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Topic: first timer and a long-ago timer< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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ekkthree Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 11 2013, 3:00 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

newcomer here, tho my backpacking goes decades back.
to be honest, i haven't gone "real" backpacking since shortly after college which was maybe ten years ago.  i was getting in a handful of trips a year for about a decade before the dropoff.

in any case, i'm at the point now where i'm looking to take my eldest on his first real trip this summer and i'm lost as to gear.  a lot has changed and in some areas, almost nothing has changed.  sadly, the biggest advancements seem to be in lighting, where leds and li-ion batteries have yielded significant size and weight savings.  but of course that's hardly any of the weight or builk.  sleeping bags, tents, stove, water treatment, etc, all that's the about the same and whether we go for two nights or ten, the basic equipment needs remain the same.  
having said that, what are some good guidelines for a two nighter with a 6 year old?  i expect to get him a proper fitting pack and headlamp (cuz they're fun) but otherwise i've got all the gear sitting in the garage still.  (who knew my dana terraplane would become "vintage")  i will expect him to carry his own sleeping bag, which will probably fill up most of his pack anyway, a water bottle, safety whistle, and headlamp.  i'll mule the rest.   i wonder if that's realistic.  

fyi, destination is yosemite (may lake) in late june.  mileage is very minimal, but at altitude and wide temperature range day and night.  bonus, we'll have an opportunity to dayhike hoffman if the guy's up to it, otherwise we'll enjoy the lake.   we'll be going from sea level to 8000ft in a day.  i wonder if that's going to be an issue as well.

main goal is to make this as enjoyable as possible for him, so if i'm overlooking something, let me know.
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 11 2013, 10:41 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I took my kid on some dry runs at the local state park to see what he was up to. For light, I found that he was happier with a glowstick on a string rather than an actual light. At least at 6.
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 13 2013, 12:09 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You are doing a wonderful thing. Set low expectations, and you will have a great time.

I live at 50 ft above sea level and don't think about altitude unless I'm going over 10,000', but everybody responds differently to altitude.

Think about having your kid carry some of his trail snacks.

Good luck, have fun, be careful, and don't sue the Park Service if--god forbid--you get hurt!


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 13 2013, 9:56 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(ekkthree @ Apr. 11 2013, 3:00 pm)
QUOTE
having said that, what are some good guidelines for a two nighter with a 6 year old?  i expect to get him a proper fitting pack and headlamp (cuz they're fun) but otherwise i've got all the gear sitting in the garage still.  (who knew my dana terraplane would become "vintage")  i will expect him to carry his own sleeping bag, which will probably fill up most of his pack anyway, a water bottle, safety whistle, and headlamp.  i'll mule the rest.   i wonder if that's realistic.

When I started with my son at 4.5, I kept his total load to about 10% of his weight, which was 35 at the time so 3.5 lbs for his pack and what he carried in his school backpack. I find the kids backpack market noticeably missing lightweight packs. I will never let my son carry a pack heavier than mine (29 oz). At his age (now 6.5) that means nothing over 16 oz.

I'd suggest the REI Tarn 18 (I was confident I could trim a bunch of superfluous stuff from it to shave a few ounces). I should have gotten that rather than the REI Super Nova, which is just too small. He still carries what he always has (sleep clothes, insulating clothes, rain jacket, snacks, and water bottle), but it barely fits in the Super Nova. He's still only 45 pounds now.

I think it's fine for your boy to carry what you indicated if it will fit. Otherwise, do like I do. It's the weight that really matters and how comfortable the pack straps are (shouldn't be too close together to pinch the neck).  


(ekkthree @ Apr. 11 2013, 3:00 pm)
QUOTE
fyi, destination is yosemite (may lake) in late june.  mileage is very minimal, but at altitude and wide temperature range day and night.  bonus, we'll have an opportunity to dayhike hoffman if the guy's up to it, otherwise we'll enjoy the lake.   we'll be going from sea level to 8000ft in a day.  i wonder if that's going to be an issue as well.

If you've not hiked with him yet, I'd do some local dayhikes first to get a feel for what he can do. When my son turned 4, we went for a walk in the woods. He had no trouble doing 3 miles. The next spring break was our first trip and I limited the miles to 2.5 miles (hillier region). That was a breeze so we did a 2-night a couple days later that was 3.5 miles each day (11 mile loop). Did OK with that, too. Next spring break we did a 19 mile loop in hilly terrain followed by 25 mile loop in Smokies right before he turned 6. You can see videos of all those trips if you check my link in my profile.

I also recommend lighweight footwear. The last 2 trips he's done were wearing Nerf sandals from Walmart. Full-toe, dry fast. He loved them so they barely lasted for the second trip. I just found a Faded Glory version that seems a bit more robust material (and camo!).

Remember it's all about him. He sets the pace, determines when to stop, etc. My son will play Star Wars battles while we hike, shooting all sorts of droids in the woods and such. Have some skittles, M&Ms, etc to use for goal motivators (eg, reaching next trail jct, ridgeline).

You may find the paper I wrote helpful for the future.

Have fun! Wish we lived closer to Yosemite. My middle son (15 and my size) and I will be hiking last 60 miles into Yosemite this summer. Very much looking forward to that.
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 13 2013, 1:29 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I think you've already gotten some good advice.  I will say that you may find you can drop some real weight with the advanced in tents and packs in the last ten years (we have in that period).  The Terraplane is a load hauler, but weighs a ton.

I will second several things: lots of local dayhikes, have him carry some water and snacks (and a whistle, with instructions about use, I.e. only in an emergency).

Agree about shoes.  At 13 and 15 ours still hike in running shoes, and Eldest
Son will do non-trivial distances in Crocs.

For help on bulk, consider giving the kid a down bag, if you've a spare, rather than a kids' synthetic bag.  

Oh, and experiment with trail foods to be sure you have stuff he will eat.

About altitude: 8000' is not usually a problem, but some people are more sensitive.  If possible, you might try some altitude first (I realize this doesn't work if you live in, say, Kansas) just to get a sense of it (and still be prepared for unexpected reactions, and both of you WILL feel less spunky).


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 17 2013, 9:31 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

thanks for all the tips.  good things to know for sure.
trailside snacks will be key.  i figured the low mileage was easy enough but i that's me.  i'll definitely pack some m$ms or granola for the trail.

also, that's a great idea to give him my uberlight down bag.  i've been wanting a roomier one anyway and this is a great excuse :D
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 17 2013, 9:33 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE


(topshot @ Apr. 13 2013, 9:56 am)
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I also recommend lighweight footwear.

Remember it's all about him. He sets the pace, determines when to stop, etc.

good stuff
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