Taking Children on a Hike

You’ve gone hiking by yourself, with your friends, wife, girlfriend, and boyfriend, and have decided that you love it. It is the perfect way to recharge those internal batteries and clear your mind.

But what about your kids? They could benefit from going on a hike as well. The exercise from running and jumping, no technology, exposure to wildlife, and building their self-confidence. 

 Hiking can be done all year long. But please be cautious and check the weather before you venture out. 

Taking your children hiking has many benefits (more than those listed above) but there are some things that you need to prepare before you go. Every age group is different and may need more attention than others. 

Taking Infants on a Hike

You can take your infant children or child hiking with you just like you take them anywhere else. There’s no certain age that says when you can or should start. It’s up to you when your child starts their hiking adventures. If you enjoy hiking, it’s good to get started sooner than later. No babysitter is needed. (Saves you money)

  • Make sure the trail you have chosen isn’t too difficult for you. You will be carrying extra weight and it will make a difference.
  • Find the right baby carrier. There are hundreds of carriers on the market specifically for hiking. You can visit your local outdoor store or order online. You’ll need to get used to wearing it and your infant will need to be comfortable in it as well. 
  • Find the right stroller. Yes, you can take strollers hiking. Again, research and find the one that is right for you and your infant.
  • Before you go full steam ahead, ease them into hiking. Take a few easy trails and then go to the more challenging trails. Put them in that new baby carrier or stroller you just bought. Try to plan your hike around nap time.
  • Have separate bottles for milk and water. This makes things a little easier, so you’re not constantly cleaning bottles.
  • Put a hat or cap on your infant’s head. Make sure it is big enough to cover the head, neck, and shoulders. 

  Remember to always check the weather first before you leave. You might want to double and even triple-check your pack so you don’t forget anything. Good preparation makes a trip even better.


Taking Toddlers Hiking

       That infant you have packed on numerous hikes can now walk on their own. (Thank goodness) Now it’s time to let them explore and enjoy the great outdoors on their own two feet. But before you go, read below for tips on hiking with a toddler.

  • Plan lots of extra time. Your new hiker will want to walk, see and touch everything. Let them wander. This will make the hike more enjoyable for them and you.
  • Pack a change of clothes. They will get dirty and muddy. You don’t want to take the trail home with you. 
  • Have a suitable carrier. Little legs get tired quickly so having that carrier will be key to finishing the trail. 
  • Make sure they have a comfortable pair of sneakers. Let’s be honest, that new pair of boots or shoes you bought will be ruined by the end of the day. A well-broken-in pair of sneakers will go a long way.
  • Trail selection is important. Try taking an easy trail for their first few times walking on their own.  
  • Take lots of breaks. Remember they are just starting so their stamina hasn’t been built up yet. 
  • Have lots and lots of snacks and water. All that exploring will make them hungry and thirsty.
  • Don’t go alone. Ask other adults and kids to accompany you and your little one on your hike. This will benefit all the adults and children involved. The little hikers have some company to enjoy their time with and the adults share carrying the load of extra supplies and even children (if they are nice enough). Remember they will get tired and will most likely need to be carried on the longer hikes.

Above all just have fun and relax. You (and the kids) are out there to decompress, breathe fresh air, and enjoy mother nature. Prepare for your trip extensively and always do your research. No one wants their day spent in the hospital, getting treated for injuries or allergies, getting rained on, or cold. 

Double and triple-check your packs to ensure you have everything you need for your day or hours of hiking. And don’t forget to check the weather before you go out.


Taking Grade School-Aged Children Hiking

    You have several hours of hiking under your belt, but hiking with school-aged children is a whole new ball game. You have to be well prepared and have eyes on their every move. Now that they can move freely, they will want to explore more and move quickly. You are responsible for this tiny human. You have to watch out for potential threats, life-threatening situations and the weather as always.

  • Anything can happen so be prepared. Expect the unexpected.
  • This will take a lot of time. There will be several stops, pauses, and complaining. It’s ok because fun will be had. 
  • Keep your small hiker within sight. Let them know that staying in sight will keep them safe. If they are out of sight, call for them. Always know where they are and what they are doing.
  • Teach them the Leave no Trace Behind Principles.  
  • Get your child a safety whistle and teach them how to use it. 
  • Try switching them from a water bottle to a water reservoir. Water reservoirs fit easily into the backpack your little hiker is carrying. 
  • Look for kid-friendly trails. Most websites have a rating system that measures the difficulty of each trail you might want to hike.
  • Let them help with planning the day. Let them help decide what trail to hike, the time to go, and maybe pick a place to eat after you finish your hike.
  • Everyone bring a friend. Having a friend tag-a-long will make the trip so much more fun. It gives your little one someone to play with and helps keep them entertained.
  • Give them something to keep them occupied. Activities like finding leaves with different shapes, colors, rocks, bird watching, and Geocaching.

What is Geocaching?

     Geocaching is hunting for and finding hidden objects by using GPS coordinates from a website. This is a very popular activity among hikers of all ages. If you want to know more about geocaching, check out geocaching.com for more details Below you will find a few things to get you started.   

  • Download the app. You can’t get started without the app. Go to the app store and download the app of your choice and follow the intrsuctions to get started. If they have a phone or some kind of device, then use that if you don’t wish for them to use your phone or device.
  • Get permission to enter private land. Geocaches can be hidden and found on private land but it is best to have permission to be there.
  • Make sure you log the geocache. Log your find on the app or the logbook so your find count can increase.
  • You can hide your own geocache. Join in on the fun with millions of people around the world by leaving your own treasure to find.

There are many other games and activities that you can do with your children while taking them on a hike. It may take a while for them to find the fun in hiking but it will come.

The Benefits of Hiking For Kids

 Not only do you benefit from hiking but your kids do as well. There are several opportunities for them to learn and grow physically as well as mentally. Here are some things your child will benefit from while hiking.

  • Physical exercise. This is the best benefit your child will get from hiking. All that movement will help your child develop stronger muscles, bone structure and build stamina for longer hikes and play. 
  • Building problem-solving skills. Which way do we go? How will we get to the other side? There will be obstacles that they will have to get over and around. You know from hiking that there are occasional trees and large rocks on the trail that will be blocking the way. Figuring out a way around obstacles is half the fun. Ask them what they would do and if they see a way past the obstacle.
  • Listening skills. Listen for signs of water, the rustling of leaves, animals or other people on the trail. Bird watching is a common way to pass time while hiking. Listen for the calls of your favorite birds.
  • Logging and recording information. Have your child draw a picture or write a brief description of what they saw while on the trail. It could be leaves, animals, birds, reptiles, trees or a combination of many things. 
  • Mental health break. Today’s world is fast-paced even for children. They need a break as much as you do so let’s go hiking!

There isn’t a certain age that you have to wait to start planning your hiking trips that include your child or children. It is up to you when you want them to accompany you on your adventure. Just remember:

  • Check the weather before you go
  • Plan for the hike to take longer than expected
  • Get your child or children to help you plan the hike. This will make the trip more enjoyable.
  • Carry extra snacks and water. If they are old enough, have them pack their own snacks and water.
  • Have a good pair of comfortable shoes and comfortable clothes to wear.
  • Ask friends to tag along and enjoy the hike with you. The more the merrier!

Please be careful out there and enjoy your hike!

What Are The Leave No Trace Principles?

The wild, wilderness, forest (or whatever you call it) can be for everyone to enjoy. I enjoy the peace of it all.  When hiking or camping in the wilderness, clean up after yourself. Leaving no trace behind means leaving no trash and leaving things the way you found them. 

While planning your trip, please consider the national Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics guidelines as a way of life while camping or hiking.

What are the Leave No Trace Principles? 

1) Plan Ahead and Prepare

  • Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you are visiting
  • Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies
  • Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use 
  • Repackage food to minimize waste
  • Use a map and compass 

2) Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

  • Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites
  • Camp at least 200 feet from lakes and streams
  • Keep campsite small: concentrate in areas of low vegetation
  • Walk single file in the middle of the trail even when it’s wet or muddy

3) Dispose of Waste Properly

  • Pack it in, pack it out. Look around the campsite, and trail for spilled food and trash. If you pack it in, pack it out. Dispose of all trash in the proper place. You can find bear-proof trashcans at the beginning of most trailheads.
  • Dispose of human waste in catholes (holes dug 6-8 inches deep) and 200 feet away from trails and water sources. Cover and disguise the hole. (Some places require you to pack out human waste as well. Check the rules of the location you have chosen before you leave home)
  • Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products
  • To wash yourself or your dishes, carry the water 200 feet away from lakes and streams and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Strain the dishwater of any food remnants and spread the water 20 feet away from lakes and streams. Pack food scraps out and place them in the bear-proof trashcan at the head of the trail.

4) Leave What You Find

  • Examine but do not touch historical or structural artifacts
  • Avoid damaging live trees and plants
  • Leave areas as you found them. Don’t dig trenches or make things like tables and lean-tos.
  • Avoid introducing new or non-native species to the area

5) Minimize Campfire Impacts

  • Where fires are permitted, use fire rings or already established firepits
  • Camp in areas where firewood is plentiful 
  • Take firepans, lightweight camping stoves (these make fires quick and easy), or build mound fires to leave no trace
  • Only use the firewood that’s in the area. Never pack in any wood that is not native to the area you are staying

6) Respect Wildlife

  • Do not disturb, feed, touch, or approach wildlife
  • Observe wildlife from a distance
  • If you see wildlife in need of help, do not approach or attempt to help. Injured wildlife can and may harm you and cost you a hospital visit.
  • Dispose of human waste properly. Catholes should be dug 6-8 inches and 200 feet away from water sources. Pack all trash out with you.

7) Be Considerate to Others

  • Keep pets under control
  • One rule that most hikers/campers live by is when you are going downhill and someone is coming uphill, you move to the side to let them through.
  • On some trails, there is an exception that bicyclists, will yield to both hikers and equestrians. Always let your fellow adventurers know you are passing them.
  • Let the sound of wildlife and the wild surround you. Please do not make loud noises or sounds.

I hope you enjoy your time adventuring in the wilderness. For more information on the 7 principles, check out the Leave no Trace organization and its mission statement. Please leave nothing behind and take nothing with you. Begin your adventure today!

Hiking With Your Pet

 Do you know who would make the best hiking companion? Your dog! Hiking with your pet is both relaxing for you and them as well. Not to mention the exercise the both of you will get while out on the trail.  Exercising is just one of the benefits of hiking with your pet, but several more. 

Before you go you should check to see if you are allowed to take your pet with you. Hiking with your pet is great and rewarding but some trails don’t allow dogs. You can find information about most trails on Google or you can buy a trail guide.   

I brought up the topic of hiking with your pet in a previous post. Let’s talk about what equipment your four-legged friend may need, what the trip may look like, can your four-legged companion make the trek, and other tips for hiking with your pet.

How can I prepare my dog for hiking?

If you want to take your dog hiking, you need to get them ready for hiking. Let’s go over some ways you can do this.

Is your dog sepsiptible to weather changes? Can they handle the prolonged activity? Some dogs don’t handle these changes well. Dogs with small or short nasal openings like bulldogs and boxers might have difficulty breathing. This will be a problem or fatal for your hiking partner. 

Do you have an older dog or puppy? Again they may not handle the changes in weather as you walk the trail. Older dogs may have issues keeping up on long hikes due to their joints (old age) and puppies don’t have the stamina to keep up.

Before taking a long hike, take your dog on smaller hikes. I suggest starting with short walks on paved trails and sidewalks. As you go on more and more walks, try different terrain and elevation types. When you are hiking, the terrain is not always flat or smooth. Most of the terrain you encounter will be uneven and sometimes rough. All that walking will toughen your dog’s footpads, making it less painful to walk over rough terrain.  As time goes by, your dog’s stamina grows, allowing them to accompany you on longer hikes. Maybe you can take them camping if you decide to go. (That’s a post for a later date)

Make sure to keep your hiking companion under control. There will be other dogs, people, and wildlife on the trails when you go. Make sure that you keep them within eyesight and/or they can hear you. If they don’t come to you when you call them, you may need to retrain them. Not everyone loves dogs as much as you do. Make your dog sit with you off-trail as other hikers are approaching (That’s good hiking etiquette). Wild animals do live in the area and could pose a threat to your dog as well as your dog being a threat to them. This scenario may not end well for both parties. It is important to keep your dog under control.

And most importantly, leave no trace behind. If you don’t want to carry your dog’s waste out with you, take a small shovel and bury it. This method works best in my opinion especially if you’re on a long hike or camping.

Hiking Essentials For Dogs

  Just like you, your dog will need a few things for the trip. You can find hiking essentials for dogs at your local pet store, online, and stores that sell outdoor recreation equipment. Here is a list of a few essentials you should take when hiking with your pet:

  • Food and or treats- Food is vital for energy levels. 
  • Water Bottle and/or a collapsible bowl- You don’t want them drinking from stagnant water sources. Collapsible water bowls are compact and easy to carry. Smart water bottles work best because they are light and the quantity is just right. 
  • Pet safe insect repellant- Insects are pests to everyone including your pet. Mosquitos and ticks can carry diseases that are fatal to your best friend. You must protect them as well as yourself. 
  • Waste bags- Leave no trace behind of you or your pet there. Pick up their waste and take it out with you. 
  • Rain Jacket- The weather can be unpredictable and very harsh at times. A Rain jacket will help keep your friend and your vehicle dry.
  • Towel- If you’re not feeling the rain jacket, a towel will do. 
  • Extra leash- Just in case your primary leash breaks.
  •  Boots or shoes- Sometimes the terrain is rough and your dog’s paws may get injured. The boots/or shoes will prevent some injuries but not all. Be mindful of where you and where your dog is stepping.

The most common dangers to dogs while hiking

I touched on this subject earlier but let’s talk about other common dangers to dogs while hiking.

Bugs are the worst. Ticks and mosquitos are by far the ones to watch out for the most. They carry all kinds of potential diseases and illnesses that can make your friend sick.

Animals like coyotes, bears, wolves, and other predatory animals may be around.

Injuries may happen. It would be best to have a doggie first aid kit handy. 

Snakes. A potential snake bite could be fatal for your friend. Be careful.

Plants: Several plants could be a danger to your dog. Always keep them within eyesight.

Cliffs and holes are everywhere when you are hiking. Falling off of a cliff or into a hole could cause serious injury or even death.  Be mindful of your surroundings when out in the wild.

Hiking can be both fun for you and your pet, but there are hidden dangers all around you. Keep your head on a swivel and stay alert. Have your trail selected before you go out. Do your research on the trail you have chosen to hike. Make sure the trail has a good rating for pets and can be easily traversed by them. Check the weather forecast and plan accordingly. Be sure to have water and a first aid kit. The key is to plan and have fun on your adventure.

Hiking is for everyone!

Hiking is both relaxing and good for your health. It builds muscle, gives you a workout, and clears the mind. It’s hands down one of my favorite activities. I try to go as often as I can. For me, it’s the sense of adventure. Going into the woods, on a new trail, or even an old one and discovering something new.

My favorite part about hiking, getting away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. I get to relax for an hour or several hours depending on how long I want to hike. Breathing fresh air, the calm and soothing sounds of the woods, and the scenery. I’m sure you’ve seen photos on the internet or billboards, the woods are in the background and they are smiling and happy. Imagine that is you and you’re looking at that same scene in real life. Sounds good huh.

You don’t have to go alone on your adventure (I should have mentioned that earlier). You can take your loved ones and friends. It’s a good idea to take someone with you just in case an emergency arises and you can’t make it back to your car or beginning point. The adventure will be even more fun with a companion(s). Make it a getaway just for a few hours or days if you want to camp.

If you wish to get away and relax, you should give hiking a try. The scenery, calming and relaxing nature of the outdoors will rejuvenate you, help you to re-focus, and have you feeling great. But before you go, here are a few things to consider to get you started. 

What Should I Bring With Me

Get a backpack that suits your needs. A day pack (18-30L) will work for everyday use and short hikes. If you are going hiking and camping, I suggest getting a larger backpack. You will need more supplies on that trip. Never pack or bring more than you will need. All the unnecessary things will just add weight.

I suggest a paper map and compass. Yes, an actual old-school map. You can download an app with all the maps of the trails you plan to hike but never fully trust technology. Your phone could fail at any time (or worse you lose it). Many places in the wilderness won’t have cell service or it’s very low signal so you will need these just in case. Also, pack a first aid kit, poncho, snacks (suggestions: granola bar, trail mix, chips), and a bottle of water.

You may want to purchase a whistle. (The Osprey day pack I have has a whistle on the cross strap) These are to be used in emergencies and alert others in the area where you need help. I highly recommend you get one of these.

The Weather

Always and I mean ALWAYS check the weather. You can download a weather app for the most accurate and up-to-date forecast before you go out on the trail. I know I said previously that cell phones could lose signal while hiking but it’s never a bad idea to be prepared. Knowing the weather forecast will help you dress better for the hike that you are about to take. You don’t want to be overdressed or underdressed for your trip. You have a backpack, right? It’s never a bad idea to bring extra clothes with you. I normally pack a light pullover or small jacket in my pack when I go hiking.

Would you like to know what can help predict the weather while on your hike? Clouds and their formations. You don’t have to be a meteorologist or an expert. Certain cloud formations can give you a preview of what type of weather is coming. For example, thunderhead clouds are flat at the bottom and have a huge top that rises into the sky. This is an indication that a storm is coming. You should turn around and go back to your starting point.

You Can Bring Pets on your Adventure

Taking your four-legged friends on your hike is a great idea. They are always ready and willing to go. Hiking with your dog will help them stay healthy and keep them in shape. Before you set out on your adventure, make sure the trail allows dogs and if they do, follow all rules and regulations.

Keep your dog on a leash. This will help your dog as well as other hikers on the trail stay safe. An unleashed dog can run off/ out of sight, interfere with wildlife, and may cause damage to the habitats of the wildlife.

You may want to consider treating your dog with flea and tick treatment. This will keep them from carrying any small critters home or potentially getting sick from a bite. I will give my dog a bath with flea and tick shampoo before we leave and after we get back. A flea and tick collar won’t hurt either.

Pack some dog food and water as well. Depending on how long you hike, you can give them the food in small amounts as you walk along. This will keep their energy level up as well

I do just a few things to ensure my dog stays healthy, safe, and energetic. I’ve just touched on a few things you can do for your dog but there are plenty of other things you can do as well. Please do your research and consult your dog’s veterinarian before taking them hiking.

What Should I Wear

You don’t need to purchase expensive clothes to wear while hiking. Although if you’re going on a hike in/camping trip, you may want to invest in some good clothes. But if it’s just a day hike, you won’t need anything but a good set of sneakers, a pair of comfortable pants, and a shirt.

The most important part of your wardrobe will be your shoes. Boots are a better choice because they will give better ankle support than sneakers. The terrain might be rocky, uneven, and may be filled with tree roots and ruts. Again you don’t need to purchase an expensive pair of boots. Get the best pair you can within your price range. Get a pair that is made of waterproof material yet breathable.

When you are deciding on a shirt and pair of pants, avoid clothes made of cotton. Synthetic, moisture-wicking material works much better at keeping you cool. They also dry very quickly. Dry clothes aren’t as heavy as wet clothes. Don’t forget to check the weather as it will determine what you will wear while out on a hike.


There are lots of critters in the wilderness (yes you are going to see a few of these) Bugs, deer, bears, coyotes, elk, goats, and snakes just to name a few. The bugs will be the most problematic. I suggest bug spray that doesn’t run off when you sweat. Off! is just one brand of bug repellant that doesn’t wear off when you sweat. You should buy a can of bug repellant and add it to your hiking bag.

Bears will be in some places when you go hiking but it’s rare to see one. When you arrive at the trailhead, there will be signs posted that will indicate if they are in the area. Don’t let that deter you from a relaxing walk through the woods. You can buy something called bear spray. The bear spray also works on other animals as well. Please educate yourself on how to properly use and deploy this spray.

Snakes! Yes, snakes. Most of the snakes you will encounter will be nonpoisonous but you should treat them all the same. If you happen to see one, you should take a wide path around it to avoid any contact. If you have a four-legged friend, keep them close to you so they avoid getting hurt or causing injury to the snake. (Yes I know it’s a snake. Be kind)

Are you Ready

Are you all set? Are you excited to go? I am! I was ready to go the moment I started typing this post. Hiking is a good way to relax, see nature, and have fun. It’s not an Olympic sport and you don’t have to be in top shape to do participate. You don’t need to be a seasoned hiker or survival expert either. Grab a bottle of water, some family or friends (four-legged as well), your backpack full of supplies, and some nice comfortable clothes, suitable for the day.

The key things to get you started are above and ready for your use. There are several lists of things to take, to do, not to do, and what to be careful of. Always do your research on the area you plan on hiking in and pay close attention to your surroundings. As you start hiking more and more, several things will become second nature to you. (See what I did there?)

I’m getting up now and heading out on the trails. Maybe I’ll see you out there. Be safe, Be careful, and have some fun!

Will you see some beautiful sites? Yes

Will you You don’t have to be a seasoned hiker or outdoor expert to go. Just go and have some fun!

About Me

About Robert

When I was a child, I loved being outdoors. Growing up in the country led me on several adventures. Most of the day was spent exploring, walking through the fields of tall brush, trees, and various small hills. As an adult, I still love the great outdoors.

As I have become older, I still love being outdoors and hiking gives me the adventure I need. It allows me to breathe, explore and take in all the world’s beauty. No phone reception, cars going by, crowds of people, and the best of all, no computer screens. The only thing that stopped me was sprained ankles and foot pain.

One thing you need to pay attention to is your footwear. It doesn’t matter where you are, the terrain you’re or what you are doing. Footwear is very important. I can’t count the number of times I’ve sprained and /or twisted my ankles. Sneakers are good, but they aren’t good on all terrain. A good pair of hiking shoes or boots can take you further.

A Better Experience

Hiking can be fun and a learning experience at the same time. When I’m walking up the trail, my head is in the trees, sky, and off in the distance. Not paying attention at all to where I’m stepping.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve stepped on a rock, tree root, or loose earth and have injured myself somehow. Depending on the nature and severity of the injury, I would have to turn back or worst yet, get a friend to help me back along the trail to the car. Was I mad, hell yeah I was? I’ve ruined my friend’s hiking experience and I’ve put a halt to my adventures for the day.

Paying attention and taking precautions is always the way to go. That’s why buying the right shoes is the best call.

What I Want For You

I want you to go hiking. Get outdoors and get moving. Find an adventure and go see the beautiful creations and scenery that this earth has to show you. Go places that you haven’t been to. Take pictures, lots of them!

But first, find the right footwear and other accessories that you may need on your adventure because you can’t go without the proper gear. Find it here on hiking shoes and accessories.

Now go and have some fun. See all the things.


Robert Stoner
email: robert@theadventuresofhiking.com