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backpacking with kids - increasing their role
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Steven Hanlon
(asciibaron) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
backpacking with kids - increasing their role on 07/27/2011 13:03:25 MDT Print View

my entire gear closet is based on a single assumption; i will be self sufficient and alone. i am running into some issues trying increase my son's role in trips. until now, i have carried nearly everything we have needed, he carries his sleeping bag, sleeping pad, flashlight, tent rainfly, his clothes and some water.

i want him understand the concepts of going lightweight and multi-purposing gear. the best teacher of that is carrying the items and coming to understand why you elect to leave them or bring them with you. i want to make sure he feels secure and sharing the burden is a proper start.

the subtext here is that he is in scouts and what he is learning there runs afoul of what dad has been showing and telling him. i want to head off some of the "bad" advice he will get, that i got as a scout.

my wife is concerned that i'm going to overburden him with gear and turn him off to backpacking. i understand her concern, but i also don't want him to be a passenger along for the trip.

how are others increasing their role with more gear responsibility?

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: backpacking with kids - increasing their role on 07/27/2011 13:18:28 MDT Print View

I never carried Ford's gear for him once he was walking. He always, always, always carried a pack. While I would carry our communal gear (shelter, stove, etc) and before he was 8 I carried his food, he carried everything else he needed.

Consequently I always bought him the lightest gear I could find. If I had something, he had a mini-me version.

Teach that. And that if they wreck something while hiking there isn't a replacement.

rOg w
(rOg_w) - F

Locale: rogwilmers.wordpress
deleted on 07/27/2011 14:50:48 MDT Print View


Edited by rOg_w on 05/28/2012 14:56:37 MDT.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Re: Backpacking with kids on 07/29/2011 10:10:44 MDT Print View


I tend to agree with Rog. As we parents know, the kiddos are sponges when it comes to learning by example. I think as long as you bring up the point that you do things differently than the Scouts do he'll get it.

With regard to your son being self sufficient; how about just buying him some gear and show him how to use it as necessary? If he packs his own pack, like Rog says, he'll start to get the idea after a few trips out. He'll probably have a lot of fun cooking his own food, making his own water, etc... plus the sense of accomplishment along with your words of encouragement should make for a great experience.

My kids are both fairly young so I'm just happy they're interested in "going for a hike" at this point. They both really want to carry their own stuff though, which I find interesting, so I let them carry clothes, snacks, and water... and of course marshmallows are a top priority for them :)

Hiking with Thomas the Train, age 2
Backpacking with Thomas the Train, age 2 (his pack from Little Light Gear is boxed up for his birthday this August)

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Re: backpacking with kids - increasing their role on 07/29/2011 13:25:08 MDT Print View

How old is your son?

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
backpacking with kids - increasing their role on 07/29/2011 16:48:39 MDT Print View

If he is in Scouts, he's old enough to be carrying all his own gear. Let him pack his own, make sure he has enough of the right things to survive, and let him live with the results on a trip. It's not like anyone in the Scout troop is carrying his gear for him. Or did I misunderstand the question. I do that some times. I just tell my kids, and the kids in my troop, that the Scouts are stuck in the '80s, and technology has moved on, and you cut weight where you can safely.

I know from my own kids, as long as you'll do something for them, they'll let you. Mine never got it until they had to do it all themselves, and live with the consequences. It's like that old saying - good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes mostly from bad judgement.

Edited by skinewmexico on 07/29/2011 16:51:16 MDT.