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My Daughter's First Backpacking Trip
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Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
My Daughter's First Backpacking Trip on 08/22/2010 15:27:51 MDT Print View

I took my daughter Brooke (3 yrs. old) on her first backpacking trip. I hope it becomes a tradition. We parked along the AT in PA near Bake Oven Knob, and headed south for ~1/4 miles(does word that really need an "s" at the end?).

At the trailhead

She did a great job hiking in and carried her pack the whole way (it only took 2 fruit roll-ups and a lollipop...for much needed energy).

My little girl!

We got to camp in good time, and set up my 18 year old traditional tent (heavens help me if my little girl got home complaining about cold or bugs).

My poser

The Bushbuddy worked great, cooking two dinners with only a small pile of twigs. My daughter had a great time helping me collect twigs. I was happy that I had thought ahead to stow some firewood under the tent fly since it poured most of the evening.

Stoking the Bushbuddy

Cookin' with gas now!

Dinner was Ramen noodles and instant mashed potatoes.

Waiting for dinner

We settled into the tent around 8:30 pm and
- played "rock, scissors, paper"
- played "I declare a thumbwar"
- played "I spy something..."
- played "hide & seek" (fun in a 2-person tent)
- read "Goodnight Moon"
- called Mommy to say goodnight
- listened to songs on my MP3 player
- listened to the cacophony of tree frogs outside
- talked about closing our eyes, not talking, and for heavens sake's not kicking Daddy anymore!
- oh yeah...and had one last nature call before bedtime. Why can't girls aim better?!? Glad I brought extra clothes.

In the tent

The rain overnight was replaced with a dense fog, and occasional drizzle. We stayed warm and dry in my olde 2-person Clip Flashlight tent from Sierra Designs. Since I had to carry 2 sleeping bags, 2 pads, 2 kids books, a blankie, etc, I was reminded what it was like to carry a 25 lb base weight (even for just 1/4 mile on a nice flat trail).

In the ol' 2-person Clip Flashlight

Brooke stayed dry while I broke camp the next morning.

Brooke staying dry

The hike out was a little tougher for my little girl with the wet rocks and mud. I did some front-packing with her since we had run out of that critical energy supplying candy.

Going home!

We'll see if she wants to go each year, or if she gets distracted by other interests. Either way, I hope that she learns to enjoy some aspects of the outdoors.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: My Daughter's First Backpacking Trip on 08/22/2010 16:32:30 MDT Print View

Nice, Tom! Based on the continual grin I'd say you had a perfect trip. Thanks for your charming report.



Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
My Daughters first trip on 08/22/2010 16:36:41 MDT Print View

Great stuff Tom--nothing like some good old family time!!!

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: My Daughter's First Backpacking Trip on 08/22/2010 16:38:38 MDT Print View


I started hiking a little over two years ago. Recently, my wife and I met our two sons (26 and 33)and our oldest's girlfriend for a day hike at the Cedar Grove Preserve in Dallas, TX. I only wish I'd have started sooner and gotten them involved as you have done with your little girl and her older brother.

Bob Hope said it best. You and your little girl will too later on, "Thanks For The Memories".

This is a great trip report with wonderful pictures of you and your beautiful young lady.

My wish for you is that Brooke and Chris always ask to go hiking and camping with their dad. (I did my research looking through some of your older posts.) :-)

Keep making those memories.

Party On,


Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Re: My Daughter's First Backpacking Trip on 08/22/2010 17:06:12 MDT Print View

Rick, there were some moments on the hike out, and I was not allowed to say the word "rocks" on the drive home.

John, yeah, I've been trying to take all three of my kids out for a 1-on-1 backpacking trip each year. Time will tell how the investment works out, but worst case is that I have some memorable times with my kids.

Brendan Kehde
(Caretaker) - F

Locale: Jupiter, Florida
Great Report! on 08/22/2010 18:02:34 MDT Print View

It's nice to read about your experience.

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
Daughter's First Backpacking Trip on 08/22/2010 18:13:53 MDT Print View


Thanks for the inspiration...I have twin girls who turn four in September. They've been car-camping since they were two but I've held off taking them backpacking.

Maybe in the Spring...

Thanks again for posting the report.

Brian Barnes
(brianjbarnes) - M

Locale: Midwest
"My Daughter's First Backpacking Trip" on 08/22/2010 21:53:12 MDT Print View

great report Tom!

Jedd Cheshier
(JeddCheshier) - F

Locale: Midatlantic
Trips with kids on 08/24/2010 13:53:06 MDT Print View

My daughter will be 7 soon, but we just took our first trip this year which I organized on with one of my groups. I live right below the PA line in MD. If you ever want to try planning a family trip I would be interested.