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dayhiking with a baby -- advice on a lightweight shelter?
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Karen Routledge

Locale: Calgary
dayhiking with a baby -- advice on a lightweight shelter? on 02/04/2013 11:34:17 MST Print View

Hello, I have a 5-month-old infant and want get her out on some dayhikes this spring. So far she’s good with longer walks as long as we take breaks. I’m looking for a light shelter we could bring along where we could stop to feed, change, and play with her if the weather is not ideal. This will be used primarily in the mountains around Calgary, and on a trip to New Zealand in March-April. Does anyone have any suggestions? Has anyone with a baby found something that works for them? These are the criteria:

1. lightweight
2. very quick to set up, preferably free-standing (or possibly can be set up easily with trekking poles)
3. a fairly small footprint so we can find a place to pitch it along most trails, but needs to be large enough for 2 adults (5’9” and 5’10”) to sit up in and for an infant/toddler to lie down in. It’s okay if it’s pretty cramped – if the baby really wants to roll around and play, one of the adults can go outside.
4. decent at keeping out rain, wind, & bugs (doesn’t have to be bombproof)

We’d like to spend $200 or less, but I’m hoping to find one second-hand and would spend more for the right shelter. I’ve been thinking about the Black Diamond Hilight, but I’m not sure if that would be too easy to rip if we’re trying to set it up in a place with branches & twigs? I have an old Integral Designs bivy that is really strong, so I’m also wondering about their MK Lite series. Would two 5’9” adults be able to sit up in an MK Lite 1? And has anyone tried Integral Designs’ new Chock tents? Would also consider other solutions like tarps, etc. although I am more comfortable with a tent.

Thanks so much,

Erin McKittrick
(mckittre) - MLife

Locale: Seldovia, Alaska
or go without? on 02/04/2013 13:27:20 MST Print View

No real insights for you, since I've never used such a shelter. It doesn't seem like a bad idea if you find one that works for you.

But I will say that I've done lots of dayhiking in foul-weather conditions with babies and toddlers, and have managed fine without a shelter. I'm sure there are times where it would be nice, but I've found that young babies are generally OK on a parent's lap during breaks in bad weather if they're dressed well enough. Snow on the ground can be more of an issue than the weather itself, so I did often bring a sleeping pad as a changing/sitting pad for a baby too little to walk in snow. For my kids, I found that most of the breaks could be pretty short until they were about 1.5 years old or so, when they really wanted a chance to do more active play. (and even my 2 year old sometimes just wants to ride most of the day)

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: dayhiking with a baby -- advice on a lightweight shelter? on 02/04/2013 16:06:07 MST Print View

MYOG simple flat tarp with lots of guy loops.
We use one on day walks to have lunch under when it's raining. No poles - we use trees and string.


Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: dayhiking with a baby -- advice on a lightweight shelter? on 02/05/2013 15:50:13 MST Print View

IMO, a UL tarp is great - if you can set it up fast. So would a lightweight UL shelter with floor. It allows you to be covered nicely. I have carried my AntiGravity gear tarp tent that I hate sleeping in for a day rest area. It has a floor sewn in, so everyone stays dry and clean(er). My friend Dani likes a small tarp for us to sit under for cooking in off weather - or for just sitting around. Very nice when passing time :-)

Karen Routledge

Locale: Calgary
Thanks! on 02/06/2013 08:50:32 MST Print View

Thanks so much for the advice everyone!