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starting them young
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Ted E
(Mtn_nut) - MLife

Locale: Morrison, CO
start 'em young on 06/16/2011 14:36:14 MDT Print View

Two weekends ago i took my three year old on her first camping trip, and i decided to make it into a very short backpacking trip. there are designated campsites up along the big south fork of the poudre river, and the first site is a little over a mile from the trail head. she did extremely well, and kept plenty warm.

alex backpacking 1

a few things to note. i should have brought more snacks and treats. I'll be bringing stuff for making s'mores or banana boats next time. Also, bringing a few of her books with her made her feel right at home in the tent.

i had her carry her sleeping bag, which i thought was enough since she weighs ~40 lbs (she's pretty big/tall for her age) and her pack weighed around 3 lbs.

I also got to try out my bushbuddy ultra. it worked really well and im hooked.

Edited by Mtn_nut on 06/16/2011 14:42:27 MDT.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Sweet! on 06/16/2011 14:56:22 MDT Print View

Great memories of our kids and the Poudre, glad to see you're starting her off well! And be assured it will stick with her - I've been out hiking with all three of my adult children recently, and am going again with my oldest daughter next weekend. May you have as many joyful years ahead of you as I've had!

p.s. She's a cutie! And carrying that pack, she looks like a real mountain girl!

Edited by grampa on 06/16/2011 14:57:15 MDT.

te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
Re: Sweet! on 06/16/2011 15:08:36 MDT Print View

rockin the capris... love it.
i find jello "no bake" cherry cheesecake to be worth every ounce.
our kids are going out w/ us this weekend.
your report is good inspiration.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Sweet! on 06/16/2011 21:54:26 MDT Print View


Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: start 'em young on 06/16/2011 22:14:06 MDT Print View


Great trip report. I am a big advocate of getting kids out in the wilderness. My daughter never really liked backpacking, but my son does. Both are adults now. But both liked camping in campgrounds, which we did every summer on vacation.

Little toys help a lot at that age, along with frequent stops. I can still remember a few things from our 1st daughter/father trip over 20 years ago (she was about the same age as yours)... wish I had taken a camera like you did. :(

My daughter hated campground toilets at that age, and once down the trail it dawned on me that cat holes might be a huge problem. But when she saw we could burn toilet paper, she had to go about every 30 minutes. The other was when it was time to cook dinner she said, "Daddy you don't know how to cook, because mommy always does it. I am going to have to cook for you." So meals were a lot of fun, as I let her help.

Keep taking her out, don't push her, and TAKE LOTS OF PICTURES. Blink an eye, and they grow up and leave home (hopefully) !!

Thanks for the pictures, they brought a lot of smiles here.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: start 'em young on 06/16/2011 22:37:44 MDT Print View

+1 on what Nick said.

Started out my daughter at 2.5 yrs.

She really does not care for it now at age 8, but I am hoping that once she gets older and is more willing to be separated from mom, she might want to take some trips with her old man. :)

Cute girl you have and she is lucky to have a dad who is willing to get her out there to hopefully develop an appreciation of the outdoors.


Mike In Socal
(rcmike) - MLife

Locale: California
Outdoors with the kids on 06/17/2011 02:18:07 MDT Print View

This is awesome! I love seeing little kids out camping/backpacking. It gives me inspiration to plan more trips. Logistics are a lot different for a family of 8, however, so I think I'll try to take just a couple kids at a time.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"starting them young" on 06/17/2011 06:31:48 MDT Print View

Yes, loved this. Beautiful kid.

Ted E
(Mtn_nut) - MLife

Locale: Morrison, CO
Re: Re: start 'em young on 06/17/2011 11:55:28 MDT Print View

@ Nick - i was surprised that she was actually excited to go to the bathroom outside. when she first asked where the bathroom was, i told her she could just squat and pee anywhere she wanted, which she thought was really funny. the next day she excitedly told her mom and her grandma all about it.
For this hike i brought a small plastic ziploc for the used TP so it could be thrown away after hiking out, but i might just burn it for entertainment purposes now.

Jon Franklin
(Junto01) - F
Very nice on 06/17/2011 12:05:48 MDT Print View

Awesome post and pics Ted. This gives me inspiration for my daughter who is now 4 months! I can't wait to go backpacking with her!

Chris Goldberg

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Awesome! on 06/17/2011 19:22:58 MDT Print View

Nice pics. Thanks for sharing.

I've got 3.5 and 5 year old girls that have been putting in 3+ mile day hikes so I decided this would be the year to get them started with a few easy overnighters.

Thinking I might start them off with a short trip on the St. Vrain trail near Boulder.

Later in the summer I've got a RMNP backcountry permit for Fern Lake - a 4 miler that should provide a full day of trail fun.

Keep us posted on any future trips and pointers you pick up along the way!

Edited by chrisgoldberg on 06/17/2011 19:24:03 MDT.

Billie-Jo Maxcey
(bmaxcey) - F
Love it! on 06/28/2011 19:42:35 MDT Print View

Love it! She is such a cutie and looks like she had a blast :) I took my now 6 year old on his first day hike at the young age of 6 months in a sweet carrier on my back. Was lucky and found a bottle he could use that sit beside him and had a tube contraption where all he held was the nipple and ring Anway, we camp in campgrounds all the time. In tents and even a travel trailer. I recently got into backpacking and now he is excited to go. He and his 10 year old brother. My oldest, 11 year old girl, said no way...then a sudden change now has her looking for gear and mapping out trips! Its awesome to be able to get them involved at such a young age. I wish many more happy fun trips, watching her grow and explore :)

Edward Z
(Fuzz) - MLife

Locale: Sunny San Diego
The Best Trips on 06/29/2011 07:37:51 MDT Print View

I agree the best trips are the ones with the little ones. I'll be taking my three older girls, 9, 8, 6 up the San Jacinto range this weekend. There's nothing like it. I've even gotten several other dads into the trips and backpacking since being here on BPL. They love it. In fact, my office wall is covered in BP photos of the kids. (Also a family of 8) I can't wait till they're all old enough to go with the wife and I and we can make a little tent city. Regards, and Kudos for not being the playstation or xbox daddy. They will remember it for a long time. *with trail names... my older loves to go in the woods, hence her name "European". (No offense to the Europe folks)