Essential Gear for a Safe and Fun Adventure


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Ready for a family adventure that’s all about laughter and discovery? Hiking is one of our family’s favorite ways to explore the great outdoors, make unforgettable memories, and get our kids legs moving.

Whether you’ve got a baby in your arms or a teen eager to hit the trails, having the right gear helps turn your hike from ho-hum to a real adventure! We learned a long time ago that uncomfortable shoes, backpacks, and extras can ruin an outing with family members.

This article will cover the essential gear you need to keep your family safe and happy so that you can enjoy nature and each other.

Essential Hiking Gear For Kids

The right gear is essential to a family hike’s success. The right gear can make a huge difference, from the right footwear to the essential safety items.

The Right Shoes – A Step in Right Direction

It is important to have the right shoes for hiking, especially if you are a kid. Their feet are still growing and developing, so it’s important to provide them with footwear that offers support, comfort, and protection.

Walking The Badlands Trail Dinosaur Provincial Park
Our family hiking in Dinosaur Provincial Park’s Badlands Trail

Children’s Hiking Shoes

A good pair hiking shoes are essential for the rugged trails and uneven terrain. Choose shoes that are durable and waterproof with good grip. You don’t want little feet slipping on wet rocks or getting soaked in puddles. Keen and Merrell are great brands for children.

Make sure they fit well. There should be enough room for your toes to wiggle, but not so much that you get blisters. It is best to break them in prior to the hike. This will prevent any discomfort.

Charles Kosman and Jordan walking the paths near Ixchel
Charles and Jordan walking near Ixchel in Mexico

Sandals: the Summer Savior

Hiking sandals are ideal for when the weather is warm and the trails are dry. kids outdoor gear. They’re breathable, easy to clean, and often provide good grip. Plus, children love the freedom that sandals provide!

Choose sandals that are designed for hiking. Regular flip-flops or beach sandals won’t cut it. Look for features such as adjustable straps to ensure a snug fit, closed-toes to prevent stubs and a durable sole to provide traction. Keen’s Newport H2 sandals are a popular choice among parents for their durability and protection.

Essential Clothing for Hiking with Kids

Dressing your child for a hike is more than just a t-shirt and shorts. Your best friend is layers. Weather can be unpredictable, especially if you’re hiking in the mountains, so having the ability to add or remove layers is key.

Start with a moisture wicking base-layer to keep sweat at bay. Add a fleece or jacket to keep warm in cooler mornings or at higher elevations. In case of rain, a lightweight, waterproof jacket will be essential. Don’t forget a hat and sunglasses to protect from the sun, and always pack an extra pair of socks.

Marks everyday summer outfits

Backpacks: Essentials for the Traveler

Even if your kids aren’t carrying the most weight, having their own backpack will make them feel more responsible. Look for backpacks which are lightweight, have padded shoulder straps, and are well-fitting. It’s a good idea to let them younger kids carry their own water bottle, snacks, and perhaps a small toy or a nature journal.

Hydration Packs

Hydration packs can be a game changer, especially on longer hikes. These backpacks are equipped with a built in water bladder and a tube. This makes it easy for children to stay hydrated, without having to stop to drink. CamelBak offers hydration packs for kids that are easy to use and comfortable.

Fresh OJ from Stall 28 in the Jemaa el Fna Marrakech
Marrakesh Souks: Fresh OJ on the way to the souks

Snacks – Fuel for Adventure

Packing enough snacks for your kids is important.

Think of foods you can easily eat on the move and that provide long-lasting energy. Granola bars are a great option, as well as trail mix, fruit and cheese sticks.

Road Trip Kids Ice Cream The Barefoot Nomads
Ice cream after hike = happiness

Safety Gear: Be Prepared

Safety should always come first. Here are a few things to include in hiking gear:

First Aid Kit

A basic first aid kitThis is a must. Include bandages, antiseptic wipes, tweezers and pain relievers. It’s also wise to have moleskin for blisters and an emergency blanket.

Navigation Tools

Even if you’re hiking a well-marked trail, it’s important to have navigation tools. It is important to teach your children how they can use a map and compasses. A GPS device or a smartphone with a reliable map app can also be helpful, but don’t rely solely on technology.


Equip each child a whistle and show them how it is used. Three blasts on the horn is a universal help signal if someone gets separated.

Sun Protection: Don’t Get Burned

Kids’ skin is sensitive, so protecting them from the sun is vital.

Apply sunscreen with at least SPF 30, and don’t forget to reapply throughout the day, especially if they’ve been sweating or playing in water. Hats and sunglasses are also a must to shield their eyes and face from the sun’s rays.

Entertainment: Keep up the fun

You can keep your kids entertained by having a few tricks in your arsenal.

Encourage them to keep nature journals, by collecting leaves, drawing pictures or writing about what you see. Binoculars are a great way to add excitement when spotting birds and distant landscapes. A simple game called “I Spy”A scavenger-hunt can also be very effective.

reading the Kindle by the lake

Personal Anecdotes, Tips and Tricks

We can tell you from our own experience that preparation is key. One time, when we forgot to bring extra socks with us, a surprise storm left our feet soggy and unhappy. We learned from our mistake! Now, we have a lesson learned! “just in case”Items such as extra socks and plastic bags for wet clothes.

Another tip is to involve your children in the planning. Let them pack their backpacks and choose snacks. They can also pick out their hiking clothing. It will give them a sense that they are in charge and excited about the adventure.

Conclusion: Ready, Set, Hike!

With the right equipment and a little preparation, hiking can be a lot of enjoyable fun for kids! The right equipment is essential for a safe and enjoyable family hike. This includes the perfect pair or shoes, as well as safety items.

So, grab your gear and hit the trails. Happy hiking!

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