6 top tips on hiking with kids
Going on a family hike can be an incredibly fun and rewarding experience for kids and adults alike. But there’s a certain amount of prep involved if you want your adventure to go without a glitch (read: you want to stop your children having a meltdown/refusing to take another step mid-hike!).
To guarantee a happy hike for all, heed these six top tips, courtesy of the GP team:
Hiking is harder work for little legs, so make sure you pack plenty of nutritious snacks for your kids to enjoy as and when they need them. Sugar-laden treats like chocolate bars and sweets will ultimately lead to energy crashes, so instead opt for rice crackers with peanut butter, veg sticks, chopped fruit, homemade energy balls and your very own trail mix, made with raw pecans, sunflower and pumpkin seeds and unsweetened cherries or raisins. And don’t forget plenty of water! Dehydration is a big no-no, especially with younger members of the family in tow, so make sure everyone has their own water bottle topped up before you leave the house.
A fun hike to you might mean challenging ascents and unmarked trails, but that might not be the same for your kids! Maybe they’d prefer a route steeped in history – for instance, you could combine your hike with a visit to Stonehenge in Wiltshire and teach your children about the mystery and folklore surrounding the ancient stones there. Or take a trip to Combe Gibbet in Berkshire and relay the grisly tale of the 17th-century double murder that took place there on the wind-lashed high ground.
As well as hikes with history, pick trails with trees to climb, deer to spot and streams to splash in – all guaranteed crowd-pleasers.
3. Wear the right clothing
Check the weather forecast the day before you leave… and don't be put off if rain is forecast. Remember, there's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes! Aim for layers, wear comfy and waterproof shoes (hiking boots are ideal and always better than trainers which can let water in or wellies that can rub after a while). Take a spare pair of socks for everyone just in case, as well as some plasters, and put all your essentials in a lightweight backpack, leaving both hands free.
When you’re hiking, the outdoors is your playground, so think of fun games you can play to keep your children entertained. There should be plenty of material for a few rounds of I-spy, or how about hide-and-seek? One of our favourites has to be a scavenger hunt, where you equip your kids with a small bag, a list of things to find en-route and a pen to tick them off with. Items on that list could include ‘something man-made,’ ‘something smooth,’ or ‘three objects that are different shades of green,’ for instance.
Remember that your kids will have to walk a little bit faster to keep up with your pace, so schedule plenty of pit stops along the way. If it’s a popular trail, chances are that there will be picnic spots, benches and cafes for you all to refuel, plus toilets if you need them. Get a copy of the route map beforehand and circle all of your planned breaks.
Some parents call it bribery, while others will call it gentle encouragement! Either way, having an end goal will inspire and encourage kids of all ages to keep going, particularly during the final leg of the hike when their legs may have grown weary. This ‘encouragement’ may take the form of dinner at a restaurant of their choice, a film and popcorn night when you get home, or maybe even some time making a scrapbook with all the items they’ve scavenged.
Hike happy with GP Batteries
With your hike planned out, all that’s left to do is stock up on GP essentials for your adventure! As you’re likely to be using your phone for taking snaps of the scenery and maybe for navigation, make sure your battery doesn’t run flat with one of our lightweight and compact PowerBanks. And if you think your hike will take you well into the evening, don’t forget a small but powerful beam EveryDay Carry torch to light up your way.
Do you have any top tips for hiking with the family? What other essential items do you take on your adventures?