Hiking with a Toddler

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Before my son’s arrival my husband and I spent most weekends in search of a new mountain biking park to explore. We enjoy the outdoors and love hiking, biking and being outside together. With our son’s arrival (actually before his arrival) I had to stop biking and we knew our lives would have to change.

[tweetthis]Hiking with a toddler is possible. Find options on how to do it here! @Airman2Mom[/tweetthis]

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Ergo for little guys

When our son was small (less than 12 months) we used the Ergo to take him on hikes with us. Most of the time he would slowly drift to sleep with the rhythmic walk. We could normally get 1-2 hour hikes around the different places that we lived. The only disadvantage of the Ergo was the fact he could not see anything, but now they have the Ergo 360, which was not available when my son was born. Once he was older and more alert he was no longer interested in being strapped to my chest or back for hikes. There are a number of other baby carriers out there. We have only used the Ergo. My top recommendation would be the the Ergo 360, now that a forward facing option is available. A family member gave us our Ergo and it worked great for both boys.

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Around the time he turned one and was learning to walk on his own he was no longer interested in being carried for his hikes. Walking was new and exciting and after our first walk with him screaming in the Ergo and refusing to sleep I finally gave up and let him walk beside me holding his hand. He was in heaven. Head down and moving forward quickly with each hand being held by a confident adult he walked. He walked and walked and did not complain. Well, he did complain, but it was always about wanting to go to a dangerous spot (over a cliff or off the path). Occasionally we would give him a break by letting him ride up on someone’s shoulders. He loved being up high and seeing the view. It was then we decided we needed to upgrade from the Ergo to a Child Carrier.

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Baby/Toddler Carrier

The first real test the backpack faced was when we went to Sedona, AZ. There are so many amazing hiking trails. Our son loved riding up high in the Child Carrier. He sat in the carrier pointing out rocks, trees, birds and more. He would eventually pass out from exhaustion on the trail and get in a good nap. It is now our go to for hikes. He still sometimes enjoys hiking on his own. Since he no longer needs help to walk he isn’t quite so easy to contain on the trail. When he does the hiking it is slower paced and may include a lot of back-tracking, but it is so much fun to watch him explore and learn. Being outdoors is the fun part and the distance traveled is just a small part of the story.

We were lucky enough to receive a hand me down Kelty Kids Child Carrier. Just like baby carriers there are a number of baby backpacks available. We had done some research before we received our backpack and found a number of great brands available. If we had invested in one we likely would have bought one made by Osprey.

We look forward to many more hikes with our family as it continues to grow. Check out some of the places we have traveled this past year while living in Southern California.

What ways do you get your family out and moving? Comment below with tips on getting your family outdoors and if you have a brand of carrier that has worked well for you.

8 comments on “Hiking with a Toddler

  1. We love hiking! This is the second year in a row we’ve gotten a membership for Christmas to the Cincinnati Nature Center (if you are ever in the area I’ll have to take you there, it’s awesome). We have hiked with a variety of ages and these are all great tips. I have never tried the baby back pack, but I’m sure I’d like it. The Ergo is definitely a must! On a side note, I know I call my daughter SJ on the blog, but it stands for Sedona Jean. When we visited Sedona we just fell in love with beauty of God’s creation there and knew if we ever had a daughter that would be her name.

    • That is so cool. I loved Sedona and we are hoping to go back there soon. We were stationed in Dayton and we will move again. If we ever drive through Ohio I will let you know I would love to get together. 🙂

  2. Let me know when you’re heading down to San Diego and we’ll meet up for a hike with all the boys! Yes? Truly. Consider this your invitation.

  3. It really is possible. I have many friends who hike with their kids too. Some of my fave memories from the last several summers have been hiking with my friends and their little ones in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. The boys both always want to hold my hand.

  4. I think people limit what they can do because they have children, but if you really want to do something you can make it happen. It may be a little bit of work, but the memories are worth it. 🙂

    • I was so worried we wouldn’t be able to do the things we used to do before we had kids, but we just take him with us where ever we go and things are different, but it is still possible to do the things we love. 🙂

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