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Gear List for family backpack: Mom, Boy (9), and Girl (5)
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Elizabeth Kunkee
(ElizabethK) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Gear List for family backpack: Mom, Boy (9), and Girl (5) on 04/22/2008 04:00:46 MDT Print View

I’d welcome ideas regarding the following gear list and regarding backpacking with kids in general. My story is as follows: after many years of occasional recreational backpacking, starting at age 12 with the Florida Trail Association, I went dormant as a backpacker when I became pregnant with John. Our family has enjoyed car camping ever since the little ones could sit up and crawl, and gravitates towards lightweight gear, even for car-camping since we want to be able to load up quickly, minimize hassle, and perhaps most importantly, be able to transport our car-camping kit on an airplane for vacations away from California.

In the past two years, I’ve returned to backpacking as a way of renewing a very pleasurable hobby and to introduce my son to lessons such as navigating away from the beaten path and self-sufficiency. My son John and I have backpacked 3 overnights so far.

The Mt. Pinos trip that my son John and I took, overnighting at Sheep camp, opened my eyes to the need to re-think and perhaps update my gear. My planning for that trip, with camping at 8200 feet in September, gave me enough worry that I piled the clothing into my pack and lugged a bear-resistant food container. Although the hike was only 3 miles each day, my pack felt quite heavy. (Weight unknown, as I did not yet have the BPL habit of “weigh everything”). The memory of this, combined with the fact that now my daughter is ready to graduate from day hikes to overnight backpacks, has led me to the BackpackingLight community.

As an engineer, the BPL articles and forums are wonderfully logical and prompt many thoughts like “that’s a great idea”. This post is my first attempt to reach out for information, insights and advice pertinent to backpacking with kids. The gear list below is for a May overnight trip to Sespe Creek in the Los Padres National Forest (Southern California), elevation about 3000 feet.

Thank you,

lb. oz.
9 RidgeRest short
9 RidgeRest short
2 15 Elizabeth's sleeping bag
1 10 Leah's sleeping bag & stuff sack
2 stuff sack (elizabeth's)
5 8.3 Eureka tent with 10 stakes (no groundcloth)
2.5 ground cloth for sleeping out
10.1 MSR cannister stove w/windscreen
8 MSR short (113g) cannister
0.3 lighter - Bic small
2.8 spoons and knife
1.5 "small dishsoap, scrub pad, & handiwipe"
3 green cups (1 oz each) x3
2 styrofoam disposable bowls
3 Bearbag rope (guess)
0.6 Aqua-mira water purifier
1.2 Platypus (2 liter)
7.6 Aluminum cookpot
4 7 ET's backpack
1.5 canteen - squeeze bottle
2.6 Elizabeth's headlight
5.1 Camera - Elizabeth's KonicaMinolta
1.2 First aid kit: band-aids, neosporin, tylenol, advil, moleskin
8.1 folding umbrella
14.7 Elizabeth's fleece pullover
3 Elizabeth's fresh socks
0.8 Elizabeth's underwear
1.7 Elizabeth's bra
1.4 sunglasses case
0.6 sunglasses
0.4 Casio watch
5 Toilet articles kit (3 toothbrushes, deoderant, dental floss, toothpaste, chapstick, hair tie)
0.8 toilet paper (4 people, one day)
1 guy-line or clothes line 40 feet (triptease)
0.8 red bandanna
0.7 Compass (liquid filled)
0.8 repair tape & sewing kit
2 Elizabeth's water
6 Food (one day, 1.5 lb per person)
2 Paper and pencil
5 lightweight regular towel
2 hand sanitizer
wear bathing suit
wear shorts
wear sunshirt
wear SmartWool socks
wear hiking boots
wear hat
wear watch
29 9.1 Elizabeth Total

3 2.3 John's sleeping bag
2 stuff sack for John's sleeping bag
0.8 matches in waterproof case
2 6 John's backpack
3.5 John's platypus and hose
1.8 Lightweight rain poncho (John's)
1 Quick-dry Towel
11.7 John's fleece pullover
1.2 John's fresh socks
2.3 John's pullup
2 John's water
wear swim shorts
wear SmartWool socks
wear sneakers
wear T-shirt
wear hat
9 0.6 John Total

12.1 Leah's backpack w/emergency kit
3.5 Leah's platypus and hose
4 "Sunscreen (spray, partially used 5 oz. bottle) (empty = 1.6 oz)"
1.5 Sunscreen (little bottle)
1.8 Lightweight rain poncho (Leah's)
11.6 Leah's fleece pullover
0.9 Leah's fresh socks
0.8 Leah's underwear
1 Leah's water
wear bathing suit
wear shorts
wear SmartWool socks
wear Teva sandals
wear T-shirt
3 4.2 Leah Total

Elizabeth Kunkee
(ElizabethK) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
RE: Gear List for family backpack on 04/22/2008 08:22:24 MDT Print View

Sorry about the gear list format above -- my attempt to save the Excel list using the tab delimited format didn't format correctly. Please see the PDF format gear list which I've posted under "My Profile".
Thanks, Elizabeth

Brian Barnes
(brianjbarnes) - M

Locale: Midwest
RE: "Gear List for family backpack: Mom, Boy (9), and Girl (5)" on 04/22/2008 10:54:08 MDT Print View

Elizabeth, I backpack with kids similar in age to yours (mine = 10 y/o son, 5 y/o daughter). Without knowing what temperatures and weather you are going out in, I’ll provide some general thoughts on your gear (assuming you be out in good weather and night temps >40-50 degrees F):

Elizabeth’s gear:
If you have the cash, you can save significant weight by purchasing a lighter:
Backpack (I’d aim for <2-3 pounds, such as ULA catalyst or circuit)
Sleeping bag (check out Mont-bell’s super stretch UL series, say the #2 or # 3)
Stove (check out the caldera cone alcohol stove + freezer bag cooking style)
Tent (I’d suggest the Tarptent Rainshadow 2 - cuts your shelter weight in half)

Consider replacing the 5 ounce towel with a MSR Packtowl UltraLite (size large) cut in half to share between the three of you. Each half weighs 1 ounce.

Are you planning on sharing 2 sleeping pads between the 3 of you? For pure luxury add the Mont-bell UL 90 sleeping pad with the attached pillow on top of your ridgerest.

Is the umbrella enough coverage for you? I assume so… replacing this with a poncho tarp adds a nice rain fly to your setup for really rainy days…

Do you need 2 ounces of paper/pencil?

How durable are your Styrofoam bowls?

I did not see the following essentials on your list: map, whistle, small folding knife, bug dope, wind breaker (may not be needed).

John’s gear:
If you have the cash, you can save significant weight by purchasing a lighter:
Backpack (aim for ~1-2 pounds, such as Mountain Laurel Designs kids prophet)
Sleeping bag (check out Mont-bell’s super stretch UL series, say the #2 or # 3)

I’d add the following: phone #/contact info, whistle, small digital watch (if lost, blow the whistle 3 times each time the last digit is a 3), map, compass, sunscreen, headlamp, small knife, some guyline (teach him to make the poncho into a tarp shelter), water purifying tabs, windbreaker, survival education (if needed…. focusing on staying put, not hiding, and getting found)

Leah’s gear:
Is she ok hiking in sandals? My kids complain of rocks getting in their shoes…

I’d add the following (some of this may be in the “e-kit you listed): phone #/contact info, whistle, small digital watch (if lost, blow the whistle 3 times each time the last digit is a 3), “sunscreen, headlamp, some guyline (teach her to make the poncho into a tarp shelter), water purifying tabs, windbreaker, survival education (if needed…. focusing on staying put, not hiding, and getting found)

Have fun!

Elizabeth Kunkee
(ElizabethK) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Gear List for family backpack on 04/23/2008 04:25:42 MDT Print View

Brian, thank you for the review of the gear list and comments. It will take me a while to digest all your suggestions. Maybe I can start by asking for a little further info.

First, let me say that for Leah’s first backpacking trip, I’ve picked out the mildest conditions I can find. Days will be 70’s or 80’s (maybe 90’s) and nights will be 50’s. Rain in May would be quite unusual and my plan for rain is to immediately stop and put up the tent to wait it out.

About the kids pack: Although last year John only carried 5 ½ pounds, I’m figuring that John can now carry 10 pounds since sometimes his school backpack weights that much for his 0.4 mile walk to school, and, 10 pounds is 15% of his body weight. My question about the Mountain Laurel Designs Kid's Prophet is that I’m wondering about how functional the hip belt is. Have you seen the MLD Kids’ Prophet in use? My first priority is that John be comfortable even if it means that I end up carrying more. Our REI had a sale on their Comet and although it has way more features than anyone would need, the suspension is nice and the torso length is fully adjustable. I haven’t clipped the price tag off yet so you can see that I’m not satisfied with that pack, but I’m not sure that the Prophet with a thin strap of a hip belt is the right answer.

About the sleeping pads – John says he doesn’t need a pad for comfort. For future trips I wonder if there is a pad that would give insulation to John but not have the bulk of the Ridgerest.

Sandals: my daughter refuses to wear shoes. Aren’t 5 year olds special? She will wear her Tevas with a pair of pink Smartwool socks so we are just going to have to make that work, even if it means stopping to extract rocks from the shoe.

Bowls: styrofoam bowls are my idea for lightweight. They will nest inside the cookpot and for an overnight we only need single use. My backup plan is to just use the green cups for dinner bowls. Their other use is for hot chocolate and breakfast cereal/milk in the morning.

Thanks for the list of emergency items and lessons. I’ll plan a safety briefing for one of our rest stops. We don’t need a map since I’ve been here before and the trail is as simple as “follow the creek”. I’ll be sure to put map on my master gear list though!

I will talk to Leah about the towel. I fear that she’ll balk at the little square towels. I’m comfortable using our one ounce “auto-detailing” towels from Target but I was concerned that she expects a traditional terrycloth wrap-up size towel.

Good question about the paper. Now that you point it out I can see that a whole mini-pad of paper is overkill. My #1 use of paper is for safety – the following is my written emergency plan (I leave a copy at home for my husband to reference if we don’t come home on time). “for an injury or condition which immobilizes someone: we will all stay together. The trail is well traveled and we'll wait for another hiker to come along. We'll then give that hiker a note that contains cell phone numbers for ____ and ____ and ask the Good Samaritan to call these numbers until reaching someone and to then read them the message. Our message will contain: our time, location, description of problem, and our plan (most likely the plan will be "stay put and wait for assistance"). We will jot down the name and phone # of the Good Samaritan so that we can thank them later.”

Finally, do you have any suggestions about where to obtain cheap digital watches? I like the “whistle on the 3” scheme.

Once again, thanks for your advice,

Brian Barnes
(brianjbarnes) - M

Locale: Midwest
RE: "Gear List for family backpack: Mom, Boy (9), and Girl (5)" on 04/23/2008 19:36:58 MDT Print View

If you have not already seen this, check out the following excellent article and comments regarding kids gear:

Pack: I do not have experience with the REI Comet. I agree that you kids comfort is a high priority! I do not have hands on experience with the MLD Kids Prophet either (was not available when I was shopping for my son). However, given the light loads you have planned, I do not expect a hip belt would be necessary. Ron Bell at MLD provides great customer service and posts here at BPL often. Perhaps you could post here or send him an e-mail regarding your concern with the hip belt and load transfer to the hips. If you are looking for something lightweight but with a more substantial hipbelt my son uses a Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus (small size for torso length’s of 13-17 inches) and loves it. Given its more robust hip belt, I’ve carried up to 33 pounds in the pack with comfort (thought the torso length is a bit short for me). My 10 year old son old carries 12-15 pounds in the pack with ease. Mark Verber has a nice summary of packs with some content on his views on kids packs. See: (scroll down to the end of the page). Make note that he indicates the Comet is also a good choice (though it is 1-2 pounds heavier than the above packs).

Pad: I wonder is the Gossamer Gear Thinlight pad (perhaps the 1/8 inch stuff) would be a good fit for John if he wants a bit of insulation/padding? See: Other more expensive and heavier options would include the montbell UL 90 or BMW TorsoLite

Sandals: funny... my five year old daughter has some deal breakers as well...

Towel: You can get a MSR Packtowl UltraLite in an extra large (27*50 in a 3.6 ounce weight). See:

Cheap digital watches: I’d think any watch from a big box store would be fine. My son likes the Timex Expedition Digital Compass watch his grandparents got him. The wrist band is probably more comfortable than the cheaper watches. See:

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: RE: "Gear List for family backpack: Mom, Boy (9), and Girl (5)" on 04/23/2008 23:01:52 MDT Print View

I agree that it's a good plan to start with the heavy items. My family is also 3 people and I've reviewed some of the items on the site that we love. Among these are the Golite Pinnacle pack and the Tarptent Rainshadow 2. At a pound for the first and 2 pounds for the second, you could lose some serious weight here.

I can't comment on the kids prophet but it sure looks interesting! That's on the top of my list for when my son's a bit older.

I haven't found the Thinlight to be especially comfortable. The Big Agnes air pads are sure comfy, and to a lesser degree the Torsolite. But I think your pads are in the ballpark.

Have a great time on your trip!


Brian Barnes
(brianjbarnes) - M

Locale: Midwest
RE: "Gear List for family backpack: Mom, Boy (9), and Girl (5)" on 04/24/2008 10:30:25 MDT Print View

I had ran across another idea for a cheap compact sleeping pad. How about using Reflectix (home insulation)?

It is essentially durable bubble wrap layered between two foil sheets. I had some scrap left over from a freezer bag cozy project so I cut a 5 foot length of it. This was from a 16 inch wide roll (though you can buy wider rolls). So a 60"x16"x0.25" section weighed ~5.5 ounces and rolled into a diameter of ~4 inches. Cheap, lightweight, durable enough for several uses.

Brian Barnes
(brianjbarnes) - M

Locale: Midwest
RE: "Gear List for family backpack: Mom, Boy (9), and Girl (5)" on 04/24/2008 10:33:33 MDT Print View

Oh, I forgot to post that for 25' it costs ~$15 for the 16" wide roll and ~$21 for a 24" wide roll.

Gail Lusk
(AlohaTink) - F

Locale: In the Middle of No Where!
Car Reflector Sleep Pad on 04/24/2008 11:26:45 MDT Print View

You can also go to Wal*Mart or Target
any store that sells Car Reflector pads
they have a great one made out of that special Reflectix material and it folds up accordion style also.

It works...I used one of these in my hammock to cut the cold...but for just a few dollars more you can get the normal cheap closed cell blue foam pad.

Chris Chastain
(Thangfish) - F

Locale: S. Central NC, USA
Re: Gear List for family backpack: Mom, Boy (9), and Girl (5) on 04/24/2008 15:09:12 MDT Print View

I own 2 of the MLD Kids Prophet packs for my 9 year old twin daughters. I was very impressed with the features and build quality of these packs. In my opinion, at these weights the hip belt is a non-issue. They regularly carry more weight in bookbags with poor straps and no belt.

On their first trip, they carried their own gear, including food and water in these packs for 5-6 miles/day for two days and there were no problems or complaints. Each carried their own sleeping bag and 1l Platy. One carried the Brawny Tarptent which was plenty big enough for the two of them, and the other carried their food/cook system. I lined the packs with a Gossamer Gear ThinLight 3/8"... full length cut in half. Each was longer (relatively) for them than my Ridgerest Short is for me.

As far as balking at a short towel, make it an adventure that they have prepared for at home for a few weeks before the trip. "When can we try out the gear" to see if it works ok before we go. They loved drying off with their new (cut in half) pack towels, and trying the little toothbrushes. ("I think these will work good enough, Daddy!") Also loved making (and drinking) hot chocolate in their own beercan stove (that they helped make) on the kitchen table.
I kind of gave the impression that this stuff may not work very well and we may not be able to go. ;)
We were really testing!

By the time we left, they were experts!
No surprises, you know?

They had NO PROBLEMS hiking in the rain with ponchos over their packs. It was all such an adventure that they can't wait to go again.

Good luck and enjoy it!

Edited by Thangfish on 04/24/2008 16:16:15 MDT.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Re: Gear List for family backpack: Mom, Boy (9), and Girl (5) on 04/24/2008 21:19:44 MDT Print View

I LOVE your ideas Christopher. That makes the adventure last far longer than the time you're on the trail. I can't wait until my son is old enough to have those conversations and that level of involvement.

Very cool!

Chris Abbotts
(cabbotts) - F

Locale: Upper Peninsula, Michigan
Re: Car Reflector Sleep Pad on 04/25/2008 05:56:26 MDT Print View

Do you think this would work well for a sleeping pad under a tarp? I just picked up a few of these sunshades to make a pot cozy and tried laying on it. I know it would work for heat, but it's not big on comfort. The big thing is, if you can handle a few rocks in your back, it weighs less than a trimmed blue closed cell foam pad, and takes up way less space.

Has anyone tried this on the ground?

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: Car Reflector Sleep Pad on 04/25/2008 06:58:48 MDT Print View

I read lots of reports of people using them. Some can tolerate that, but closed cell foam is better in about every way to me.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Re: Re: Car Reflector Sleep Pad on 04/25/2008 07:38:31 MDT Print View

Don't expect a lot of insulation. It's basically a closed cell air pad with no insulation and with reflective panels on either side. Certainly not going to do very much to keep you warm....

Elizabeth Kunkee
(ElizabethK) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
RE: "Gear List for family backpack: Mom, Boy (9), and Girl (5)" on 04/26/2008 07:46:58 MDT Print View

Brian, Doug, Gail and Christopher, Thanks so much for the suggestions. I’m determined to lighten up and I want to do so while minimizing growing pains to my family. Your suggestions, I believe, will help me get things right the first time. Christopher, excellent idea about “trying out” gear at home. We’ll practice with the micro towels at bath time and if that doesn’t work, well then maybe I’ll just have to spring for the MSR X-large UL Packtowel!

If you all would be so good as to take a few more questions:
Regarding shelter, Brian suggested “replacing (umbrella) with a poncho tarp adds a nice rain fly to your setup for really rainy days…” I’m envisioning a tent with a poncho tarp pitched as a front porch. Would the Rainshadow2 work with this configuration? I could see that if it were raining it would be nice to have room to cook while the kids played securely in the tent. We’ve done this twice while car-camping since our “big tent” has a nice atrium area in the front and I could tell that the kids felt very secure and happy in the rain with this setup.

A second question: How does the tarptent stand up to wind? What is it like to be inside if it is blowing 20 or more? Is it disturbingly breezy? Does the tarptent flap in a way that would be worrisome? I want the kids to experience being a part of nature, including all types of weather, and still feel snug and cozy. Later, when they are teenagers we can do rugged and challenging trips.

Regarding cooking: The caldera cone appears very attractive and it seems that it could do the job even in a blow. Is this the case? Also, can someone comment on the danger of the stove tipping over and spilling burning alcohol – would this be a concern around kids? About the beer can stoves – they look tall and tippy – Christopher are you using the beer can stove kit I see on the BPL store site?

Finally, regarding sleeping. For myself I keep thinking that I would like to consider moving to a quilt or arc-quilt but I’m wondering how do I figure out if my sleeping style is compatible? I’m reluctant to purchase something so expensive and so different from what I have used in the past. Any thoughts on this? Also I’ll look into the Mont-Bell or BMW pad for myself. I have a 29 oz. therma-rest that I use for car-camping but I can’t see carrying that on my back!

Thank you,

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: RE: "Gear List for family backpack: Mom, Boy (9), and Girl (5)" on 04/26/2008 13:25:48 MDT Print View

Hi Elizabeth,

I've never used a tarp with my Rainshadow 2 but I'm sure you could rig something up. This would be nice with extended rain. You could also set up the tarp on it's own for extra versatility.

The Tarptent does fine in the wind due to its catenary ridgeline and side stakes. 20mph will cause some flapping if it hits the side of the tent but it won't be too bad. If the wind hits the back of the tent, it can handle much more than that. I've used Tarptents above the treeline on many occasions and have been happy with their wind performance. If you use two poles to erect it and drop the front down it works even better.

I don't have a caldera yet but I own about 8 alcohol stoves and I've had few issues. The Caldera seems especially good for kids because it's so stable and it's a closed system- no access to the stove itself. I agree that the beer cans are tippy. I love mine but it wouldn't be my first choice with kids. If you're just boiling water, a sub 1L kettle should be just fine. We usually use a MSR Titan kettle but there are lighter options now.

For sleeping, the quilt is a good idea. I move a lot when sleeping so I've had a learning curve with these and I often use a bivy to keep the drafts at bay when I roll over in the middle of the night. From my experience, that's a harder transition than the tarptent or the stove. If you like to sleep well, look into the Big Agnes Aircore pads. So comfy and they pack down to nada. Not as light as a Torsolite though. Just add a torso foam pad for chilly nights such as the Gossamer Gear Thinlight.

My son sleeps on a Torsolite and it's great for him. I think that's a great kids' pad (and I use mine a great deal for me too!)

I think you're on the right track! Definitely check out the Rainshadow review.

Here's a few of our favs in action on my son's first backpack:

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Re: RE: "Gear List for family backpack: Mom, Boy (9), and Girl (5)" on 04/26/2008 13:26:43 MDT Print View\

This migh be worth looking at for you Elizabeth...

Brian Barnes
(brianjbarnes) - M

Locale: Midwest
RE: "Gear List for family backpack: Mom, Boy (9), and Girl (5)" on 04/26/2008 14:24:06 MDT Print View

Of all the setups I’ve seen that are alcohol based – I agree with Doug, the caldera system seems the most stable and enclosed. Though, I think any style of stove (be it canister or alcohol) warrants close monitoring around kids. For this very concern (i.e. kids getting burned) I do not simmer meals in pots but rather quickly boil water and add this to freezer bag meals. Also, the pieces and parts of alcohol stoves cool very quickly (decreasing burn risk).

What folks use for sleeping pads seems to be highly variable. Some tolerate thin closed cell foam. Others need 3 inch thick air filled pads. Prior to being a pack-weight conscious backpacker, I used a full length Thermarest Prolite 4 and Thermarest Pillow, which was super comfortable but weighed 32 ounces. I then tried a 3/4 length Ridgerest and was fine if sleeping on my back but was uncomfortable when I rolled onto my side. So, I’m compromising with a 5’ long Gossamer Gear Thinlight (3/8 inch thick) and the Mont-bell 90 UL sleeping pad plus the pillow. With this setup I’m comfortable sleeping on my back and side. Also Mont-bell’s pillow is very light and comfortable, and doesn’t slide around (since it attaches to the pad). While this system still weighs 19 ounces total, it’s 13 ounces less than my old Prolite 4, has a pillow that does not move around at night, and if I for some weird reason I puncture the inflatable pad I still have a 3/8 inch thick closed-cell foam pad for the rest of trip.

I have not ventured into the quilt users camp yet. I’m such an active sleeper that I’m afraid I’d experience air drafts on cold nights. However, I was able to pick up some 2 layer eVENT fabric so I’m considering making a bivy out of the eVENT (using Sixmoondesigns Meteor pattern), a quilt (from ?), and a tarp shelter (from silnylon). Hopefully I’ll like the setup.

Edited by brianjbarnes on 04/26/2008 14:28:44 MDT.

Gail Lusk
(AlohaTink) - F

Locale: In the Middle of No Where!
Swimmer's Towel on 04/28/2008 02:22:40 MDT Print View

I ditched all my costly towels for a great light weight swimmers towel. A cheap fake one that works the same is sold also at Wal*Mart or stores like that one, such as Target.,1004Y_Sammy-The-Sammy-All-Sports-Towel-17x13-.html
Just so you can see what I am referring too, but I paid only $5.85 at Wal*Mart

It is like a soft sponge almost and dries you very quickly, as well as you can place your wet clothes in it and it wrings them dry faster than the usual methods.
It serves as a sponge for the tent, and for a sweat cloth, I usually have it tied to my shoulder pack strap.

The Car Reflector Sleep Pad was only a suggestion because it was stated that he did not want to use any pad etc.

For my two granddaughters, I cut a Z-Rest Orange Pad to fit each their bodies, out of just one pad. We like it because it folds up small, and is very light for them to carry. As well as used for sitting pads, while resting or eating lunch.

I personally have used it in a hammock to cut the wind only...for the ground I am a whimp. Give me 2 pads and one of them must be 2.5" thick! :D

Edited by AlohaTink on 04/28/2008 02:27:38 MDT.

Elizabeth Kunkee
(ElizabethK) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Fire starter for kid on 04/30/2008 04:48:41 MDT Print View

Thanks for all the great suggestions and comments. I have another question. This one might seem trivial but it is regarding fire starting. I've been working with John (9) to teach him how to build a fire and he has mastered everything except the actual lighting of the fire. My typical approach is to use a mini-Bic lighter however the child-proofing on it makes it so that his thumb is not powerful enough to light it. Does anyone have ideas? I currently have "matches in a waterproof case" on the gear list for John but if I take a box of matches in a ziplock that crushes easily and is somewhat bulky, and those "match vaults" don't have a convenient and easy strike pad.... does anyone have input into a packable and extremely easy to use fire source?