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PostIcon Posted on: May 07 2013, 1:02 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hello.  We have done a decent amount of car camping and lots of day hikes but we really want to start backpacking. I've been intimidated by all the pros in the forum so I figure the "backpacking with kids" section is a good place to start as we have a two yr old and an 8 month old.  I know this limits our backpacking ability as both kids need to be carried, one all the time and the other most of the time.  We have a kelty kid carrier (I think its an FC 2.0?) and are looking at getting a second carrier.  Any suggestions there?  What other items are essential to upgrade from car camping to backpacking.  Also, how what sort of expectations should we have about backpacking with our very young ones?  The two yr old LOVES hiking and camping and the baby just loves being with us so that is not an issue.  I'm thinking more just our ability to carry them and gear.  My husband and I both weigh about 135lbs, if that matters and both kids weigh around 20 lbs (with the toddler on the high side of 20 and the baby on the low side).  Thanks!
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PostIcon Posted on: May 07 2013, 2:25 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

REI has a kid carrier that also has a little bit of space to carry other things. They also sell many different front carriers as well. I guess you could have a front carrier for the baby and then your backpack in the back. It wouldn't be ideal and you probably wouldn't want to go a really far distance but it would probably be fine for shorter backpacking hikes.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 07 2013, 8:37 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

It's tough at that stage.  Our boys are about that same distance apart (and similar weights at those ages, too), and for about 3 or 4 years we just gave in and hired horsepackers to drop our gear at a base camp.  Then we just had to hike in with 30 or so pounds of kids and dayhike food/gear, which was quite enough, thank you :D  My husband and I weigh in about the same as you, too, so we did really struggle when we started backpacking, having to carry very heavy packs for our weight.  Some of that could have been better, as we didn't have as lightweight gear then as we do now.

I don't usually say this, but given you aren't experienced backpackers, this might not be the time to start.  But if you do, it seems like you'll have to be very tough--someone is going to have to carry a baby on the front and a pack on the back, which is not going to be fun with a nearly 20-lb baby.

Another thing we did once when the boys couldn't yet walk long distances was use the jogging stroller (we had a double) to go a couple miles to a camp.  We put our packs in it some, and the boys in it some.  That really only works on fireroads, though.

Is the 2-year-old potty trained?  Diapers for two is going limit you, too.  You guys need some hulking teens to act as pack mules for you!

Whatever you end up doing, enjoy every step, and remember that the time of diminished expectations is really pretty short.  By the time ours were 6 and 7, we were able to stay out for 6 days and cover near 30 miles.  Felt like a long wait at the time, but not so bad in restrospect.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 07 2013, 9:31 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

So realistically we are thinking more along the lines of lots of day hikes, car camping, etc and maybe a short overnight? I don't want to push it and make it no fun for anyone. I have done some backpacking before (10 yrs ago my girl scout troop did a ton of prep work and lots of 2 and 3 night trips in preparation for a week long Switzerland trip that never happened) but I have just recently convinced my husband that hiking is fun and now he wants to thru hike the Appalachian trail. Ha! I'm trying to take advantage of this excitement while also staying realistic and keeping it fun.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 07 2013, 10:20 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Tylert27- those are the two carriers we have. I love my ergo (can be used for front or back) and I use it almost every day for either the baby or the toddler. I'm looking for either a second Kelty or another brand of something similar. Thanks!
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PostIcon Posted on: May 08 2013, 2:23 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Sounds like you have a good plan.  Car-camping with little ones is fun and easy.  Hauling them on dayhikes is quite manageable, as the gear needed is more reasonable.  An overnight of a couple of miles is something you can probably do, just because you can make two trips if needed!

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PostIcon Posted on: May 08 2013, 4:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hi there!

I have a 3 yr old girl and a 6 month old boy. We did one 2 mile over night backpacking trip 4 months ago and it was a lot of work. I carried the baby in a front carrier (Kelty, but like an ergo) and my 25 lb pack on my back. My husband carried 30 lbs and our 3 yr old carried 5 lbs. She ended up not wanting to walk much and so my husband alternated between carrying her pack and carrying her (on his shoulders). We also had our 75 lb lab carry a pack for the trash/dirty diapers. I am nursing so I didn't have to worry about formula.

My husband and I enjoy backpacking and the outdoors and though we had a successful trip to a place we had hiked to before, it will be the only one we do for awhile. With two kids, it was intense! We will continue to car camp, day hike, and canoe camp for a few more  years. And backpack alone :)

I wish I wasn't on my work computer, so I could post a picture, but if you search for my name, you might find the thread since I posted about it when it happened.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 08 2013, 5:18 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Home now:



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PostIcon Posted on: May 08 2013, 6:25 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My kids are barely 6 and barely 4.  This will be the first summer since they were 1 and 3 that we'll attempt backpacking with both of them.  When we had just one, it wasn't much problem, but number two changed the game considerably.  We're not big people, either, and just couldn't figure out how to carry everything we needed.  We did one short trip of a couple of miles, but ultimately decided it would be more fun to car camp and do longer dayhikes than wear everybody out on a mile or two. We've done tons of dayhiking. Last summer was the first year we weren't carrying at least one of them at least part of the time.  That was great.  The little one complains a little, but she's good for 4 or 5 miles in a day.  When I'm really craving a full 10-15 mile day, the kids stay home with Dad.  It won't be long before my six year old is joining me on those days.  She loves every step.  :)

As far as carriers go, we have a Kelty (older model than yours though) that worked great for my husband.  It doesn't fit me well at all.  The torso won't adjust short enough, and the shoulder straps are too wide and set too far apart for my narrow shoulders.  I have one made by Yakima (the bike rack people) that fits me great and carries a good amount of gear.  I don't think they're made anymore though. If I was shopping for a carrier today, I'd look very hard at the Deuter packs.  I think they have the comfiest harness/seat for the kid. I've coveted them many times when I've seen them in use.  
Good luck, and let us know how it goes!


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PostIcon Posted on: May 08 2013, 6:32 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

As far as other gear, you need the same stuff, just as light and compressible as you can afford.  Focus on reducing weight with tent and sleep systems. That is where you have the biggest potential to lose pounds.  When mine were that age, we could all fit in a 3 man tent (MSR mutha hubba), but since we outgrew it within a couple of years, if I had it to again, I'd probably go with the lightest 4 man I could find.  Rebecca will tell you to consider two light 2 man tents, one for kids & one for adults.  I think it's a stellar idea, but would never have worked for my kids.  It still wouldn't, actually.  Maybe when they're teens.  :laugh:

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PostIcon Posted on: May 09 2013, 5:13 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I've been on two backpacking trips with my son - first trip he was 6 months old and I managed to carry all of his things and some of my gear along with him in the Kelty Backpack.  I had a friend help carry the rest of my gear (tent, sleeping pad, and we shared a bear can).  We only went a short distance 1.5 miles down a pretty canyon below a waterfall for the night.   http://www.tarol.com/seeleycreek2

The second time was when he was 9 months old and I carried him in a front pack and everything of ours in my backpack.  This time we went about 3 miles.  That was tough, tougher than the first trip for sure.  But both trips were worth it.  http://www.tarol.com/hoegees.html

I am hoping to go out this summer with him, I have the spot picked out, but need at least one friend to help carry the gear now that he's getting heavier, plus to help in camp.  Now that he's walking and has no fear, you pretty much need one person to watch him while the other puts up the tent, cooks, etc!  I've got two friends willing, it's just finding the time that works for our schedules.  

As far as gear goes - obviously as light weight as possible is good.  So invest in good down bags, a lightweight tent, and pare everything else down.  

For trip planning I definitely would do easy trips only during good weather - nothing crazy.  Where do you live?


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PostIcon Posted on: May 10 2013, 9:41 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Mountaindocdanny hasn't posted here in almost a year, but he (and sometimes his wife) would often take their numerous children on trips. If you want some inspiration, check out their blog at the older posts of some of their trips.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 10 2013, 11:17 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Honestly, my wife and I did an over nighter with our, then, one year old.  He rode in the backpack carrier and my wife carried the loaded backpack.  It went incredibly well, with the exception of being insanely hot.

We tried a day hike the other weekend with my no 4 year old and almost 2 year old, it didn't go so well.  The four year old didn't feel like walking (probably because he just woke up and is very cranky when that happens.  The little one was thrilled to walk but then would just lay on the ground...  I ended up carriing both.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 10 2013, 12:11 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(ponderosa @ May 08 2013, 6:25 pm)
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If I was shopping for a carrier today, I'd look very hard at the Deuter packs.  I think they have the comfiest harness/seat for the kid. I've coveted them many times when I've seen them in use.  
Good luck, and let us know how it goes!

I have seen the Deuter packs online and I want one, they are so pricey though.  I found one on Craigslist that I got really excited about but haven't heard back from the poster.  Oh well.  I'll keep looking.  Thanks!

I don't see 2 two man tents working well for us for a while either.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 10 2013, 12:12 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

VAN, I love that picture of you and your kids... and I'm so impressed.

I was a single mom when my son was a baby/toddler and living in the northeast.  For me, it was intimidating enough to think about carrying everything, much less figuring out what to do if it rained unexpectedly.  I chickened out.  I admit to car-camping exclusively until he was old enough to carry most of his own gear (9 yo.)

That said, we had tons of fun camping and day hiking when he was a toddler.  Lots of rustic national forest campgrounds.  Chased a lot of waterfalls -- that was our favorite.  And the bonus was that he was so used to all the aspects of camping and hiking that transitioning to backpacking was a non-brainer.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 10 2013, 12:15 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(tarol @ May 09 2013, 5:13 pm)
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For trip planning I definitely would do easy trips only during good weather - nothing crazy.  Where do you live?

I'm hoping we can maybe find a friend or two who wouldn't mind going with us and helping us out on a short overnight.  That makes it sound much more doable!  

We live in southern Indiana, close to Louisville, KY.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 17 2013, 11:10 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

We have only one child, which is much easier for planning - so no advice on that.  Personally, if it just seems too much with logistics/planning/carrying everything, I would stick with car camping and day hiking.  As far as the kids go - they will just love being outdoors, so I don't think it really matters what you do.  When they get older it will be easy enough to transition into backpacking.

And I think it's great to see everybody here getting out with their kids. :)
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PostIcon Posted on: May 19 2013, 2:27 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yes, one child makes it easier to do anything/go anywhere!  I would like another kid, but am thinking that until this one is out of diapers and can walk a couple of miles, then we are holding off.

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PostIcon Posted on: May 19 2013, 10:46 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Well, Tarol, there are advantages both ways--we had a few tough years, but within 4or 5 years of the birth of the first one, we had both walking.  Spacing them out more wasn't really an option for us anyway, because of our age, so it was an easy choice for us (though I didn't mean to have them THAT close together. . . Oops).

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