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How old was your child when you started taking him/her with you?

Krissandra - posted on 03/10/2010 ( 52 moms have responded )

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I am VERY excited about the prospect of having a little hiking buddy once my son is born next month. But I'm not sure at what age I'm comfortable at with bringing him out into the woods with me. I know that I wouldn't do it during the infant stage, but maybe at like 1.5 years old? What age did you start hiking with your child, and do you have any suggestions for very young children?

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Christina - posted on 04/17/2010

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We stuck with day hikes for the longest time, but we started hiking with our son at 2-3 months old.

While small I carried him in a front pack when he got older he was in a back pack. It kept him close to me and he loved it! I also had a small pack that included diapers, wipes, and a change of clothes, as well as snacks for me. (he was breastfed so I didn't have to carry bottles or food until later). My husband and I would switch off which pack we carried.

When he got old enough to walk on his own we would have him walk and carry a little back pack (with his diapers and wipes in it) so he could be big like us ... of coarse this means slowing down and taking your time. If we needed to get across a creek or needed to speed up the walking pace we would give him a piggy back ride. He loved that too!!

This was really good for him, cause as he got older he got faster and hiking became a natural thing to do : )

Olga - posted on 04/05/2010

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We started hiking and camping with our first born when he was 9 months old. It was a little rough the first few trips. We felt we needed everything in the house. Each trip that followed we took less and less and found it to be very enjoyable. Most importantly make sure your baby fits the carrier well. Also keep him entertained. A happy baby makes for a happy mom. Now my first born is 11 and absolutely LOVES the woods and trails.

God Bless and enjoy.

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Tanya - posted on 06/03/2011

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I just recently got pretty serious about hiking. My daughter is 16 months old and we took her out for her first day hike just last weekend. She did great. Loves the ups and downs of the trails.
I really think it just depends on how comfortable you are with a pack and your LO in it!

Kelly - posted on 06/02/2011

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My son was born in December so he went on his first hike when he was 3 mos old, in a SleepyWrap infant carrier so he was well supported and close to my body heat. My daughter was born in January and went on her first hike at 3 weeks old because we had a freak weather change with 60 degree + days. I find it so much easier to hike when they're under a year than over as my son is pretty darn heavy in a backpack nowadays and I've had to move to a double jogging stroller. If you want to do it, it can be done at any age.

Suzanna - posted on 04/11/2011

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We started hiking with our daughter when she was seven days old. (This was somewhat problematic and slow for me; my hips were so sore from the relaxin hormone!).

With our older daughter, we carried her in all sorts of carriers before settling on the Ergo. We used the Ergo with her until she was four, at which point we told her she was responsible for walking everywhere herself from then on. Before that, we took very long hikes (up to 7-10 miles) with her either walking or in the Ergo when she was tired. If it was just the two of us, I would wear her on my back and wear my backpack on my front.

The summer she was four, we took a seven-mile hike in to Aneroid Lake in the Wallowas Mountains. She hiked the whole way by herself, but it did take all day. I kept her going with the promise of dried mango or an M&M every 10 minutes. It was a spectacular trip; we stayed three nights at the lake and I was so happy to be backpacking again. It did take us just as long to hike OUT (downhill for several 1000 feet) as it took us to hike IN, which was not really a surprise.

She carried her own pack, which contained snacks and water, a whistle, flashlight, a rain poncho and a fleece. I packed everything else - her clothes and her sleeping bag, and my husband packed the tent and the stove.

Gayleen - posted on 04/07/2011

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I started hiking with my 2 year-old when she was 8 weeks old. We just put her in a comfy front carrier and went on our way. It's a great way to lose the baby fat. She's two now and would much rather walk or run than be in a backpack. Good exercise for me and my little one.

Andrea - posted on 03/17/2011

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We bought a hiking backpack and used it for our daughter this fall. It fit my husband better and he was tired after a couple hours... but was doable. They run about $200...saw a tag on one in EstesPark. We found it on ebay for$50. She was just 4 months old when we went. She slept the whole time.

Trish - posted on 03/07/2011

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Anytime they can walk is perfect to take a walk in nature. Start them early it will be good for them and for you. Let them go at there own pace. It well be fun enjoy your day.

Rebecca - posted on 02/16/2011

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I first took Wyatt out at just under 3 months old. We went snowshoeing. I bundled him up in a snowsuit and into a solid front carrier. We only went out for a couple of hours maximum. He loved every minute of it and slept for a good portion. I think as long as you are comfortable any age is fine. As an infant though I would probably recommend a short day hike rather than something long.

Meredith - posted on 01/31/2011

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We started at 3 months on short, easy hikes using a soft pack. We have yet to start overnight camping, but we'll probably try it when my daughter is 1.5 or so.

Erica - posted on 07/26/2010

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We have had our son outside since he was born. Our first major hiking / primative camping trip was when he was 3. We hiked 3.5 miles into the Shenandoah National Park and camped by the Rose River. He loved it! We let him bring a few favorite toys and 2 books along with crayons and a drawing tablet. A bug box with a small net is great too so they can catch things. We also bought him a disposable waterproof camera so we could see what interested him. The crayons/paper were great for tree, leaf and rock rubbings. He carried his small backpack (about half the size of a school backpack) with his activity stuff in and he was in charge of his bag.

We recently went back this summer for his 7th birthday and we did 6 miles of the Appalachian Trail and he loved it!

Our biggest concern was bug repellant, but with permetherin on the market now we just spray or soak all of the clothes in that and it works great and we don't need to spray down with any kind of deet product. The Deep Woods Off Clip-on Fans work well too.

Best of luck and have fun

Erica

Linda - posted on 07/21/2010

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Wow...well maybe I was wrong, but my second child, Vivianne, was born in Colrado..and my son (who was 3.5 when she was born was already hiking with me) would have died if I didnt take him hiking. So my littlest one would be in a sling (when she was very young) and a hiking backpack when she was about 9 months old. She loved it...and I have to say..now she's 7 and loves the outdoors...as well as my son. So it just depends on how comfortable you are with your child outdoors :) Enjoy

Erin - posted on 07/20/2010

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bounce dryer sheets for bugs n lots of granola! my baby loved packpacking with me very early and sleeping under the stars is wonderful!

Ann-Marie - posted on 07/19/2010

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I put my kids in a snugly and hit the hills at 3 months :-) They still love thier mommy time hiking-my 10 1/2 year old really opens up on our walks :-)

Mary - posted on 06/23/2010

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I started hiking with my daughter in a sling at three days old, and later graduated to a baby bjorn, and then a baby back pack at about a year. She is 18 mos. now, and has hike every day of her life since she was three days old:)

Hannah - posted on 06/13/2010

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i put my daugher in a front pack at about a month old and off we went. she LOVED IT! at 3 months we got a small backpack and it was even better for her! she loves to see everything. she was born very strong and was able to support her head at about a month old tho. our backpack holds upto 40 pounds and wasnt too overly expensive... i also purchased the canaopy for sun shade and rain and she thinks its the best thing ever! (it also helps mamas not get their hair pulled!!) get out and ejoy your little ones. the sooner you get them involved the better! make habits young :o)

Beca - posted on 06/07/2010

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We put my littlest one in a backpack carrier when he was 5 months old and go for a few hours. It is so much fun to take the kids out on the trail. Mty 6 y/o love to look for bugs and lizards.

Lexi - posted on 06/07/2010

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I guess it depends on what sort of hiking you mean and how much extra hassle you're willing to deal with. We've been taking my son on easy day hikes since he was about 5 months old. Essentially since I was healed up enough to feel like taking a walk! It takes some extra precautions but it's fun to be able to get out more often and not have to worry about finding a sitter.



--Make sure you have a baby back pack that is comfortable for both you and baby. We have an eddie bauer one that we LOVE, but I've used a Kelty Meadow back pack and it was ok too. Just didn't seem as comfy for me or my son.



--Make sure you pack everything you might need. Last thing you want is to be three hours out and realize you have no dry clothes for the baby who just had an explosive poopy diaper! Extra food for baby, sunscreen, infant 1st aid kid, diapers, clothes, etc...., extra dry shirt for you if you're nursing and nursing pads.



---Make sure baby is dressed appropriately for the weather and check him frequently for signs of over heating or being too cold. Put on a hat or sunglasses to protect his eyes. If you start having him wear them young he will leave them on better when he is older. My son is happy to chill out and observe the world go by for an hour or two at a time, then he wants a little break for a snack or to run around. Before he started walking and crawling he was happy to stay put longer between breaks. I prefer to avoid hikes with lots of low hanging branches that could slap my son in the face and I avoid anything terribly steep since my balance is not the greatest with the big ol back pack on.



The best tip I can think of is just to start small and see how it goes for you. Don't plan a big over-nighter and hope it works out. Take an hour hike somewhere near your home, then the next weekend go two hours, etc....

[deleted account]

Our pediatrition said we could take our first little one out at a month old. He said the fresh air would do her good and flu season was over (in March) so why not get her use to our activities. We have 3 now and have hiked and camped with them all. We have a backpack to take the smallest one hiking, but at 18 mo. he would get out periodically and do some "running."

We found that when they started to complain about the distance we could come up with songs, counting, snack breaks, or playing "I spy" to help them keep going. Our oldest is 6 now and her and our 4 year old will go weveral miles each way with no problem.

Stephanie - posted on 05/20/2010

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We started taking our daughter as soon as the weather permitted, she was born in August and first camping trip at our cabin at 4 weeks!! She did amazing!! Then we went for a hike up to our local spring waterfall beginning in April. Another great trip, we have a tough traveler backpack and she LOVES to hike. I believe that you should get your children to love what you love if it permotes a healthy lifestye. Go with how you and your baby feel. Have fun and go with the flow. All my love

Tiffany - posted on 05/20/2010

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Little babies LOVE hiking! Everybody gets out and gets some exercise and everyone sleeps better that night. I think it is good for new mamas especially since there is so little time for yourself in the beginning. Babies love to look at everything and the constant swaying with your step is familiar. It is very relaxing. That said, I would choose a well worn path to take tiny babies - not too high into the mountains or close to really wild areas where you might encounter the odd bear or mountain lion (depending on where you live)

Katherine - posted on 05/15/2010

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My oldest son was a week and a half old when we took him for his 1st hike up a Mountain. Hes loved it ever since. By the time he was 2, he knew the trails up the mountain and loved the outdoors and camping. He will be 14 this summer and we are planning a partial Appalatian Trail hike.

Christina - posted on 05/13/2010

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We started afternoon hikes at 3 weeks in the baby bjorn. By 3 months, my son had done day hikes in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Now at 2 he loves to go out and hike in either his Deuter Kid Comfort II pack or walking on his own for short distances. Babies love the outdoors and as long as the weather and insects aren't a problem, it is safe!

[deleted account]

We took our son out right away (he was born mid summer), we just had to adjust our plans to his limit and carry a lot more gear with us. Baby carriers are wonderful but it can get heavy and my son got bored easily so we would stop often to play or let him explore. Now at 3 he hikes with me but our trips are fairly short or we end up stopping while he explores so I we don't go nearly as far as I used to, but it's way more fun having him there!!

[deleted account]

I took my little one for a hike at 3 months! If he likes being outside all you have to worry about is having changing clothes for him ( warm clothes - we live at high altitude so the weather changes all the time), milk (if you're not breastfeeding), a good carrier, lots of water for you :)) and away you go!

CHris - posted on 05/01/2010

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I took them out in a tummy carrier as soon as they were born. They loved it and so did I. Depends on whether you expect to encounter dangerous animals I guess. Where we live there aren't any.

Veronica - posted on 05/01/2010

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I hiked (carefully) through most of my pregnancy and went into labor while camping, ironically, on Labor Day weekend. We appropriately named her Freedom. As soon as hiking season began in the spring, she was 9 months, I put on the Snugli carrier and headed out. We hiked all summer until she outgrew the Snugli. We were not able to find a frame pack carrier in our price range for the following year, but, by the time spring came again she was 2 1/2 and ready to go on a hike on her own two feet. By the end of that summer she was skilled enough to hike the Table Rock family trail in Grafton Notch, walking more than half of it herself, with plenty of breaks, of course. We take her back to that trail every year and she keeps getting better.

Mindy - posted on 04/25/2010

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5 months old. It was fairly easy because we were baby wearing and breastfeeding so less baggage!

Erin - posted on 04/24/2010

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Both of mine were each about 2 months or so when I started taking them hiking/camping =)

Martha - posted on 04/24/2010

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I didn't start hiking until my daughter was 4yrs old in the first place. Actually I think that is probably the best age. Hiking can be dangerous at times even in the best of circumstances, snakes, bears, slippery surfaces. Children love to run ahead and wander to explore. They need to be old enough to understand that when you tell them what and where and how far they can go ahead of you that they have to listen and do as you tell them.
Also you would spend more time carrying a 1.5month old in a carrier on your back, not such a good idea for your back not to mention if you slipped and fell backwards on a rocky incline. Wait until your hiking buddy is old enough to walk with you. It will be more enjoyable for both of you. Just imagine him finding flowers for you on his own, or discovering a praying manitis on his own.

Kristina - posted on 04/19/2010

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We took our little girl on her first hike when she was 2 weeks old, it was -15 out in the beautiful state of Alaska!! She was bundled and in a wrap in my jacket, she now loves being outside, she is almost 6 months now!

Heather - posted on 04/19/2010

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I hike several days a week with my daughter who just turned 9 months. I started regularly hiking with her about 2 months ago when I felt that it was finally warm enough to have her outside for an extended period of time. I have a nice Ketly ruck type carrier and she LOVES to be in it. she loves looking at the trees and being up higher then mommy. she will stay content for hours and usually nods off for a nice mid hike nap. I did take her on some shorter hikes in the bjorn when she was about a month and 2 months old but nothing as long as the hikes we take now

Jenny - posted on 04/16/2010

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My oldest was about 7 months when we started with him because he was an October baby and winter in the mountains is just too cold for an infant, but my twins (May kids) started hiking with us by age 3 months, as soon as they could hold their heads up in the snugli!

Lisa - posted on 04/15/2010

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You can start as soon as you feel ready. We started when our son was a few months old. He loves the outdoors. We got a framed back pack carrier last year when he was 1, and he absolutely loved going on hikes. We took him on a road trip to CO last summer when he was 16 months, and we went on 4 to 6 hour hikes every day without a complaint from Zach. Have fun with your new hiking buddy :)

Jefflisapaige - posted on 04/14/2010

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You can take your child whenever you feel like going. We used to put our 6 mo old in a backpack - she loved it! I wouldn't reccomend going alone with a child. Always take another adult. We have never gone on overnight hikes, just day trips. My daughter is now 15 and still loves to hike! =-)

Shari - posted on 04/12/2010

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I hiked with Eliza (now 2.5 years old) from week one. She was born in November and even though Wisconsin is cold at that time of the year she was happily bundled up in a carrier under my coat or in a stroller. I was always very careful not to smother her, off course, and it is essential not to over heat a baby too.
She is an outdoors kid, who rarely gets sick at all.

[deleted account]

We start pretty early for short hikes. Our 4 mos old son has been on 3 short (1-2 hour) hikes already. We started the longer hikes with our older two at around 8 mos old. They did wonderfully for 6-7 hour hikes. And, now the older two (2yrs and 4yrs) have even done hike ins for overnight trips. They have done wonderfully.

Ashley - posted on 04/06/2010

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we started when she was 4 months old:) Hiking backpacks are wonderful and really start them on the love of nature..... then wants she was walking we let her walk along the canal/flat services--paved paths... such love for it now she asks for hiking time:)

Jennifer - posted on 04/05/2010

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The first time we hiked with our son, he was only 1.5 months old. We've been busy at it ever since. It was pretty easy...but we were also camping at a set spot - we weren't hiking from one camp site to the next - we'd just hike all day and work our way back to the camp site later. That worked well for us. One person carried food, water, etc. in a pack, the other had the baby in a carrier. He was fine in the woods - just kept him covered (long sleeves, hat/hood, pants) to protect from bugs and sun. We were in one particularly buggy place and ended up using some chemical free bug spray to help protect the little fella. Good luck! Enjoy!

Hillary - posted on 04/03/2010

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We took our little one when she was 3 months old. It's way more tedious now that she's two and wants to walk. We get NOWHERE with her.

Shanna - posted on 04/02/2010

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We took our son hiking at 3-4 months. We had a front carrying pack so I could watch him and make sure he was comfortable. I could also cover him with a blanket to block the sun. Now it is harder since my son is larger and nearing 2 years old. He is harder to carry since he likes to kick my legs as we hike...

Suzi - posted on 03/27/2010

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My DD was ~7 months on her first hike. I got a great backpack carrier and away we went! She's been on many hikes and has loved every one of them.

Sharline - posted on 03/26/2010

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I started to take my girls out hiking with me when they were just learning how to walk.... about 6 months...Got a baby back back and went.... They loved it and it was good for me.... I think that is where they got their love for the outdoors....Now when the weather is good that is all they want to do is hike and fish...

Susan - posted on 03/25/2010

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I carried kids in backpacks from the time they were infants....I found that 3 years old was about right for the kids to do it entirely under their own steam....kids aren't fond of vigorous uphill hikes, so I took the tram up to the top of a local ski area and hiked DOWN with them....They did the whole thing without any complaints...

Connie - posted on 03/25/2010

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As the mother of 4 grown children and 5 grandchildren (so far) we started hiking and camping with our children before they were a year old. I am certain back pack carriers are much better than when we were about the business of raising our kiddos. Last summer, our 2 oldest grand-daughters (7 & 9) joined us in Yellowstone and they did remarkably well on their longest dayhike which was an easy 5 mile roundtrip. For their birthdays my husband and I bought them hydration packs as well as a whistle, flashlight and compass to clip on it. Every stop we made to walk around a boardwalk even, they took their packs with them! We got them JR Ranger hats as well and they had the best time ever!

Elina - posted on 03/24/2010

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we started doing day hikes as soon as i felt up to it (about 2 months) and i took him camping (car camping) @ 7 months. which is not as scary as it seems beforehand, trust me!! my son's going to be 1.5 this summer and i'm about 600% more nervous about camping this year than i was last year (the infant stage is a breeze!! i took my exersaucer and he just hung out with us during the day...bring enough mosquito netting to cover the playpen and you're laughin!!)

Erin - posted on 03/22/2010

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We hike regularly. Started with my first son when he was around 6 months old and my second son about a month ago (He was 4 mo. old) I like a good soft/comfy carrier (like my lillebaby or an ergo) when they are young & a good jogging/ hiking stroller for when they are too heavy to carry. My almost 3 year old still LOVES a nature hike. He rides in the stroller, while I pouch my youngest and I bring lots of snacks/ lunch for my oldest. He rides and eats while I get a good workout then he hikes a bit with me and plays, when he's ready to get out (and we're not near any cliffs or anything of course).

Jill - posted on 03/22/2010

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We kind of changed the way we hiked and camped once we had children, and they still absolutely love it. We have done both since they were 3 tp 6 months, but the camping was definitely car camping, still haven't been backpacking as a family. I would suggest going on small nature walks to start, it will help *you* be more comfortable, and figure out how to deal with things as they come up. I definitely hiked with kids in the Baby Bjorn. Once they get walking aged, you actually have to slow down a bit, because they like to get down and look at stuff, and well, play! :)

Colleen - posted on 03/11/2010

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The first hike I took Mags on she was 3 months old! Look for a well structured carrier and away you go! Babies love the outdoors, and all the fresh air made her sleep.
Go with your comfort level. (I would be more anxious about letting my 20 month old in the forest than a new baby.)

Summer - posted on 03/11/2010

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My girlfriend started camping and hiking with her children when they were just 7 months old. We first took our son out on his first trip when he was one. I think it just depends how much work your willing to put into it. If your just doing a day hike and not camping you can go when they are able to sit comfortably in a hiking child carrier. I recommend Deuter brand it gives them a full seat to sit on and not just a sling which could chafe their little legs. Hope this helps!

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