Dallas and I enjoy backpacking. I don’t get to go as often as I would like because of the twinkies. Instead, I hear stories about all the cool places he and the twins get to see. It makes me angry. So, for the last few months we have talked about making a trip with the twinkies. We weren’t sure how far or even if they could make it out to a good spot. We also knew that the potential for disaster was high. All it took was little misstep and someone could be injured or, at the very least, miserable.
The weather here has been fabulous so we decided to take the plunge and set out yesterday morning. It was not miserable. I think we will even do it again, taking into consideration a few lessons we learned along the way.
Tips For Backpacking With Pre-Schoolers
1. Don’t bother giving them a pack. We set them up with tiny daypacks that carried only their extra clothes and crocs. They dumped them off less than 50 feet into the hike. We had to strap them to our packs. Then they asked for them back every half hour. Luckily we were smart enough not to fall for this trick.
2. Resist the urge to hop across rocks to get your children out to a cool spot for a picture. You could fall in the river, then you will have to spend the rest of the hike in wet boots.
3. Pack candy. We usually pack trail mix, mini bagels with peanut butter, and Clif bars for quick energy. They picked all the M & M’s out of the trail mix and then fought over who ate more. Fun.
4. Understand that the sugar high you gave them to get through the next 1/2 mile will also cause them to crash. Hard. They are like crack addicts that away. Pack a lot of candy.
5. Bring an extra bear vault for their clothes. While you and I might be able to eat rehydrated spaghetti and meat sauce without schmearing it all over our shirts, they can’t. Seriously, we had to put his clothes in the bear vault.
6. Don’t camp too close to any clearing that has a fire ring. You might wind up with loud twenty-something-year-olds parking their drunk butts too close to you in the middle of the night. If this does happen, don’t get out of your tent to yell at them. When you wake up in the morning and see the handgun laying in the middle of their site you’ll be glad you kept your cool.
7. Even though it seems like a good idea to hike out another 1.5 miles to see a lake, don’t do it. At least not on your first venture. You’ll pay for it tomorrow.
8. Geo Cache. Geo caching is a great way to keep the kids moving and interested. They love looking for the “treasures.” Feel free to do a little re-con so you can help them find it without getting frustrated.
9. Half a flask of Southern Comfort is not enough for two adults backpacking with two 4-year-olds.
Neither is a full flask.
10. If you see bear scat that is so fresh it is still steaming, make sure you can outrun your travel companions.