Family Hiking Essentials

Hiking is an activity that conceptually is a ton of fun. However actually planning a family hiking trip and getting out there is a different story, at least for our family. We love to be outdoors and exploring but we don’t do it nearly enough. Last week we planned out a trip to a mountain about an hour from our house. Having a toddler definitely adds an interesting twist to things but that certainly doesn’t have to stop a family from hiking.

Here is a list of a few essentials to take with you for you and your toddler on a short day hike. This list is not intended to be exhaustive but as the basics of what you need to consider before setting out on a family jaunt.

Family Hiking Must-haves

1. Sunscreen

An absolute essential for kids and parents alike. Even when you are “in the woods” you are exposed to the sun and should be protected. We have fallen in love with Babyganics Sunscreen Lotion as our go-to for Juniper. We’ve tried the sprays but you end up rubbing it in any way. And Juniper loves lotion so she actually enjoys putting it on, unlike her dad.

2. Bug spray

Gnats and other insects can be a real bother for kids (and adults). Nip it off at the bud and just apply some bug spray after the sunscreen so that there is one less thing to bother the babes while trekking. Babyganics also makes a sunscreen, so while we are talking about them try their deet free repellent.

3. Snacks & Water

No matter how short the hike make sure you bring plenty of snacks and water. If it is warm I’d recommend raisins, nuts, or goldfish as they won’t melt in the elements.

4. Hat (if they’ll wear it)

Another way to keep the sun off of faces and bugs out of hair is to wear a cap. Juniper generally doesn’t love wearing hats but for our hike, she kept it on nearly the entire time. If you have a daughter check out this cute option and for the boys here is a great alternative.

5. Backpack carrier

No matter how long (or short) the hike, a toddler is going to want to be picked up at some point. This is where a carrier becomes important. For out hike, we used our Ergo because Juniper is still a peanut but there are plenty of more sturdy options available that we will be getting soon.

6. Camera

There are plenty of options available that I covered in this post. But if you plan on saving and sharing memories you are going to want to bring at least your phone (that’s what we used in the photo above).

7. Patience

This isn’t something you can buy but it is certainly you can mentally prepare for. Having a toddler tagging along will certainly slow you down, make you stop, and potentially wear you out faster. However, what better way is there to spend with your kids than spending time in nature, exploring our environment?


As I said before, this list is not exhaustive but it will certainly get you started. Whether you are an avid explorer or a casual walker I hope you take some time this summer to get outside with your family. If you have any pro-tips that I missed be sure to share them in the comments!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *