Essential Tips for Hiking with Baby
You may think that hiking with baby is a crazy idea, but it doesn’t have to be a challenge at all. Hitting the trails with your baby can be a fun and enjoyable outing for everyone. Babies just love being outdoors and there are so many things for them to see and experience.
Spending time in nature is beneficial for so many reasons, for yourself and your baby. These are special bonding moments that will never be forgotten. So don’t be wary of the thought of taking your baby on a hike. With good preparation, you can both have a wonderful time on the trails and may even find yourself outdoors more often than not!
Whether you are planning an overnight camping trip or just a family day hike, remembering a few important items when packing, and keeping in mind these essential tips will go a long way to making your trip a memorable one.
Use a comfortable baby carrier.
This is essential! One of the most important items for you and your baby’s comfort is a suitable baby carrier. There is nothing worse than walking long distances on tough terrain with an uncomfortable carrier breaking your back—or an uncomfortable and unhappy baby wiggling the whole way.
Having a carrier that can carry your child both in front of you, and on your back, is your best option for comfort on the trails. This way you have two options when one side is getting a little tired. It’s even better if you are able to find a carrier with rain and sun protection.
If your baby is around one year old, consider getting a carrier that props them up high on your back so that they can take in all the surroundings. Letting them see everything keeps them occupied and in good spirits.
Pack the essential items for hiking with baby…and more!
While you may know what to pack for your usual camping or hiking trip, when you are taking a baby along, there is a lot more to remember! If you forget an item, it can lead to a miserable baby and an unhappy parent. Some items you and your baby should not go without are:
Essential Item #1: Get your baby a good sunhat. Babies constantly want to pull off their hats, so if your baby isn’t used to wearing one then it’s a good idea to start practicing at home before you hit the trails. Sunscreen goes without saying, especially when hats come off so often!
Essential Item #2: Bring along trekking poles. Even if you choose an easy path, a wriggling baby can make for difficult balancing. Trekking poles will help you keep your balance and stable footing along the trails. The last thing you want is to trip and fall with a baby on your back.
Essential Item #3: Pack a small emergency first aid kit with all the baby medicines necessary. While this is on a typical camping/hiking packing list, you need to make sure you have added medication that is suitable for babies or small children.
Essential Item #4: Bring spare clothing, extra socks and windbreakers. Bring light clothing for warmer weather, and warm clothing no matter what. Weather can be unpredictable, accidents can happen, clothing can get dirty and wet (yes, even more so than at home!). You do not want to be stuck without a change of clothes if you need it.
Essential Item #5: Items you simply cannot go without include: diapers, wipes and plenty of disposable bags to collect and store those dirty diapers. Pack as many as you can fit and carry.
Essential Item #6: Pack your child’s favorite toys, especially if you are camping overnight. Pack what is suitable and lightweight. This is a great idea for keeping your baby occupied while pitching tents or taking short breaks on the trail. While you might be having an amazing time taking in the peaceful surroundings, babies get bored easily.
Essential Item #7: Capture those memories. Take your camera or just use your phone, but take photos, and then take some more! Hiking together creates special memories between you and your child. To have those photos to show your child when they are older is such a blessing. As we all know, babies grow up faster than we would like! So, take in every single precious moment when hiking with baby.
Choose your trail wisely.
Planning your hiking route beforehand will prevent you from finding yourself on a trail that is simply too demanding for someone carrying a baby. Stay away from trails with steep drops or rough terrain, heavy climbs or unpredictable streams. The last thing you want is to find yourself ready for the trail, only to come across sections that are simply too dangerous to navigate.
Picking a trail that has good shade coverage helps prevent overexposure to the sun. It’s a good idea to read reviews to determine if a trail is right for you and your baby. These will give you the best first-hand experience from fellow hikers and help you make an informed decision.
Practice makes perfect when hiking with baby.
Test out all of your gear including your trekking poles, shoes/boots and your baby carrier before your first hike. This will also help you to figure out how much you can potentially pack and carry on your back (or front).
Hiking with baby on a few shorter trails or going on a couple of long walks before attempting longer hiking trails is a very good idea. This helps to prepare you for going on a real hiking adventure together. Especially if you are considering camping overnight.
Don’t hike on your own.
Even without a baby, hiking on your own is not typically recommended. Take your partner or a friend that knows your baby well and loves to hike! They can help carry some of the items you need to take and share the load of carrying the baby. Also, if something does go wrong on the trails, you have someone to help.
Take in every moment.
Possibly the most important tip on this list is to take in the special moments with your baby. Memories made with your children from a young age can drastically shape their future. Plus, spending time in nature as a family is a beautiful bonding experience. You will have to account for a lot more time on the trails due to diaper changes, letting baby stretch their legs and feedings. Let them explore their natural surroundings to their heart’s content. This is all new to them and stimulation is great for a baby’s development!
Mila has a passion for the outdoors and is a mountain enthusiast! Together with her husband, Mark, they founded Mountain IQ with a goal to provide the best information on the most popular mountain destinations in the world. When she’s not writing about the outdoors, that’s where you’ll find her.