Hiking with kids – 5 Tips from Team Sweet at Amamaya Clothing HQ
Seeing the world all over again through a child’s eyes is fascinating. But can you relax enough to let loose your inner child! When walking and hiking with kids, the better prepared you are, the more fun for all! Team Sweet have put this little list together as a starter.
Many people are unprepared when walking the UK hills and mountains. Kit doesn’t need to break the bank. When hiking with kids you need to ensure they are well protected from the elements. Well fitted walking boots (preferably with good ankle support) and a decent pair of walking socks are essential. Next waterproof jacket and trousers are sensible almost all year round in the UK. Trousers or shorts and a kid specific base layer or mid layer and a hat will help with comfort. In addition, a pair of walking sticks can help with balance. What you choose will depend on the time of year amongst other factors, if you are winter walking you will need to add gloves etc, summer walkers will need sunglasses or a wide brimmed hat. The actual choice of gear is individual but in investing in the right kit, that fits well and is designed for the activity you are undertaking will mean your kids are comfortable. Comfort is a huge factor in enjoyment on the hills. Sore feet, wet clothing and cold hands will soon put little ones off walking forever.
Its vitally important to know what the conditions are before setting off. In addition, if you are taking on any of the UK’s mountains it’s important to check the mountain forecast and to know that weather can change at a moment’s notice. Being prepared with the correct outdoor clothing for kids will make a walk in any weather more enjoyable. Don’t forget to check their gear along the way as kids tend to walk around with jackets undone and clothing untucked; once they are cold and wet the day could take a turn for the worse. Hiking with kids that are cold and wet = hiking with unhappy kids… unhappy kids = unhappy parents.
Make sure the route is suitable in terms of terrain and distance for the ability of the youngest most inexperienced child. Get them involved at the outset and choose routes with lots of interest with woods, rivers, waterfalls and caves or anything else you can think of. If you have time it’s helpful to walk the route yourself first so you can make a note of any areas of difficulty or potential points of interest… A wild swimming spot on a hot day is always a winner, or maybe a cave to explore!
Packing the right food and enough of it will keep kids moving, nothing is more draining than trying to motivate a tired and hungry child to keep walking. Never underestimate just how much they can eat and pack more than you think you need, you will probably still run out. Eating outdoors together is social and bonding, make it fun by packing some interesting snacks. If you have young kids who aren’t up to walking too far make eating a part of the day; if you have time perhaps build a fire to cook on or take a small stove with you for hot chocolate. Hot dogs in a thermos flask are warming on a cold day. You can also spend the day before a hike making trail food with them so they feel involved in the preparation for the day and they’ll look forward to eating their snacks on route.
No matter how well seasoned they are at hiking there will come a time in every child’s walking career where their little legs will carry them no further. It’s at this point, or before if you spot the signs early, that you can bring out the distraction techniques. Some of our favourites include bug hunts, nature trails and a good old game of eye spy. For older kids, you can try appointing them Expedition Leader and get them involved in the route setting / finding and get them practicing navigation skills.
When hiking with kids, getting their first experiences right from the outset can trigger a lifelong fascination with the Great Outdoors that will last them right through to adulthood. Amamaya clothing are making the technical kids clothing to help make that journey a comfortable one.