Spending time with your family—especially outdoors (weather permitting, of course)—is always a good time. And whether you’re a nature-lover or simply love being outside when you get the opportunity, a hiking trip (at an appropriate level) is an engaging, family-friendly activity. Here are some tips to help you prepare for your next family hiking trip, with respect to all ages, levels, and safety concerns.
1. Pick the Right Destination
Choosing a trail that’s right for your family is an important first step. If you’re hiking with young children, you’ll want to pick a trail that isn’t too long or difficult. Also, consider the scenery and make sure there are plenty of engaging sights along the way. This can create opportunities for conversation as well as keep interest as you move.
It’s also wise to research any potential hazards, such as wildlife or dangerous terrain, so that you can plan accordingly.
2. Get Your Gear Together
Make sure everyone has proper clothing and footwear! Remember, it is often a different temperature (and much cooler if you’re in a place with dense foliage) on the trails than it is at home. Pack plenty of water and energy-filled snacks as well as sunscreen and insect repellent. Bring a first-aid kit in case of emergencies, and make sure you have a map of the area as well as a compass if you’re unfamiliar with the trails.
3. Prepare for Emergencies
It’s essential to have an emergency plan in place. Make sure everyone knows what to do if they become separated from the group or encounter something dangerous while out on the trail. Have someone carry a cell phone (make sure it has good reception, too!) and let people back home know where you are going and when you expect to be back.
Just for added protection, it may be a good idea to carry a two-way radio system (i.e. walkie-talkie) and that everyone knows how it works. Having communication with someone outside is crucial!
4. Talk About Rules Ahead of Time
Before heading out, set some ground rules so that everyone is on the same page. For example, establish noise limits, decide who will be responsible for carrying snacks and water, and so on. Give everyone a chance to voice their opinion, and make sure that everyone is comfortable with the plan before you set out!
5. Have Fun
Above all, remember to have fun. Hiking can be an excellent way for families to bond and learn about nature together. Of course, make sure everyone is safe and that you’re following proper etiquette while out on the trails, but also take time to stop and take in the scenery or search for wildlife.
Preparing for a family hiking trip doesn’t have to be complicated. With the right planning and preparation, you can make sure that everyone has fun and stays safe on the trail. So, grab your gear and get out there!
Featured Image Credit: Angelo Pantazis
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