I won’t lie to you about the weight of your backpack when you take small children into the wilderness. It is heavy. You end up with the gear and food for 2-3 people and sometimes that gear includes diapers. Regardless of weight, taking your kids on an overnight adventure off the beaten trail is one of the best endeavors you can undertake. My wife and I, along with longtime friends Nate and Claudia Hanson, put together a two night trip along the Lost Coast of Northern California. Four adults and four kids, the youngest being my son at 2 years old.
I think we made it a few hundred yards away from the trailhead before Finn got tired. We stopped, rested, played, explored, and continued on…another fifty yards. It was a good thing our designated camp was only two miles away! That said, he did finally run out of steam, however, he found a nice seat on top of my wife’s backpack with his but on my pack instead of my shoulders! Onward we went.
People are often concerned that they don’t know what they’d do if they took their kids backpacking. They are afraid their kids will get bored and won’t have their digital backup entertainment. The reality of taking children away from the computers, video games, and phones, they find entertainment in exploration, in sticks and stones, physical movements involving balance and obstacles. Intuitively, kids get creative when in the natural world.
This trip proved an amazing first backpacking trip for our families. It was filled with amazing sights, sounds, textures, and good times.