Yesterday, we went on a 6-mile hike with our 1-year-old and our 3-year-old. It was do-able and fun (and I'm not even sore today!...well, maybe my legs are the teensiest bit sore).
Here's how we worked everything out logistically...
Tim carried our 28lb. 3-year-old on his back in our Kelty FC 3.0 carrier for the majority of the hike (she hiked a little bit, but not much...). He also carried our water, snacks, and supplies in an accompanying backpack (for a combined weight of just shy of 50 lbs!). I carried our 16lb. 14-month-old in my ERGO carrier.
Now that we have that adventure behind us, here are 4 tips we'd share with anyone who wants to hike with their small children:
Invest in a good carrier. Our Kelty FC 3.0 is impressive to behold. The trail-based carrier is top-notch in terms of comfort for both child and parent. The pack offers excellent support for the back and hips - and the child seat is adjustable. The accompanying rain/sun hood is brilliant and really did keep the sun off of our 3-year-old's face. She was riding in luxury and most everyone that we passed on the trail commented on the awesome pack (and her comfortable ride).
Our 3-year-old "fits"...but her legs are getting pretty long and I suspect that she won't be able to ride in it much longer.
Dress your baby in sun protective apparel. Sun dresses, tank tops, and swim suits are cute for the summertime, but they're not particularly practical for longer hikes. Especially for baby. Long hours in the sun can equal painful sunburns if you're not careful. I dressed my baby in a long-sleeve UV protectant onesie and accompanying pants by Agoo Apparel. Our 3-year-old also wore a specially-designed sun protective rash guard and shorts from Sun Protection Zone. UV Skinz also has some excellent options.
Sun protective clothing can be pricey, but I think it is well worth the cost if you and your family enjoy spending time outdoors.
Slather on natural sunscreen. I'm still somewhat undecided about the use of sunscreen for every-day use, but I DO believe in using it for extended periods of time in the sun and/or for midday outdoor activities (between 10-3). Even so, I always try to select sunscreens that have the words "organic," "natural," "baby," "gentle," etc. For Saturday's hike, we used Episencial's Sunny Sunscreen SPF 35. In the past, we've used Neutrogena Baby (the stick!) and Arbonne Baby Care (though I've since heard some reports that it's not as natural as people make it out to be).
Pack plenty of snacks (and bring enough water). We packed: World Kitchens peppered beef jerky (Our favorite brand! - We bought it at Fry's grocery store for $9.99/pound), pretzels, organic apples, oranges, clif bars (I think I like the Crunchy Peanut Butter flavor best), and Kashi's whole grain honey puffs.
As far as water is concerned, we filled up two large bladders (170 ounces total) with ice water and drank all of it. The quantity was almost exactly right for the four of us...I'm certainly glad we didn't bring less!
What tips would you add to this list? What are your favorite snacks/lunches to pack when hiking (I'm looking for ideas!)?
*** Kelty sent me an FC 3.0 sample for review. All opinions are my own.