Whether it is hiking, camping or bike riding to remote areas of the backcountry, taking kids along can be challenging. While many kids are excited about the idea, they soon might change their tune when they realize how long and even uncomfortable a trip can be. The backcountry differs from pre-designated trails and formed, smooth pathways. Backcountry areas can have hidden forks in the road such as sinkholes, thorn bushes, jagged rocks and steep slopes---just to name a few. Making sure kids are well-equipped for venturing out will prevent injuries and reduce the risk of accidents.
Food and Water
One of the most important things to do is to make sure the group is equipped with plenty of nourishment and hydration. Taking nonperishable food items such as granola bars, trail mix and beef jerky will help satisfy kids when hunger strikes. Making sure to bring plenty of bottled water will keep everyone hydrated. Water also will keep up energy levels. One good idea is to bring small 4 oz. bottles that have been frozen. By the time the bottles are exposed to the air temperature, they slowly will begin to thaw---allowing for a cold drink to last throughout the day.
Making sure the kids have adequate gear to wear will make them comfortable and allow for ease of movement throughout the trip. Making sure they have tennis shoes with adequate tread or comfortable hiking boots will keep them from slipping on uneasy terrain. Layering also is important. Starting with a T-shirt or a long-sleeve shirt with a rain-resistant coat or jacket on top will keep the child dry in rainy weather. Kids can remove jackets as they get warmer. Hats, gloves and scarves might be necessary if the weather is cooler. If rain is expected, a poncho also can be folded and placed in a backpack. Backpacks are encouraged to be worn by all members of the group. Kids can be responsible for their own backpack, and it should be fitted according to their weight.
Letting kids know they play an important part in the trip can be accomplished by giving them gadgets to use. Topographic maps, binoculars, trek poles and GPS devices are something they can use to assist with the trip. Not only is this an educational step that encourages survival skills in the outdoors, it also gives them something to do to keep busy and stimulated.
A first-aid kit is a must-have for traveling anywhere into the backcountry. A first-aid kit can be made with simple items found around the house. A small plastic container with a sealed lid will suffice. Inside, bandages, scissors, antibiotic ointment, hydrocortisone and sterile gauze pads will come in handy should an incident or accident occur.
Length of Trip
When it comes to hiking, backpacking or venturing out with kids into the wilderness or backcountry, making sure the trip is reasonable in length that it will prevent kids from getting bored, discouraged and frustrated. Rewarding them with a healthy snack or even a new hiking gadget midway through the trip will keep them motivated. Keep encouraging kids as they are traveling on how much of an accomplishment it will be to complete the excursion.
Article Written By Julie Boehlke
Julie Boehlke is a seasoned copywriter and content creator based in the Great Lakes state. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. Boehlke has more than 10 years of professional writing experience on topics such as health and wellness, green living, gardening, genealogy, finances, relationships, world travel, golf, outdoors and interior decorating. She has also worked in geriatrics and hospice care.