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Easy wilderness backpacking with young kid

Backpacking and camping basics and other general trip planning discussion for the uninitiated. Use this forum to learn where to look for the information you need, and to ask questions, related to the beginner basics of backpacking and camping, including technique and best practices.

Re: Easy wilderness backpacking with young kid

Postby Harlen » Sat Apr 15, 2017 8:13 pm

Hello Pylot, My wife and I took our boys with us all over the mountains, deserts, arctic and jungles, and our working philosophy was if they're stoked- we're stoked. You tailor your trips toward their interests, and you can follow, or lead, them anywhere. And guess what" They commonly would happily double their ages in miles- beginning at the age of two and a half. That's nothing! I've seen Guatemalan 6 year olds packing their big baby siblings for miles, and Hindu, and Nepali kids carrying more than half their body weight in green fodder.

You sound like a pretty capable guy if you are ready for an unplanned bivouac; and that is the correct approach- be ready for anything. If you have the experience, and the right gear, you can take kids most anywhere; they are a lot hardier than most people think. Anyone who thinks it's wrong to challenge ourselves and our kids in the wild disappoints me greatly. Having spent nearly four years in healthier countries- mostly in the mountain regions of Asia, it is plain to me that around here we are some of the softer members of the species.

Anyway, "Pylot," I'll offer a few bits of advice from what we learned: 1. Bring heaps of extra gloves and mittens on snowy trips, and some real snow boots. Kids will soak their gloves digging in the snow, and chucking snow balls. 2. I advise a "short-rope" belay technique like the Swiss use with shaky clients. Let your boy lead, and keep about 10 - 15 feet of taut line between you wherever there is serious exposure- kids don't see danger like we do. 3. Bring a snow sled for both gear and tired kids, and for the fun of it! 4. Lots of powdered drink mix to help them stay hydrated. Best Wishes to you all, Harlen.

[In a few days, the boys were on the far side of those mountains in the first photo. The third is from a spring trip where they snow shoed and skied over "the Hump," and well into "Tablelands," snow camping in caves, such as in the last photo.]
early summer trips 2009 071.jpg

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Last edited by Harlen on Sun Nov 12, 2017 11:48 am, edited 1 time in total.



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Re: Easy wilderness backpacking with young kid

Postby Tom_H » Sat Apr 15, 2017 10:17 pm

JerryOnYourSix wrote:I like Kennedy Meadows, north on the PCT up to gauge station bridge. Easy route, lots of water, store/burgers/beer at trailhead.


From Kennedy up to that bridge is pretty flat, but sandy in places, so it would be a nice little in and out. OTOH, the PCT is a long ways from Kennedy Meadows and hiking from there to the PTC is no place for any 4 year old.
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