Monday, March 15, 2010

Hiking and Backpacking with Kids - you can do it!

Just last week a mom visited our store and was so excited to have a local source of backpacks…for her 4-year old son. Turns out this former AT thru-hiker started taking her son backpacking at age two. Not only was she not carrying him, but he was carrying his own gear in a Deuter Junior backpack! She hadn’t been able to find any kids’ packs in our area and she found her son’s pack in Germany where she’s been buying a lot of gear that’s hard to find locally.

When it comes to hiking or backpacking with kids, its almost all about the gear. Just like us adults, kids get excited about new stuff - but particularly stuff that was made just for them! A backpack or sleeping bag - just like mom and dads, but made just for their size - what could be better? And with today's technology kids can get the experience and comfort - without all of the weight. And really that means whole families can get outside more often since mom and dad don't have to be the family sherpas!

About a year and a half ago we started our 5 & 7 year-olds backpacking with our own small-sized backpacks. Those packs wobbled, bumped around, and just plain old didn’t fit…no wonder why we end up carrying them after a mile or so. It was a different story when they went out 3 weeks ago with their new Fox 30 and Fox 40 backpacks…they carried their own Big Agnes sleeping bags and pads all three miles…uphill and in the snow on their Crescent Moon begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting kids’ snowshoes! Fit to a kid’s small frame—and easily adjustable to their torso size—these packs are great for taking the kids into the backcountry…or having them carry their own stuff around an airport on vacation. OK, it probably helped too that they were hauling Big Agnes’ lightweight gear and not my old (and heavy!) Coleman sleeping bag from when I was a kid.

At, we are excited to offer Deuter’s full line of children’s backpacks—not just the KangaKid and KidCarriers I, II, and III that Deuter is well known for around the globe. We’ve got the Deuter Junior, the Deuter Climber, and the Deuter Fox 30 and Fox 40. What a difference these packs make on little backs!

We also carry a full selection of kids’ sleeping bags from Deuter, Big Agnes, Sierra Designs, and Selk Bag. Check out our Kids and Family section to prepare for your next adventure in the outdoors with your kids!

Of course it's not totally about the gear. Your children will read you and your attitude, too. If you're psyched to get out there, your kids will be too! Give your kids a positive first experience that breeds future success. Make a fun hiking or backpacking plan and talk about it at the dinner table to build the excitement. Once your out there on the trail, keep ‘em comfortable, keep ‘em warm, and above all keep ‘em outside…and turn your kids on to the great outdoors!

Happy trails to you and your kids!

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