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Any other moms out there that take their kids backpacking?
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K ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Any other moms out there that take their kids backpacking? on 09/04/2011 14:13:37 MDT Print View

I am interested to hear about other moms that take their kids out backpacking. I hear a lot about dads taking the kids, families going out together, but how about just moms and kid/kids? And how about mothers and daughters?
During my outings with my girl, I have not come across this combination and I am both wondering why, and hoping to find other women that have done this. I find it a very empowering experience for girls to be out in the mountains and particularly if mom is the one that takes them there. My daughter and I have crossed glaciers together, been through a whiteout searching for a refuge, roped each other across ice fields.... She may well never want to do this when she grown up, but she will not believe that she can't do it.
I would like to hear from other moms and maybe even get a trip together.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Any other moms out there that take their kids backpacking? on 09/04/2011 14:56:03 MDT Print View

Don't hear it about it often, but it's awesome that you do it. Lucky girl too.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Re: Any other moms out there that take their kids backpacking? on 09/04/2011 16:13:59 MDT Print View

I took my granddaughter (age 9) on an overnighter last Thursday and Friday. We had a ball, especially "grazing" on ripe huckleberries along the trail!

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Any other moms out there that take their kids backpacking? on 09/04/2011 17:03:33 MDT Print View

My oldest has been hiking with me since he was a year old - he will be 14 this month. The summer of 2002 when he was 4 1/2 was when we started doing longer hikes (10+ mile days) and the next year he started backpacking with me. For a very long run we were often out most weekends backpacking, hiking, snowshoeing.

I backed off when he got around 10 and let him decide if he wanted to come - he was old enough to choose. I had Walker when in Spring of 2010 (he is 17 months old) and I am 4 1/2 months pregnant right now. So currently not doing much outside of dayhiking (I cannot carry Walker).

In a few years I hope to be back where I was with Ford with the little ones. Will we do the crazy stuff I did with Ford? Maybe. Maybe not. I have mellowed a bit and Ford was special in ways - he has a talent for hiking unlike few other kids I have walked with - and I don't expect the other siblings to be like him. So if you have that one cool kid who hikes well - milk it for all you got!

But as for why? I took him because A) I like my son's company and B) I knew he could do it but most of all is C) Without him going I barely got out - I had no one to watch him. So I started taking him to save my sanity, get exercise and see the places I wanted. As he got older I did leave him home if I wanted to do a crazy 20 mile dayhike - because he just didn't enjoy those.

K ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
re on 09/04/2011 18:52:34 MDT Print View

Sarah, is/was it just you and the kids or was dad there to? That was my original question. I hear of family outings, I just don't hear moms taking the kids out without dad. Did you?
Mary, good for you and your grand daughter.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: re on 09/04/2011 19:06:04 MDT Print View

Oops, sorry ;-) Yes, it was just Ford and I. I was a single mom from about halfway through my pregnancy and then until I met my husband when Ford was 5. Kirk worked for a company for years where he was on call all the time so we'd head out without him. And even with Walker in the first year, it was often just him, Ford and me out hiking. Kirk likes hiking in the cool fall/spring and not up in alpine (he is a redhead and burns easily) we go without him.

And oddly enough I actually love the hikes of just me and the kids! I am short so I walk slower. With my husband he walks so much faster I get stressed out keeping up. Our hikes together I prefer ones that are different. Btw, I also hike with another mom who takes her two kids out without the hubby. It is nice to be able to get out with her - or with yet another mom I know who has a daughter about 6 months younger than Walker - she hikes as well, husband doesn't like the outdoors.

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Re: Any other moms out there that take their kids backpacking? on 09/04/2011 21:54:24 MDT Print View

I do! I hike with my son, who's now 13 and it's something I really, really treasure. He's a natural on the trail and I don't think of it as me "taking" him anymore. We're really hiking partners. He carries his full share and we carry about the same weight. Logical since we're about the same size.

My son's a pretty typical teen, involved with sports, music, friends, girls, etc. but he's still really enthusiastic about our backpacking trips. His teachers tell me that he "brags" about backpacking with his mom, which I think is kind of cool. I mean, what teenage boy brags about doing something with his mom? :) I don't know if his attitude will change in the next few years -- I'm trying to be prepared if it does -- but I hope not.

Kat, I think it's great that you hike with your daughter! None of my women friends backpack. I might talk them into camping, but only with the promise of flush toilets and showers...

Chas Ho
(i_charles) - F
"Any other moms out there that take their kids backpacking?" (sort of) on 09/05/2011 07:02:19 MDT Print View

Mom didn't take us backpacking but took us hiking. That is to say none of us wore a backpack. It was great because our dad was disabled so we still could get out in the woods.
Good way to learn about trees,plants, and bugs without even realizing you are learning stuff..haha
Thats also why social group are really good for kids.
The Scouts or even Church Org.

K ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
replies on 09/06/2011 16:58:16 MDT Print View

Thanks for the replies. I have more questions for the moms out there doing this.
Do your kids get the "huh, your mom is taking you backpacking"? Mine does, and she does not mind, but she noticed that most kids find it unusual to say the least. Not that I want to start a movement of backpacking moms....but wouldn't it be nice to have more of us doing this? I understand that in most families, dads are the ones doing it, if anyone, and that is great. Maybe most moms are not interested but maybe it is something left up to the dads.
I would love to see more empowered little girls and also more little boys that see mom doing this kind of thing.
I have never felt left out or put down by any of the men I have backpacked with, so I am not complaining about any sexism here. I would just love to see more of us out there, actively involved in outdoor pursuits with our kids. Do any of you ladies feel the same?

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: replies on 09/06/2011 21:14:58 MDT Print View

I try to encourage it in the ladies I know - the hiker ones that is. I think though that it is harder and often women will take too much on/worry too much or have a husband who either doesn't get why she hikes or fears for her safety - and not out of spite but fear he sabotages her by getting her to not go.

But also I know ladies with kids who leave the kids at home and see backpacking as their "me" time. They can go fast, do hard trips, etc.

But all said...My oldest only knows a small handful of kids at his school who hike and even smaller who backpack - and their backpacking is usually Scout like, not what we did.

K ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
four of us on 09/07/2011 14:08:41 MDT Print View

Well, could it really be that in the entire BPL community there are only 3 mothers that take their kids backpacking (without dad) and one grandmother? Any other moms that want to share their experiences? How about some trip reports?

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Any other moms out there that take their kids backpacking? on 09/07/2011 15:21:43 MDT Print View

There are at least a dozen (or more) I know of who post on our PNW local forums, and (Seattle). Plus a couple (including another granny) who post on

BPL appeals to a specialized niche of backpackers, so is not necessarily representative.

Edited by hikinggranny on 09/07/2011 15:25:11 MDT.

Manfred Kopisch
(Orienteering) - F
Backpacking moms on 09/07/2011 17:14:04 MDT Print View


You write "I would love to see more empowered little girls and also more little boys that see mom doing this kind of thing." Both my wife and I fully agree with that statement. Where we stumble is your exclusion of the dads. Why do you think that mom alone is more empowering than mom & dad together?
This summer my wife hiked 216 miles with our 9 & 13 year old daughters on the JMT.
Getting up to Muir Pass
Do you think it was less empowering for our girls because I came along? Why would that be?


Adan Lopez
(Lopez) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Valley
Without dad on 09/07/2011 17:42:42 MDT Print View

Manfred, I think it's pretty obvious. Mom showing her children that she does'nt need daddy's help is beneficial. Young girls would be empowered by this and young boys would be educated by this. I would love for my wife to tell me one day that she wants to take my girls backpacking without me. Chill bro, nobody is attacking us hiking daddys, she's just encouraging moms out there to lead the pack more and not rely on dad so much. This is a good thing.

BTW, that's an awesome pic.

Edited by Lopez on 09/07/2011 17:45:45 MDT.

Erin McKittrick
(mckittre) - MLife

Locale: Seldovia, Alaska
my mom did on 09/07/2011 18:08:52 MDT Print View

For myself, I don't think dad would agree to being left behind (and my kids are young enough it'd be near impossible to carry both of them and gear for 3 to boot).

However, my mom did this in my own childhood, ever since my parents divorced when I was 9 or so and my brother was 6. And without the benefit of lightweight gear! We always had a great time and learned a lot. When we were young, it was her + 2 kids, but when we got older, she took us each separately along with one friend. I'm not sure she quite anticipated the adventure addiction she'd start in her daughter, though.

As for why there aren't more? I think the combo of an outdoorsy woman and a non-outdoorsy man just isn't common, for whatever reason (the opposite is super common). So most moms that want to go backpacking have interested husbands, and it's a natural family activity. Many of the women who take kids without dad are single.

Edited by mckittre on 09/07/2011 18:11:44 MDT.

Manfred Kopisch
(Orienteering) - F
Not feeling attacked - just curious on 09/07/2011 18:10:11 MDT Print View


It was easy to take awesome photos of the girls on this year's JMT hike.

I talked to Kat at Henry Coe in February during the BPL gathering and I don't think at all she is attacking us hiking dads. I'm just curious about her perspective.

My wife doesn't need my help in leading the pack (s. photo :), but she likes to have me along. She finds my presence enriching for the kids' experience.

She leads a Girl Scout troop and would love to have dads come along and participate in outings with the girls. We discuss this often and find inclusion of the other gender beneficial for the children.


Jennie Jester
(jennieinmi) - F

Locale: Lower Michigan
Backpacking with my kids on 09/07/2011 19:00:27 MDT Print View

I've been backpacking with my two sons for about 5 years now - they are now 19 and 21. We used to do canoe camping as a family, because their dad has problems with his feet and can't hike very long distances. As soon as the older son was old enough, I started backpacking with him and then my younger son joined in too. Last year, I did my first solo trip, because I couldn't get either one to go with me (older son was injured and younger?). The solo trip was empowering, but I love having my kids with me. Hopefully, in a couple of weeks, I will do another trip for 4 or 5 days out with my 21 year old son. It's been really nice going with them. They are very responsible and do any of the work that's need for the trip - it's very different than normal life with a teenager!

K ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: Backpacking moms on 09/07/2011 21:30:26 MDT Print View

No Manfred, that is not my point. You don't need it to be just a mom to make it an empowering experience, not at all. I am making a few points all in one post. One is that I would like to see more little girls on the trail. Another is that I never see another mother/child team out there, whereas I see plenty of dads with the kids. Then I also see something special in a mother daughter trip. Just like all the guys that post dad son trip reports and the bonding that happens, well I feel that when I take my girl out, it is a special time. I never said that the entire family outing was in any way less special or empowering that a mother with a child alone.

I do think that a girl or boy that sees a mother take the initiative to bring them outdoors and experience the benefits and challenges that come with it, is a good thing. Just like I teach my reluctant daughter to change a tire, light a fire, check the oil and other things that will make her less dependent on others, just in case she does not want to be.

Edited by Kat_P on 09/07/2011 21:33:51 MDT.

Manfred Kopisch
(Orienteering) - F
Empowering Children on 09/07/2011 22:13:36 MDT Print View


we think alike on many levels. And I totally get your desire to bond with your daughter and have that special one-on-one time with her.

My kids have to bike themselves to school and they have to fix their flat tires by themselves etc. My daughters are empowered in the same way as my sons - be it around backpacking or around fixing a flat tire.

The bonding on a parent/child outing is really special. I don't think it is a father/son or mother/daughter thing. It is really a parent/child thing. At least for me the outings with my daughters are as special as they are with my sons. In either case we backpack and fish together. Being out there for several days or even weeks without the usual distractions of every day life provides great opportunities to grow even closer and bond through our shared adventures.

This summer we met several women by themselves with their children on the JMT. We also met women who were leading a Girl Scout troop (btw. we met the same troop last year too). And we met several families with their children. I think the children benefit in all cases from being out there, carrying their own pack and gaining lots of self-confidence along the way. We also met a teenager who walked the whole JMT solo and was roughly once a week re-supplied by his father - that was very empowering to see for our teenage daughter. So what is really empowering these kids is that we enable them to go backpacking in the wilderness. Whether its done by mom, dad, both or a scout leader - they don't even need to come along, they just need to believe in the kids, enable them and support them along the way.


K ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
All of that on 09/07/2011 22:19:59 MDT Print View

Yes, all of that. I am glad you saw so many kids, moms, families out there. I don't see it much and I have not seen a trip report of a mom and kids, so I am just trying to bring it up, trying to encourage more moms to get out there. Not taking anything away or even comparing, just hoping to see more of it and this is one way to put it out there.