|Photo Credit: twoknobbytires.com|
At first thought, hiking with a baby or toddler doesn’t seem to be a winning recipe for a relaxing, invigorating outing. As beautiful as a rising sun over a mountain peak may be, a crying baby cancels it out.
But as an avid hiker and a parent, you can unite the best of both worlds with a little bit of kid planning and preparation.
Want to take your infant on an upcoming excursion? For starters, experts say it’s wise to wait until they’re at least one month old. Before then, their skin and bodies are still too sensitive to be exposed to inclement weather, including sun, heat and rain.
Here are a few additional tips for making your next trek with a toddler in tow.
Get some age-appropriate baby-carrying gear.
A widening range of hiking-friendly baby carriers are available on the market, ranging from newborns all the way up to 60-pound children. Sites such as BabyCenter recommend using a front carrier for children aged 1 to 6 months old, and a back carrier for children 6 to 12 months old.
Check out this video by Kelty on the Kelty Journey 2.0 Backpack, built for both parents and little ones.
Identify an easy hike.
In many cases, you can scope out potential trails online through sites such as EveryTrail, or visit the websites of your local state parks system. The Sierra Club also has a comprehensive directory of trails.
Try out the trail first.
Ahead of your hike, head out to your trail and scope things out. Look for stretches of the trail that would be too perilous to navigate. Beware of steep grades and obstacle-ridden portions. Survey potential shady spots, in case you need to take a rest with your toddler.
Start out by planning to hike a small portion of the trail. Use this time to not only take in sweeping vistas and burn some calories, but also bond with your child: sing songs, point out various animals and trees. As you get more comfortable, try hiking a longer section each outing.
If you plan ahead, your first trek with a toddler in tow can be a great experience.