Friends of Big Bend National Park
Big Bend Conservancy

Over-estimating your experience or under-estimating the terrain in a place like Big Bend can result in serious injury or death. Use the information and advice found here wisely. Climb/Hike/Camp/Drive at your own risk.

+-Calendar for sale

 2019 BigBendChat Calendar on sale now!


backpacking with kids

  • 14 Replies
  • 4118 Views
*

Offline gotpaper1981

  • Jack Rabbit
  • *
  • 32
  • My heaven looks like this!!
backpacking with kids
« on: August 10, 2009, 05:20:42 PM »
I'm looking for some ideas on a first time backpacking trail with 5&6 year olds. Any ideas would be appreciated!!

Thanks,

Sara

*

Offline mountaindocdanny

  • Diamondback
  • *
  • 262
    • http://griffisfamilyoutdoors.blogspot.com
Re: backpacking with kids
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2009, 11:18:42 AM »
I've taken mine out on several trips in the Bend. We've done the Chisos, and a few bushwacking trips through the desert. Do you have more specifics on what you're looking for (ie. distance, water availability, terrain, etc)? It is important to remember that unless you head out around a spring you are going to have to pack in all of your water. Here are links to some trips I've done with my kids (it has admittedly been a little while since our last Big Bend trip).

Chisos Mountains
http://griffisfamilyoutdoors.blogspot.com/2006/12/blog-post.html

Tule Spring
http://griffisfamilyoutdoors.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2007-01-01T00%3A00%3A00-08%3A00&updated-max=2008-01-01T00%3A00%3A00-08%3A00&max-results=10

Paint Gap
http://griffisfamilyoutdoors.blogspot.com/2007_02_01_archive.html

Some other ideas would be to head out to Mule Ear Spring or the Chimneys. If the kids haven't spent much time around cacti I would teach them which are "bad plants" and "good plants" and then plan on bringing a good pair of tweezers anyway. I'm sure other folks here have lots of good ideas.

-Danny

*

oldfatman

  • Guest
Re: backpacking with kids
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2009, 12:57:50 PM »
The foremost thing is to remember it is about raising kids, not backpacking.

*

Offline randell

  • Coyote
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 2032
  • Purveyor of Fine Hats
Re: backpacking with kids
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2009, 02:38:48 PM »
Remember to go at their pace, not yours.  If they have to play catch up all the time they will not have fun at all.  I would definitely look for shorter trails.  In addition to mountaindocdanny's excellent suggestions, I would add the Chimneys trail. (2.1 miles out and 2.1 miles back)
There's nothing like a good quest to get you intimate with a place. - Tom Clynes

*

Offline RichardM

  • Admin/Moderator
  • Global Moderator
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 7618
Re: backpacking with kids
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2009, 07:16:13 PM »
For a first time backpack in the park, I'd say head up to one of the Juniper Flat or Boulder Meadow campsites. That way you're not too far in and it's an easy downhill walk back to the lodge. Not to mention the weather is typically less extreme in the Basin.

*

Offline fartymarty

  • Golden Eagle
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1147
  • Lovin' BiBe for 50 years.
Re: backpacking with kids
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2009, 10:11:39 AM »
You may find this link helpful: backpacking south rim with almost 5 yr old
Fort Worth

*

Offline gotpaper1981

  • Jack Rabbit
  • *
  • 32
  • My heaven looks like this!!
Re: backpacking with kids
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2009, 11:32:53 AM »
Wow. Some really great ideas from everyone!

They are well aware of cactus. My 6 year old is always pointing ones out that I don't even see. We have done many day trips in the hills on our ranches. We've also been camping with them since they were in diapers. We've done some day kayaking trips with them as well. Hubby and I just think it's time to take it to the next level with them. This way we can also see if we could plan some longer kayaking adventures. I love introducing them to new experiences and expanding their horizons beyond a window in a truck.

We are definitely aware of going at their pace. Isn't the rule that you travel at the pace of the slowest member of the group? Since I can do a 6 mile hike in an hour, we are thinking 5 miles in a day with lots of stops and time to explore on the way would be the limit. These are a couple of high energy boys that I have.

Our plans, hike in one day, set up camp, explore one day, hike out the third day. We aren't packing them heavy or anything. The packs I found for them to carry weigh 3 lbs, and we are thinking just their sleeping bag, and a change of clothes. Maybe some snacks and a platypus for them. No more than 8-10 pounds in all. I will weigh the pack as we load it to make sure. Then if it is too much on the trail, it won't be too much extra weight for my hubby and I to take on ourselves.

I have ordered two books on Big Bend, and will check out all the trails mentioned. I really appreciate the info.

*

Offline gotpaper1981

  • Jack Rabbit
  • *
  • 32
  • My heaven looks like this!!
Re: backpacking with kids
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2009, 02:50:49 PM »
Oh, I need to mention that my boys are very athletic for their ages. My oldest can already paddle and steer my 16 ft. kayak in calm water. The younger is starting to get it. I don't want anyone to think the wrong thing on me putting light packs on them. We are also aware of the possibility of us having to carry the packs in the end. We will start with some hikes around here with the packs for a few weeks before we go. Just day hikes to see how they handle it.

*

Offline badknees

  • Actually, I was there once
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 4390
  • I think I know that place
    • Through the Mirror
Re: backpacking with kids
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2009, 03:39:55 PM »
Quote
Since I can do a 6 mile hike in an hour,

I assume you mean 6 mile/day, 'cause 6 miles in an hour is a run not a hike!!
Not all those who wander are lost.
J.R.R. Tolkien

Through the Mirror
http://mirrormagic.com

*

Offline gotpaper1981

  • Jack Rabbit
  • *
  • 32
  • My heaven looks like this!!
Re: backpacking with kids
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2009, 04:30:39 PM »
No, in an hour. I do it 5 days a week. Our house is 3 miles from the highway, so I walk to the highway and back, for 6 miles! I just carry a light bag with water, moleskin, phone, and t.p.(just in case). Not really a hike with a full pack. We take the boys fo 1 mile hikes in the evenings a few days a week too.

On a long hike with the boys we take longer and stop alot to look around. Sometimes just to look at a cactus or a bug. Never know what they might be intrigued by. They really are very active boys. They can wear me out easily.

*

Offline elhombre

  • Golden Eagle
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1145
Re: backpacking with kids
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2009, 11:37:34 PM »
I don't want to discourage you or put you off in any way when it comes to backpacking with your kids, but I cannot think of a better way to ask this:  Have you ever hiked up a mountain with 3 gallons of water, a tent, and everything else you will need?  Consider that you will be backpacking a good amount heavier than that carrying your kids stuff too (extra food, sleeping bags, clothes and more water).  I am reacting to your comment that you "hike" 6 miles in an hour.  I am probably reading too much into your comment, but 5 miles a day is 5 hours of backpacking (walking) with kids from my experience.  Also, when the kids I have hiked with are done, they are DONE.  For this reason, we only load them down with a liter or so of water into their camel back and replenish it from our stash when they run out.  I believe that the grown-ups are much better at suffering under a heavy load than a kid.  Afford them the best chance to enjoy the first backpacking experience by reducing their stress level as much as possible.  Once they learn how much fun it is to backpack, THEN start loading them up.  That way they have a known picture in their head what is at the end of the trail, and it will be one that they will work for without complaining. 

I know I am only drawing from my personal experience, but now my little girl always asks to carry more of her own stuff.  She WANTS to help out.  But I always hold back on her pack weight some so she always enjoys the hike.  I guess my advise to you is carry what ever you need to carry to make the trip the most fun for your kids.  It will increase their enjoyment because it is simply a nice day hike three days in a row for them. 

Just don't forget the container of adult beverages for when they finally go to bed. mmmmmmmm  mom and dad time....
For 2 years the Fake News Media, Obama's FBI, CIA & DOJ, and Swamp dwelling Politicians COLLUDED, Illegally Spied,and LIED to America about POTUS in order to overturn an election

All the while demanding censorship and removal of opposition Conservative "hate speech" voices.  Globalists Hate Freedom

*

Offline gotpaper1981

  • Jack Rabbit
  • *
  • 32
  • My heaven looks like this!!
Re: backpacking with kids
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2009, 12:48:57 AM »
You are reading more into the "6 miles an hour." I do 6 miles an hour by myself. We figure 5-6 miles maximum for the kids comfortably. Yes I have hiked mountains carrying everything needed. Ones that you don't get to a water source to replenish your self. We are looking into ultra-light gear for everyone, to make it a little more enjoyable for mom and dad as well. That will help with the weight we end up carrying. A brilliant idea if ever I heard of one.

Please everyone, don't think that I am a slave driver to my children. I am well aware of going at the speed of the slowest person in the group. If that means 2 miles in a day. That's fine. If it means 5, great. I do 6 miles a day just to try and stay in shape. It's not with my boys. We sometimes do 1/2 to 1 mile walks with them in the evenings. Sometimes we go out for little day hikes in the pastures. We have two ranches here. One is pretty flat area and the other is just hills. We don't push them or hurry them along.

We are planning to carry the weight for these two. That's why we are thinking of just a two night stay in the backcountry somewhere. One day out, one day to explore(and rest), one day back. If they don't want to carry a pack, that's fine. My husband and I will gladly take the weight off them. Anything to make it as pleasant as possible. We want them to have an enjoyable time with this, so we can continue to do more as they grow. If they want to be like mommy and daddy, which my oldest absolutely idolizes his daddy, then we want them to have the opportunity to carry something. Even if it's just a little book and a sleeping bag. If they get tired of it, we will take the load on ourselves.

We don't drink, but thanks for the recomendations. I will look into possibly just a camelback for my 5 year old. He's the one I think will tire on me sooner. Believe me, I know what you mean by them being done with something.

I'm sorry if some if some of you have gotten the wrong impression what our goal is. We aim to show them a wonderful first experiance so they want to keep going back for more. That is one reason I refuse take them down there in the summer or early fall. They would be miserable from the heat. I know I was when I went in the summer.

One of the worst pieces of advice I found on a web site, was to take your small chidren hiking in the desert during the hottest part of the year. It's always easier to put more clothes on to warm up than it is to take them off to cool off.

*

Offline mountaindocdanny

  • Diamondback
  • *
  • 262
    • http://griffisfamilyoutdoors.blogspot.com
Re: backpacking with kids
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2009, 12:02:01 PM »
It sounds like y'all have experience outside and have reasonable goals. I have five kids (ages 6,5,4,3,2) and regularly take them backpacking. In fact my 6 year old is up to 52 backpacking trips in everything from desert to snowshoing with lows around 0. I've also taken multiple trips with the five of them by myself. I've taken some flak for what my kids and I do and I know some disagree with the places I take them. My wife and I are very comfortable with our backcountry skills and I make no excuses for what we do. My kids love to be outside and are always asking when we are headed out next.

In short, there will always be people who question your judgement. Please don't feel like you need to qualify your experience or how reasonable your expectations are. They are your kids and you know them better than anybody else. Have a great time, enjoy the desert and congratulations on giving your kids experiences that most would not even consider.

-Danny

*

Offline gotpaper1981

  • Jack Rabbit
  • *
  • 32
  • My heaven looks like this!!
Re: backpacking with kids
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2009, 12:50:00 PM »
Thank you for supporting our decisions. My husband and I went through your blog and were really impressed by the journeys you have taken your kids on. That is great to see someone else out there pushing the boundaries on what is expected. It's amazing how people are afraid to take a step out in the "wild" with their young ones. We step into the wild every time we walk out our front door.

Just a couple of weeks ago, my husband took our oldest rock climbing. He was impressed by his ability to judge where to go next. They really impress us with what they can accomplish if you give them a little space to try. We always watch their behaviors and actions to know when their limits have been reached.

I have one question. How much does that enormous pack you carry weigh? You really take a load on to take your kids out on an adventure of a lifetime. They will truly remember those experiences forever.

We have goals on what we think they will be ready for in the years to come. We find something they enjoy, and encourage them to keep at it. In 4 years we hope to go to Grand Teton and Yellowstone to hike and possibly do some rock climbing. That way our oldest has some more time to practice at it, and momma has time to adjust to the fears she faces in them pushing the boundaries. I have to admit, I can be a nervous wreck when it comes to some things. I just have to swallow it and go on. In 8-10 years we hope to have an opportunity to take on the Appalachian Trail. A dream of mine since I was in High School. Now I will hopefully have the opportunity to experience it not only for my first time, but through the eyes of my boys. By then they should be able to carry their own weight on that trip. Ultra light packing though. I believe that will ultimately be the trip of a lifetime for us all.

*

Offline mule ears

  • Administrator
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 4308
  • "He had to leave Texas but won't say why" McMurtry
    • 40 years of walking
Re: backpacking with kids
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2009, 04:26:21 PM »
I agree with mountaindocdanny and feel like you are thinking clearly on what the boys can do and not do. Of course I have to say that we don't have kids ourselves but my folks had me out camping before I could walk and I did my first week-long hiking trip, without adults, at age 13 so I know the joys and benefits of being introduced to and encouraged to explore the outdoors when young. Might be a big part of why I became a farmer so I could work outside all the time.  :icon_cool:

My hats off to all of you that take your kids out and spend time with them in the wilds, it will make them much better people when they grow up!  :eusa_clap:
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
http://40yearsofwalking.wordpress.com/

 


©COPYRIGHT NOTICE

All photographs and content posted by members are to be considered copyrighted by their respective owners and may not be used for any purposes, commercial or otherwise, without permission.

+-Calendar For Sale

 2019 BigBendChat Calendar on sale now!

Powered by EzPortal

Facebook Comments