13 Adventure-Boosting Hacks for Hiking with Kids Under 5 Years

Picture this: armed with an OS Map, sturdy hiking boots, and a flask of hot chocolate topped with marshmallows, your family embarks on a Peak District expedition. It's not just about the walk; it's a chance for family togetherness, mental wellness, and maybe even an early bedtime!

Ever felt the frustration of little ones resisting walks, complaining after a few steps, and insisting on being carried? As an outdoorsy parent, it can be disheartening when your kids don't share your enthusiasm for nature.

That's why I'm here to spill the beans on our top tips for hiking with under-5s, including tricks for hiking with toddlers and injecting fun into the trek. After all, happy kids mean longer walks and happier parents!

Remember, these are what work for us. Every family is unique, so some of these hiking tips may not fit your style. That's totally fine! Hopefully, you'll snag a couple of ideas to spice up your next countryside escapade.

Tip 1: Embrace the Toddler Trekking Adventure

Say goodbye to the buggy and carrier! While reminiscing about the days of hiking with a baby may bring nostalgia, transitioning to hiking with toddlers sans carrier or stroller can be a game-changer.

Many parents opt to continue using carriers for toddlers, but this often results in less walking for the little ones, with the fresh air and gentle swaying lulling them to sleep. Once our youngest hit 18 months, we bid farewell to the carrier on hikes and minimized stroller use in town.

Although progress may seem snail-paced with tiny feet covering short distances, eliminating the carrier and buggy removes the temptation to resort to them. This decision helped our kids acclimate to hiking early on, fostering their love for outdoor adventures.

While this approach demanded heaps of parental patience, the sweet reward of a blissful, marathon nap made it all worthwhile.

Tip 2: Snack Attack Strategy

Prepare for the munchies! Kids seem to have bottomless stomachs on hikes, so pack more snacks than you think you'll need. Begin with nutritious options, but don't shy away from a sweet treat like Haribo or marshmallows as a morale booster towards the hike's end. For an extra dose of fun, have one parent sneak ahead to hide a surprise treat behind a rock – watch how this motivates the little adventurers!

Don't forget to stay hydrated; ensure an ample supply of water for the journey. While hot chocolate in a flask is a cozy delight during colder seasons, it's essential to prioritize hydration throughout the hike.

Tip 3: Rise and Hike Early

Kick off your hiking adventure bright and early! Mornings are prime time for kids, brimming with energy and enthusiasm. Remember, the trek will likely take longer than anticipated, especially when factoring in impromptu detours for rock climbing or hill rolling – essential activities, of course!

While it's important not to rush the little ones, gently guide them in the right direction to avoid getting lost in the wilderness until nightfall. Starting early ensures a smoother journey and a timely return to your car before dusk settles in.


Tip 4: Happy Feet, Happy Hike

When it comes to footwear, opt for good-quality, comfortable hiking boots over wellies. While wellies are perfect for puddle hopping and brief walks, they fall short in providing the necessary comfort, support, and dryness for longer treks. Just imagine the discomfort of walking a considerable distance in wellies!

Ensure your little ones' feet are snug, supported, and dry with proper walking boots. The right footwear can make all the difference in keeping them happy and active throughout the hike.



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