3 ways to get your kids to hike — and love it
By Aimee Heckel
Author Jeff Alt knows all about hiking with kids. He brought his son to the trails at only 8 weeks old. And Alt, his wife, their young daughter and their extended family embarked on a 50-mile trail across Ireland.
The key, according to Alt: Make it fun.
Here are three ways to make hiking an activity that your kids look forward to, courtesy of Alt:
1. Start them young.
Pick up a hiking baby carrier, like the Kelty Junction 2.0 Child Carrier Hiking Backpack, $179.95, at Rei.com. This pack, with a five-point harness, even has space for a layer of clothes, lunch and other hiking essentials. It can be converted into a daypack, if your kiddo wants to walk (or crawl), or if you want to take a solo trip.
For a slightly different style, check out the Deuter Kid Comfort carrier, $199, at Backcountry.com. Fold out the aluminum stand to stand the backpack on a level surface. This pack can even be used with toddlers.
2. Let your kids lead. Let them set the pace and direction, and indulge them when they stop to explore.
3. Stock up on the latest technology, comfort and style of hiking gear and clothes. This includes sturdy, water-resistant shoes for the youngsters. Older kids should have lightweight, solid trail boots or shoes. Look for a Vibram sole, recommends Alt.
A pair of Jungle Moc Nubuck slipons for infants, $45 from Merrell, will provide your munchkin with support and flexibility. Hook older kids up with a pair of Chameleon Spin waterproof hiking boots, $65 from Merrell, which even come in a variety of colors, such as pink and purple. These boots promise adult performance in a smaller package.
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