Upon my quitting my job as a full time as a full time art educator and staying home I searched for local Facebook mommy groups that had similar interests to me. I stumbled upon a baby wearing hiking group and joined. I was concerned that I couldn’t hike with both my boys-Ben had just turned 2 and Adam 6 months, but I have hiked a lot with them and here are my tips for success.
1. Either get a durable baby carrier or take paved/packed gravel trails. You do not want to take a wrap carrier on a hike! I have an Ergo 360 which works great and a Beco Butterfly I use on my back when Ben needs a boost (I tandem carry if need be). A lot of moms in the group have a Tula-and Tula makes a great toddler carrier!
2. Take water for everyone. I am nursing so water isn’t super necessary for Adam-but I still bring an extra water bottle for him. Camelback does make a toddler water bottle pack and if you’re hiking with a baby in front, you could have your Camelback on your back and be hands free!
3. If you’re taking a little who you expect to walk do a hike with little to no incline and consider the safety of the area. You want to be careful about run ins with wildlife, falling on branches that can poke a little guy, and weather can play a role in safety too. Out here we have to wear and take sunscreen, hats, glasses, and tons of water with the dry desert heat. Wind, humidity, rain, and snow are all tough for a little on a long walk. Also, keep in mind your little walker may get tired so bring a carrier in case. Ben is two and a half and can do about a mile before getting tired.
4. Do not go hiking with a little in an area that is s remote you won’t see other hikers, stay on well known trails that are also well maintained.
5. Second hour of a long stroller ride and your kiddo is getting bored? Snacks, water, and songs will help a lot.
6. Take a small first aid kit with you. Ben fell once on a trail and I was able to treat the cut and finish the hike with no worries.
7. Hike with a friend or two who can help with your littles if you have multiples. I’ve had friends carry Ben down Mt. Charleston when he got tired and I really appreciated it.
8. Be sure to talk with your kids about the natural elements they are witnessing such as big mountains, blue sky, green grass, etc. Use the hike as a chance to build vocabulary by describing the scenery.
9. Take photos. I love the photos of my boys exploring and being free in the wilderness. These are some of my favorite memories of my time as a stay at home mom.
10. Snacks that travel well: crackers, sandwiches, granola bars that don’t have chocolate, fruit, nuts, and dried fruit. Bring a lot of snacks. The kids will want them and it’s important if you’re nursing to stay hydrated and nourished too!
Have fun, be safe, and create great family memories!