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How to Prepare for a Hike with Children

If you are going on a family trip for the first time, it makes sense to get out into nature in advance. For example, play geocaching on the weekend. This will help to understand whether children are comfortable walking for a long time and purposefully walking along the route, how he endures physical activity.

Most often, if your child does not sit at home all day, but spends a lot of time in the fresh air, is engaged in sports sections, or at least goes to the garden or school, then he does not need any special physical training.

If the child is not yet walking on his own, it is important to wear him in the carrier beforehand. Both you and your child should be comfortable.

Parents are required to have general tourist training skills: the ability to pitch a tent, light a fire, cook food or shelter from the rain. The most important rule on the route is to remain confident and in a good mood in any situation, and then all difficulties will turn into an adventure.

Once we planned a children’s hike in the high-mountainous Svaneti at the end of September. In the evening, with small children, we climbed above the forest zone and instead of alpine meadows we went out into fields of deep fresh snow. Early winter fell in the mountains that year. We set up tents and stopped for the night. The adults were puzzled by the situation, but did not show it. The children, on the other hand, perceived everything as a planned and interesting adventure. In the morning we went downstairs and moved to a warmer area.

Do Children Need Acclimatization

Mild mountain sickness can manifest itself already from altitudes of 2000 meters. I have heard that children tolerate altitude more easily than adults due to their more intense metabolism, but this is difficult to verify. Therefore, in any case, the acclimatization schedule for the whole group should be planned equally calm. It is important that no one feels discomfort in the form of headaches and even more nausea. But slight drowsiness and fatigue of a child in the first days in the mountains can be considered the norm.

There are trek reports on the internet in which parents take their babies on trekking routes in the Himalayas. I am against such an approach, since the height of individual passes there is serious and reaches 5000-5500 meters (like the height of Elbrus). A baby cannot complain about how he is feeling, so it’s easy to miss something serious.

How to Choose Clothes and Equipment

Children’s clothes for a hike are chosen according to the same principle as adults: according to the theory of layers. Starting from thermal underwear, continuing with warm layers and wind and moisture protection. The only difference is that children need spare sets of clothes, and more often than not one. Their number depends on the age of the child, the expected weather, the conditions of the hike and the ability to wash clothes on the route.

For example, a small child who is just starting to walk, continually falls or spills food on himself, it is better to take several sets of replacement clothes. If rain or muddy spots are possible during the hike, it is best for children to take rubber boots in addition to their casual shoes. In the highlands, sunglasses will not be superfluous.

Although the child is small, he takes up space in the tent no less than an adult. Small dimensions are compensated by mobility – children often sleep “as an asterisk” or spin. If parents are ready to endure it, you can take a spacious two-person tent for three, but if you want to have a good rest, it is better to take a full three-ruble note. Empirically, we came to the conclusion that 45-50 cm of space is needed per person.

In autonomous hikes, it is important to keep track of the weight and volume of the equipment. Now many manufacturers produce shortened sleeping bags for children – they are lighter than adults, and the child will be more comfortable. For very young children, a group sleeping bag is perfect, in which the baby sleeps with his mother.


What to Feed Children on a Hike

It is important to feed your baby on time. Otherwise, his “internal battery” will quickly run out, whims and fatigue will appear. Therefore, in addition to the basic layout, be sure to take with us and keep ready small snacks like dryers, cookies, dried fruits or candy canes. They will help the children endure until lunch or dinner.

We do not include such sweets in the general layout: each family takes them on their own, taking into account the tastes of their children. On the route, everyone shares and treats each other.

Children have no problems with appetite after physical activity in the fresh air. They are happy to eat simple camping food – porridge with milk or meat and soups for lunch. Moreover, then at home this food is remembered as the most delicious in life. If there are several children, they follow each other well and eat better.

According to the norms of the layout: we take porridge and soups for children at the rate of 1/2 of the adult norm. We take dried fruits, nuts, chocolate, cheese, sausage and other snacks in a full “adult” portion. We do not consider the layout for breastfed babies.

Breastfeeding mothers on the route also need to monitor the regularity of food and drink, otherwise there will be no milk. For feeding babies, you can include vegetable or fruit puree in the layout.

If the hiking route passes through settlements, you can buy fresh vegetables and fruits there for the next 1-2 meals. If you are going on a trip abroad, then you can take buckwheat and stew from home – you will not find them in local stores.

How to Ensure Safety for Children

The same rules apply to hikes for children as in adults. For example, you cannot get up for the night in rock-hazardous places or in a forest with a lot of dead wood. Do not spend the night with children near cliffs or steep banks of the reservoir, for example at Oregon Coast Camping. Even if the child is obedient and careful, in such a place you will constantly worry that he will fall somewhere. In order to relax, it is better to arrange halts and even more so to camp in places where there is nowhere to fall.

A small child has to be constantly monitored, but this is no more difficult than on a playground: as a rule, small children play in front of their parents or in the company of older children. If the child is going to go somewhere far away, you can return him or go for a walk with him.

The main danger on the route is getting wet and freezing. Therefore, if the cold rain caught you on the way, you should rather look for shelter, put up a tent, stretch the awning and be sure to have a supply of dry and warm clothes for children with you.

It is better to avoid movement on difficult and dangerous terrain. If it is impossible to bypass such a section, the child must be provided with insurance or transferred by the hand.

For each area, it is necessary to clarify in advance the presence of a rescue service and have its contacts with you. The group must have a working mobile phone, and in the absence of a network, a satellite phone. It is advisable for children to take out health insurance.

More tips about tourism you can find here.

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