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Ask Me: Tips For a First Backpacking Trip With Young Kids

Ask Me: Tips For a First Backpacking Trip With Young Kids

Tips for our first family backpacking trip? We have a three year old and a 1.5 year old.

Via Twitter from Melissa Avery ‏@melissabravery

@MichaelALanza: Find a lake or stream 1 or 2 mi. in. Camp there 2 nights, so you have a full day for leisure, dayhiking, playing in the water. At that age, just make it fun for kids. Amazing how much time it takes just to manage kids’ needs at that age. Hard to go far cuz you can only carry so much and a 3yr-old can’t walk far. Plus, that close to the car, you can bail (sick kid) and have one adult make 2 trips with loaded pack if needed.

Melissa Avery ‏@melissabravery: now that I didn’t think about. Good tip! We decided on Pt Reyes Natl seashore Hike in 5 miles camp there two nights do day hikes. I have a super energetic 3 year old.

[In Ask Me, I share and respond to a reader question. Got a question about hiking, backpacking, gear, or any topic or trip I write about at The Big Outside? Send it to me at or tweet it to @MichaelALanza. I will answer the ones I can in a post, using only your first name and city, with your permission.]


About The Author

Michael Lanza

A former field editor and primary gear reviewer for Backpacker Magazine, Michael Lanza created The Big Outside to share stories and images from his many backpacking, hiking, and other outdoor adventures, as well as expert tips and gear reviews to help readers plan and pull off their own great adventures.


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    I’m taking my 5 year old nephew on his first trip this summer and I was thinking something similar. I was just planning one night, but I like your idea to make it two. Something else that a friend told me was bring lots of snacks.


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