a valuable gift that you are giving to your child.

bigcranky
11-07-2013, 08:32
Our daughter did short (very short) day hikes on her own at about 2 1/2 years old. Those day hikes got longer, and she did her first overnight hiking trip at age 4. (Her "Pack" = tiny bookbag with a 1 pt water bottle and a stuffed animal.) We carried all her gear. That trip was an 8 mile loop and she hiked the whole thing. By age 6 she was carrying her personal gear in a kid's external frame pack.

At 21 months she wouldn't reliably walk any sort of distance, so we had to plan to carry her as a backup, at least.

Shenandoah is a very nice place in May. You're getting some good advice here. Hope you have fun with the trip.

Just Bill
11-07-2013, 10:57
The sleeping pad trick- put a foam pad inside the sleeping bag- don't trim it, let it curl up the sides a bit. The foam is enough for the kids and they can't roll off it. (tip comes from my mom- works in the elephant's foot for my son now too.)

My son wasn't seriously walking (more than 10-15 minutes on the sidewalk) until after two years. He asked for his own pack around 27 months and likes to carry his own stuff now. With rare exception a mile is his limit at a crack, he turns 3 tomorrow.

Pointless proud dad story- He's very big into the future now- what he can do later, and what he will do when he's bigger. A few days ago when I was reweighing my stuff for the big 4 thread he very seriously told me that for now; he could only sleep in the tent, ride in the car, and play at the beach. (He knows the difference between car camping and backpacking (calls it hikin') and that he's not old enough yet to backpack.) But LATER, when he's BIGGER he can hike like dada and he'll have his own backpack. "When I'm bigger Dada I'll hike REALLY far!"

I sure hope he does- You can't force a child to like something- but frequent exposure and good memories sure do tip the scales.

perdidochas
11-07-2013, 11:29
The OP was optimistic about potty training and I was hoping she could clarify her intentions. No need for the bold text, I started day hiking with a kid in a front carrier and overnights at 2, and we are well beyond carrier age so I am aware of the limitations and considerations. Good point though about the temperature differences.

Just Bill's got a lot of points covered. UL gear is very helpful. Tent, I use a megamid, but for young kids consider carefully having a tent with a floor or you might wake up with the child having rolled out under the tent wall. Or be sure to sandwich between adults.

Little kids tend to roll off their pads at night, for which I do not have a good solution. This is one of those times that duct tape could certainly help but could land you in a lot of trouble.

I can't remember when we stopped using Sippy cups but 21 months old is probably still in the age range for those.

We use the Orikaso folding plates and bowls for family use. The folding cup is cool but it has a lot of nooks and crannies to clean.

Kids love flashlights, but if you might be thinking you are going to keep a headlamp on the little bugger you will need to wait until they are about well I don't know really I still can't get them to keep it on. They make a flashlight that looks like a glowstick, kids like those. Or get the glow bracelets. A little stuffed animal is nice to have.

My Boy Scout sons like the orikaso type cups for hot cocoa. After drinking the cocoa, they flatten out the cup, and lick the seams. They say with those cups, they don't waste a bit of the cocoa.

Rebekah
11-07-2013, 11:57
Wow. I'm surprised I have more naysayers here on a hiking forum than I do in real life. I guess my family and friends are used to our crazy plans and know that we never make big plans (backpacking, home birth, building a house) without first looking at all the possibilities, doing our research, planning for every aspect and every back up plan. We've dealt with a bum knee, UTI, and hypothermia on the trail and each time managed to get off trail or continue on as needed with a smile. We spent our honeymoon and our 1st and 2nd anniversaries on the AT in GA and TN. Then there are the weekend backpack trips we've done on the Florida Trail and along the Suwannee. We grew up in the mountains of VA so we're pretty familiar with the area. I used to hike around Big Meadows at least once a month when I was at JMU. But I'm not here to defend our choice to get our kid out in nature. I just need some logistical advice. Thank you to all of you who provided that!

Food- Thankfully, this is one aspect of the trip I'm not worried about at all. She never ate pureed food but started with chunks of avocado and super soft steamed carrots instead. Now she eats exactly what we eat for all our meals. She loves curry, stir fry, mac n cheese, beans, rice, oatmeal... really she just loves to eat! I'll ask her pediatrician if a few days without milk will be ok or if we should plan on using powdered milk.

Hiking- Yes, I plan on carrying her. We have a Kelty Summit. Is that the one you were referring to, Just Bill? I hope it's a good one. It was passed down to us so we'll see how she likes it over the next few months. I plan to carry her plus some of the lighter bulkier gear. She's 20 lbs now. Looking at the growth charts and my baby book I expect her to weigh 22-23lbs by the time of the trip if she continues on her growth curve. If she wants to walk for a bit that's great, if not, I won't be disappointed. If she's anything like me, and everyone says she is a mini-me both in appearance and personality, she may very well surprise us. I hiked to the top of Sharp Top on my own in the Blue Ridge Parkway at age 3. We really need to work on UL packing. My husband's trail name is Mule for a reason - he likes to pack! But there are things we are going to need to leave behind to carry DD and her stuff along. I'm thinking to stay around 50lbs between the two of us, plus DD. I'm working on a gear list now and will be weighing everything to see what we can leave, replace, etc.

Diapers- If we use cloth I plan to just use old t-shirts, pin them on as flats, and use wool covers. Light, easy to wash and quick drying - as long as it's not raining! I could hang them on the back of her carrier while hiking like a pee rag. The idea of hauling around dirty disposables doesn't really appeal to me. I hate the chemical smell and it may end up being heavier than the cloth. She's already aware of when she goes and lets me know when she's wet and sometimes even before she goes, so I'm really hoping she's potty trained by May. If not, we'll deal with this issue in more detail as the time approaches.

Because she's a she, she might even be mostly potty trained by 21 months, I wouldn't try to force it on her of course, but if she's willing, why not. Of course if she is, you'll come home to a little girl who thinks that dropping her pants in the bush is quite acceptable....lol. LOL. This was me! I can see the parent/teacher conference with her daycare teachers after we get back. hehe.

I potty trained my toddler on the AT. I wasn't packing diapers in or out. Problems came later when he had to learn to be discreet, and that he needed to use the inside toilet instead of running to the back step, or worse. We chose a summer month. Also had a 4 year old and a 5 year old on the same trip. We did 8 miles and camped in a tent. I think it took us 2.5 days. I have found that when hiking with young children that a stream is very helpful in keeping them interested in the hike. We chose the Virginia Creeper area. I like the idea of potty training on the trail. Or at least using fewer diapers while in camp. And thanks for the reminder about streams! Now I remember how we would play for hours in the creek!

Child Clothing/Gear-
As for advice, you have to make sure you pay special attention to your child's skin temperature while you're hiking and she's just sitting in the carrier. Your muscles will be generating extra heat... heat your child will not benefit from. So it's very easy to fall into a lull where you feel quite comfortable to quite warm while your child is quite chilly. This is my biggest concern! Looking at the average temps I'm not only worried about keeping her warm at night, but also while hiking. Would fleece be the best option? Wool hat, socks, mitts?

Temps- sleeping should be the main concern but you can find cheap fleece at Old Navy to keep her bundled during the day. Gloves and a hat (with keeper straps/alligator clips) are probably a must. My dad found some TNF rain gear at a thrift store in Boulder- but an umbrella is probably a better bet. A garbage bag with holes works fine; toddlers and your wallet think it’s really cool. My son loves using a GoLite umbrella ($15) on our walks. A bigger one is needed (golite makes one) for hiking and sun protection. $35 bucks worth of umbrellas is a better deal than a kid sized Patagonia jacket and will keep you and your little one drier overall. You shouldn’t have any umbrella related trail snags in SNP.
We do not allow our son to sleep with us at home, so we had to practice sleeping with us camping. He typically sleeps with me, on my pad, in my sleeping bag when it’s cold out (below 60). Otherwise he sleeps in my elephant’s foot (half bag) on his own pad. We both fit on a 20” pad and under my quilt. If you and hubby sleep together then just snuggle the little one in with you. Just practice at home first and make sure they don’t fall into the crack between the pads.
Love the umbrella idea! It makes so much more sense than a rain jacket or the little hoods that go over the kid carriers. Thank you!

Sleeping will be quite interesting. She doesn't sleep with us at home, and when we've tried none of us get any sleep because she is all over the place and moves so much! At this point I don't think she would be able to use a sleeping bag on her own, so we're going to have to figure something out... A tent is a given though. I wouldn't want to subject other hikers to sleeping with my toddler who has slept through the night since she was 8 weeks old. ;) But really, we have to have a tent. With our low mileage plan (we're trying to be realistic here!) we wouldn't make it to a shelter each night. Plus the tent can trap heat in better than the shelter. Our first practice run will be overnight in the Wildlife Management Area behind our house. Basically car camping in our back yard. Then we'll do a couple of short trips nearby. Our winter weather can be comparable to May in VA.


Kids love flashlights, but if you might be thinking you are going to keep a headlamp on the little bugger you will need to wait until they are about well I don't know really I still can't get them to keep it on. They make a flashlight that looks like a glowstick, kids like those. Or get the glow bracelets. A little stuffed animal is nice to have.
Thanks for the tip! I knew I didn't want a headlamp for her, but wasn't sure about the bulk of a flashlight. I bet she would love a glow bracelet!


Pointless proud dad story- He's very big into the future now- what he can do later, and what he will do when he's bigger. A few days ago when I was reweighing my stuff for the big 4 thread he very seriously told me that for now; he could only sleep in the tent, ride in the car, and play at the beach. (He knows the difference between car camping and backpacking (calls it hikin') and that he's not old enough yet to backpack.) But LATER, when he's BIGGER he can hike like dada and he'll have his own backpack. "When I'm bigger Dada I'll hike REALLY far!"

I sure hope he does- You can't force a child to like something- but frequent exposure and good memories sure do tip the scales.
Good job, Dad!!


I also would like to say that fostering a life-long love of the trail and the backcountry is a valuable gift that you are giving to your child.
Thank you. This is what we're hoping for. Living on a farm is one thing, enjoying the mountain wilderness is a whole other thing.

FarmerChef
11-07-2013, 12:23
Rebekah - I've taken all of my kids hiking since they were born in a variety of carriers on day hikes and over nights. YES it can be done! Training hikes to test your toddler will be very important. With our youngest (of 4) we started her at 3 and she could only do about 6 miles before she decided she was done hiking for the day. Keep in mind those 6 miles were criss cross back and forth across the trail the whole way. And we stopped to identify every stick, bug, rock, you get the idea. Thankfully there was ice cream at the end of the deal. Last year at 3.5 we tried her on an overnight and she could do about 13 pretty well but still needed a nap in the middle. Neither my wife nor I slept much but we solved the kiddo problem by zipping our bags together and plopping her in between. This year at 4 she could comfortably knock out anything in the teens and still have steam for more, much like my son who, at 5, decided that 26 miles in one day wasn't quite enough for him :eek:

All of my kids wriggle off their pads even today. But they all sleep like logs anyway. Ahh the joy of youth. I wouldn't worry too much about this. If she gets cold, she'll wake up and let you know. I can't tell you how many times I lay awake listening to breathing as I was worried they wouldn't wake up if they got too chilly ;)

Fleece is a great option for kids. In my experience it's the hands and feet that get the coldest. Her torso will be pressed against or at least near your back but her arms and legs will dangle out to the side. It's a good idea to take a break every once and a while to let her run around and build up some energy. Make sure she has a good snack on a regular schedule too (I'm sure you do this already). These will help to keep her temp up and comfy. Also, mittens are much better than gloves when it's cold, especially if you won't be moving your hands much.

As for UL gear, it's exactly how we started. When we started we took the oldest 3 kids with us on 3 to 5-day hikes. The kids carried barely anything and my son (5 at the time) only carried his sleeping bag (1 pound) and a change of clothes. That and a water bottle. He just looooved the water bottle. That left my wife and I to carry everything else (tent, cook kit, medical kit, etc.). You don't have to spend a fortune. Look up dirtbagging for inspiration on using found or inexpensive items to solve hiking equipment problems. For instance, we use Gladware bowls and lids as our bowl and plate. We use REI measuring cups with a carabiner for our camp cup (they're plastic and we can measure ingredients with them). Lots of other ideas.

Best of luck and have fun!

HooKooDooKu
11-07-2013, 13:09
Child Clothing/Gear-

As for advice, you have to make sure you pay special attention to your child's skin temperature while you're hiking and she's just sitting in the carrier. Your muscles will be generating extra heat... heat your child will not benefit from. So it's very easy to fall into a lull where you feel quite comfortable to quite warm while your child is quite chilly.
This is my biggest concern! Looking at the average temps I'm not only worried about keeping her warm at night, but also while hiking. Would fleece be the best option? Wool hat, socks, mitts?
My only experience with taking a toddler in the back country has been a couple of day hike, and one over nigth trip to LeConte Lodge in the Smokies. Since we were in a heated cabin, I didn't have to worry about keeping warm at night (beyond being prepared to keep warm in a worst-case scenarios that kept us from getting to the lodge).

But by basic advice would simply be layers perhaps something like this:
1. Base layer - diaper, long pants, short sleeve shirt, socks
2. Extra layer - long sleeve shirt over the short sleeve shirt
3. Warm layer - sweat pants & shirt - could be fleece, toboggan style hat (perhaps two - their light), wool socks
4. Rain/Wind layer - wind breaker (or waterproof jacket) with hood (waterproof pants optional)

For sleeping - never had to worry about that... so just trying to think logically about it:
1. Get one of the blue sleeping pads available at WalMart (~$15) and cut to her size.
2. Get an oversized fleece onesie to use in place of a sleeping bag. Make sure it is large enough that she could wear the sweat cloths inside the fleece onesie. Keep in mind that onesies in her size likely will NOT be footed, so you'll want to make sure you've got some thick wool socks to keep her feet warm. The onesie doesn't have to have a hood because you've got the toboggan caps.

flemdawg1
11-07-2013, 13:52
Started car camping with kids when my youngest was 1, and backpacking at 2. She walked, and it was painfully slow. But she's 7 now and still painfully slow. But she's a trooper and wants to keep up with her big sisters. The great thing about SNP is that you can camp pratically anywhere (terrain allowing) and there are lots of bail out points. So if kiddo can't pull the big miles you plan, no problemo, catch an early camp, play in that stream kiddo can't be dragged from and beg a ride out at the next road crossing.

Tip, fleecy PJs make good cheap base layers. And go ahead and get a good quality kid-sized synthetic sleeping bag. We bought a pair of North Face bags for our 2 youngest and they've worked out great.

off-pher
11-07-2013, 14:58
My most memorable AT hike was a family of five.
I drove from FLA to mountian crossing parked just down the road.
Got a ride back to MC and went north well needless to say that hill
kicked my butt! I was taking a break eating some cheese and salami
sitting on a rock.............when a young girl of mabe 12 or 14 walks by
ignoring me then about 50 yards behind her a young man walks by
he speaks......hey how are you? He keeps moving then this little girl
she may have been 2 she had a barbie backpack on she was singing a song had
flower in one hand plucking the peddles off she looked at my dog and said
hey doggie! Then looks up at me and can i pet your dog? can i have a
slice of that cheese? by this time her mother and father walk up..................
So i say take your young one with you and have fun. Don't worry about
what other people say. HYOH You will have fun it will be a great experience!!!!

johnnybgood
11-07-2013, 17:27
Rebekah, I am good with your decision after you clarified a few things. Having read your second post I do agree that perhaps while attempting to be realistic regarding possible oversights on your part I came a cross as a naysayer-- not my intention at all.

I do remember day hiking and camping with my daughter when she was 2 years old , and she still loves getting out there in nature . A few pictures of her hiking with me are in my gallery.

I credit the early introduction to being the key to getting closer to mother earth and all she has to give.

Hope your hike is truely rewarding and this begins a lifetime of future mother daughter hikes with new discoveries.

Just Bill
11-08-2013, 01:39
Rebekah-
That Kelty hand me down is fine- especially for the price!

One thing to consider if you're handy with a needle and thread.
That style of pack with the daypack attached to the back of the kid ends up very top heavy- if you use the upper pack put clothes or other bulky light items up there. Some of the models you can detach the daypack portion. If you're up for it- re-attach or mount your gear storage under the seat so the load carries better. If you're sewing challenged- just use a few straps to attach a stuff sack and/or water bladder to the kickstand part of the frame. Take a look at the Osprey Poco plus series if my description isn't making sense. http://www.ospreypacks.com/en/product/child_carriers/poco_plus

Only other caution- that type of Kelty is one of the lower weight rated packs. Take the rating with a grain of salt but it's likely a 35 pound max load- probably safe to 40 though. The weight of the pack itself counts against the total.