Hiking with a toddler is a lot of fun with a little prep. Read on for our tips to make it an enjoyable time for everyone.
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Pick the Right Hike
One of the most important things to do is pick the right hike for your family. Technical hikes that are miles long aren't the wisest choice, especially in the beginning. For our hike we chose an easy hike with a wide path allowing plenty of room for our little one to run around as we walked.
Consider the Time of Year
The time of year will determine how to prepare for your hike too. It's a given that colder weather means packing layers, hotter weather calls for sunhats, sunscreen, and extra water. But here in New England it's hunting season right now, which is why we're wearing orange. Even though we're in a park, it's still very important to be visible (tip: our daughter's orange hat is just an adult sized beanie rolled up, no need to buy a child-sized one).
Really the best bit of advice I have is to be prepared. Pack your bag with everything you think you will need and it will help keep everyone happy. I've included a list of the gear we used on our little hike, including Nûby's Insulated Stainless Steel Food Jar and Insulated Stainless Steel Flip-It Cup which were provided to us to use and review.
1. Hiking Backpack Carrier - These carriers are a life-saver when hiking with a little one. Independent toddlers will often insist on walking themselves, but at some point they're going to get tired or you may encounter rocky or steep terrain you don't want them to climb - and that's when this will be essential. These packs are comfortable for your little one and for you since they have a rigid frame, and padded waist, shoulder, and chest straps. There's often a lot of storage under the seat area too, which is perfect for carrying your snacks and supplies for the hike. Carriers with a fold-out stand are super helpful when loading and unloading your little one. The "Snugli" Backpack Carrier we have is a discontinued model, but the one I've linked to looks very similar to ours.
2. Insulated Thermos - Packing hot food to eat on a cool hike is always nice and refreshing. We packed some hot chicken noodle soup to enjoy at the end of our little hike and it really hit the spot.
3. Water for Everyone - Water on a hike is key. Even if you won't be hiking long, always pack plenty of water for you and everyone in your party. I packed a well-loved Kleen Kanteen for myself (can you believe I've had this bottle for over 7 years now? ..hence, the dents), and a Nûby Flip-It Cup for our little one.
4. Orange Hat - Visibility during hunting season is very, very important. Even if you're hiking inside a park, hunting may still be happening on adjacent properties and a hunter may inadvertently get close to hiking trails.
5. Snacks - Snacks are very important, you don't want a hangry toddler on your hands! I packed an Earth's Best cereal bar for our little one and a Lärabar for me.
6. First Aid Kit - You never know when a trip and fall may happen and it's important to have a first aid kit on hand for any potential cuts or scrapes.
7. Bug Spray - Even though it's getting colder out, mosquitoes are still present and ticks are a huge threat in our area. My husband and myself have pre-treated our hiking shoes with permethrin (not pictured) and spray our clothing with bug spray containing DEET to deter ticks. Our pediatrician had told us we could use DEET bug spray on our toddler (*always consult with your own pediatrician first!*), but we're leery about using chemicals on her so we use a locally-made all-natural bug spray (similar type of bug spray linked here). As soon as we get home we all make sure to change our clothes and check for ticks too, just in case.
Nûby was kind enough to send us their Insulated Stainless Steel Food Jar with Folding Spoon and Insulated Stainless Steel No-Spill Flip-It Cup to try on our hike. Their Insulated Food Jar is BPA-free, holds 15 ounces, and will keep food warm for 6 hours and cool for 7 hours. Inside the jar is a second compartment (I loved this feature!) that is perfect for keeping crackers for your soup or chili. There's also a fold-out spoon inside. We packed chicken noodle soup for our hike and it was still piping hot when we sat down to eat.
Their Insulated Flip-It Cup is BPA-free, holds 9 ounces, and keeps liquids cool for up to 10 hours. I loved that it holds more than most of our other sippy cups and kept her drink nice and cold. Overall, I really loved these two products - they have a cute design, insulate well, and I love that they're stainless steel. The one thing that I didn't like about them is that they're not dishwasher safe (though that is typical of most double-walled cups and jars).
We've teamed up with Nûby to giveaway a stainless steel food jar and flip-it cup to a lucky follower to use on their own hikes - or any other adventure. Please see our giveaway post on Instagram (@birchlandinghome) for details and to enter. Good luck!!
- I received these items for review from Nûby but all opinions expressed are my own. Please read our full Disclosure Policy for more information -