Ten Things to Carry When Hiking with Kids

Ten Things to Carry When Hiking with Kids
Hiking with kids presents a fun and exciting way for the whole family to explore the outdoors. It goes without saying that hiking with children can also be challenging, so remember to be flexible and patient with your young hikers. Don't forget to bring along your creativity, resourcefulness and a thoughtful list of supplies geared to their needs. With a little preparation and the following ten essential items, you and your children are sure to have a great hike.

Toilet paper

This will come in handy for the obvious use, but it can also be used for runny noses.

First Aid Kit

Stock your first aid kit will all the usual suspects, including Bandaids, ointments and anti-itch cream.

Hand Wipes

Your child will inevitably play in the dirt, pick up rocks and get dirty on the trail. Having anti-bacterial wipes ready will ensure your child is not ingesting dirt (which can be harmful) by cleaning his or her hands before eating.


Be sure kids stay well-hydrated during a hike. Consider bringing drinks they enjoy, like fruit drinks or hot chocolate (for colder hikes). To encourage children to drink water, try equipping them with a hydration backpack. Kids may find this more "fun" to drink from and result in them drinking more water with less parental encouragement.

Reusable or Biodegradable Trash Bags

Bring at least two. One bag will be used for trash. The other bag can be used to carry any "collectibles" your child finds along the trail and wants to keep.

Trail Map

Having a map will help field questions of "Are we there yet?" or "How much farther?" that you will most likely be asked at some point during you hike. Show your child the map, identifying where you are and where you are going. By involving children in the navigation of the hike, you will keep their interest.

Field Guides

Along the trail, encourage your children to stop and look at spiders, birds, plants and bugs. If you have a guidebook of the area you are visiting, you will be able to better answer questions along the way, and provide a valuable learning experience for your child. Bringing along binoculars or a magnifying glass to accompany a field guide will elevate your child's enthusiasm and curiosity about the wildlife around them.


Pack your child's pack with a few of his or her favorite snacks, which will keep them both fueled and happy. Try to pick nutritious snacks that are also mess-free.


Place a whistle around your child's neck before the hike. Tell him or her to blow the whistle if they get lost or come across an animal on the trail. This is a must-have item for safety on the trail.

Sunscreen and Bug Spray

Bring and apply sunscreen even if you're hiking on a cloudy day. Reapply sunscreen after wiping a child's face. Bug repellent will ward off nature's creatures and keep your little one safe from ticks, chiggers and mosquitoes.


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