What to Pack When Hiking with Kids!
Hiking is something that is good for the soul. We have always been a walking kind of family. My parents always took us for walks and it became a family affair. I have so many great memories of exploring nature, watching birds or finding tadpoles and turtles in the ponds.
Now with our own kids, that tradition continues. We enjoy getting out into nature and we think that life is better in hiking boots. For us, making sure that when we do go on our hikes, that we all have proper fitting shoes. Ones that are supportive and that can stand up to rocky terrain, mud and even water.
Take a Hike!
That’s why when Merrell Canada offered to suit us up into some of their boots, we were stoked. A good hike starts off with a good pair of shoes.
Read on for a list of what to pack when taking a hike with kids, top family friendly trails in Ontario and our hike in Ojibway Nature Park.
What to Pack When Taking a Hike with Kids!
- Water– It is absolutely essential to stay hydrated. Even for short walks, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. A good rule of thumb is to drink one quart of water for every 2 hours hiking. Darasak and I always carry extra because the kids usually just carry one bottle.
- Whistles– Everyone should carry one just in case that you get lost. It’s a great way to find each other.
- Cell Phone– It’s necessary when an emergency arises. Plus, it’s an amazing tool to have with its GPS. Make sure to bring along a recharging battery pack so that you always have a charge.
- Skin Protection– Even if the day is overcast, you’re going to need to wear sunscreen to protect your skin. Wearing protective clothes (long sleeves, pants) and using insect repellent is a must. Don’t forget to pack hats and even an extra pair of socks. If you’re prone to sweating in your socks, this will help you to avoid blisters.
- Snacks– It doesn’t matter where we are in the world, in a busy metropolis or the middle of nowhere, they ask for something to eat. Since hikes can burn up to 700 calories (depending on trail) you need to have fuel to keep them going and feeling okay. When we find a spot, we take a rest and enjoy a snack. We bring granola bars, nuts, dried fruits, fruit leather and protein bars.
- First-Aid Kit– This is important in case of an emergency. Darasak and I both carry one in our backpacks. I have a list of what we carry in our first aid kit, here. But, a basic kit should contain assorted bandages, gauze, moleskin, pain relievers, antihistamine and an epi-pen if you or your child need it.
Top Trails to Hike with a Family!
Now that you have all the essentials for what to pack when taking a hike with kids, you’re going to need to find trails that you can all enjoy. Here’s a list of ones that are great for families!
With the celebration of our great country’s 150th birthday, we are making it a point to take more hikes. You can cross out some of these from this list since you can pick up a Canada Parks pass and get FREE admission. Here’s the full list. The list below are great trails for families and not all covered under the pass.
- Ojibway Nature Park
- Waterfront Trail, Whitby
- Crawford Lake Trail, Milton
- Beaver Pond Trail, Algonquin Provincial Park
- The Niagara Escarpment, Bruce Trail
- Middlebrun Bay Trail, Thunder Bay
- Lime Kiln Trail, Ottawa
- Dufferin Islands Park, Niagara Falls
- Pinery Provincial Park, Lambton Shores
- High Park, Toronto
While we love paved out trails, what we love even more is getting off the beaten path and exploring. The girls especially love doing this since you can find so many things along the way.
One of the things that I enjoy about hiking is that we can find a spot to explore and I can sit on a log and just sit in silence. Out of that silence, you can hear nature come to life and then you start spotting all different types of birds and even deer make a swift appearance.
These Boots Were Made for Walking!
Gabby and I both wear almost the exact same size and we both got to break-in the Siren Sport Q2 Mid Waterproof. They come in various colours and we received the Beet Red and Crown Blue.
They are designed for wild and women (young women too) and they’re engineered for the way women move. That way, you can have support, alignment, and stability.
Lead the Way!
Darasak tends to be pretty adventurous and he leads us through the trails. He’s always been pretty quick on his feet but, he relies on a good pair of shoes. He had the chance to try the Moab 2 Ventilator and he said how much he loved how he didn’t have aching feet afterward.
These hiking shoes are available in 6 colours and they’re made from durable leathers, a supportive footbed, and Vibram® traction.
My FAVOURITE part of going on hikes is that I get to get up close and personal with birds. Even if it’s through the lens of my camera. On our hike at Ojibway, we were able to see quite a lot of birds. I was able to capture two of my favourite birds and a couple of elusive ones too.
We saw the blue jay, cardinal, red-bellied woodpecker and the downy woodpecker too. I absolutely adore taking pictures of them and that’s why you’ll always find me walking the trails.
Get Out There!
Now you know which trails to explore, what to pack when hiking with kids and the shoes that will help you walk your next adventure.
Do you go on hikes with your family?
Let me know, til then–cheers m’deres!
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Nancy Polanco is a freelance journalist, lifestyle content creator, and editor of Whispered Inspirations. She is a proud Mom to Gabby and Michaela and partner and best friend to Darasak. Having worked as part of a health care team for almost a decade, Nancy is happy to be back to her passion. She is a contributor to the Huffington Post, TODAY’s Parents, and an Oprah Magazine Brand Ambassador.