Baby Hiking Essentials: Everything You Need
It's such a different world of hiking when you are a mom, especially hiking with babies. My first hike with my baby was in Hawaii and it was definitely a learning hike. After a hike up to Manoa Falls with my friends and all of our little ones, I quickly learned that I wasn't prepared at all for this hike. The baby carrier I had was causing me unbarable back pain, we ran out of water, and potty breaks with my toddler and a baby on my back was interesting to say the least. As I continued to hike with my baby and my toddler I continued to learn what baby hiking essentials I really needed.
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BEFORE ANY HIKE DO THIS!
Before going on any hike please do your research on the trail. You want to make sure you pick a good trail that will be in your hiking level as well as comfortable enough for your little one. Also keep in mind that if your baby has older siblings, the hike you choose has to be good for their hiking experience as well. You can read my entire guide on how How To Choose The Best Hike For Your Child to get more guidance on this topic!
BABY HIKING ESSENTIALS
I'm going to go through a list of items that I highly recommend to have on you at all times. Please keep in mind that this changes according to each child's needs. For example if you child needs certain medications, please take them. The list below is just a general list and not specific for your child. This is what has worked for me and my family and hope that some of these items can work for your family as well.
Related Article: Must Haves When Hiking With Kids (older kids toddler age and up)
1. ERGO BABY CARRIER
One thing that is on the top of my baby hiking essentials list is a baby carrier. I quickly learned that my old baby carrier wasn't making the cut. I ended my first hike with my baby with a throbbing pain down my back and swelling all on my lower back. My friend quickly told me about better options for baby carriers and after some research I decided to go with an Ergo baby carrier. I bought my Ergo from a military wife who had upgraded hers to a newer version. One of the best decisions I had ever made. I would never switch my Ergo baby carrier for anything in the world. It's been 4 years and it is still going strong. My daughter is now four years old and I still use it on very long hikes from time to time.
Related Article: Ergo Baby Carriers Review
I never leave the home without snacks. That's a must with my little ones! I usually take healthy snacks that will keep them fuller longer and give them energy for the day. This also depends on the age of the child. If they are under the age of 6 months then breastmilk or formula will be good enough but if they are over the age of 6 months and the pediatrician has given you the go on feeding solids then some good snacks can be baby food, Gerber Puffs or even Gerber Yogurt Melts are good options for snacks. I used to make my own baby food and take it with me. You can use some reusable pouches such as these to store it in and it will make it easier to feed them during the hike. It is also less of a mess.
Related Article: Healthy Snacks For Kids On The Go
3. TO DRINK
The number one thing to always have on my baby hiking essentials list is something to drink. However, same rule applies for drinks as for snacks. A child under the age of 6 months should be strictly on formula or breast milk. Once you have the go for feeding then you can also give water. I highly recommend doing breast milk or formula whenever possible but on hot days you can always give some water to make sure they stay hydrated enough. If you are breastfeeding then it is a good idea to bring breast pads in case of leakage and some lanolin cream if you are still needing to use it. Sometimes the rubbing of movement during a hike can further irritate your nipple area and the lanolin cream will greatly benefit this. Coconut oil is another alternative to lanolin cream that I used but please consultant with your pediatrician before trying anything new.
I find having a blanket to be very useful with babies. You can find a nice spot on your hike to stop for lunch and it will be something easy to carry that you can all sit on. You can even use it to change your baby's diaper during the hike versus laying them on the ground. I usually use any blanket I have at home.
5. A HAT
This may be optional depending on the trail you take, how exposed to the sun you are going to be and how well your little one tolerates hats. I remember my little ones at this age not wanting anything to do with bows, hats or anything on their heads. It lasted maybe a minute or two before they grabbed it and ripped it off their little heads. However, it is good to protect their scalp from the sun if you are not going to be hiking in a shaded area. If not then you can also use sunscreen.... which leads me too our next item.
I am a strong believer in using a good sunscreen when outdoors. Shaded areas can be fine but when you are on trails that are not shaded, the sun can be very unforgiving. It is good to always play it safe and protect your skin and your baby's skin. Some of the sunscreens that I love to use that are eco-friendly and safe to use are
** Use coupon code TWM10 for a 10% off your purchase at Raw Elements.**
Related Article: Why You Should Use Reef Safe Sunscreen
7. BUG SPRAY
Bug spray is so essential when trying to keep the bugs away. They can be so annoying especially to our little ones. Both of my daughters get allergic reactions and every time they get a mosquito bite that spot swells up very bad that it turns painful to them. They will scratch and scratch making it worse and sometimes making their little bite marks bleed. This is why bug spray is so essential to keep on me. Here are a few of my favorite organic and safe to use bug sprays for babies.
- Babyganics - They have a spray bottle or wipes.
- Repel Lemon and Eucalyptus
- Off Plant Base and Deet Free
With a baby, diapers are a must. I used to use Huggies but have recently learned the awful environmental impact that they cause. Some diapers can take up to 500 years to decompose fully. For my next baby I plan to use reusable diapers instead. Here are a few brands I have been eyeing for the next baby.
- Bum Genius
- Charlie Banana
- View more here
- You can also use disposable diapers that are safe for your babies such as Honest diapers.
This goes hand in hand with the diapers. You need wipes if you are going to change a diaper. There are various options that are eco-friendly for you to use. Really read the labels on these products to make sure you are getting something that is good for your baby's skin and for the environment. Some products that I trust and have used include:
10. WET BAG
A wet bag is such an amazing item to have in your backpack. I absolutely love using it. It keeps the stinky smell out of my bag and the mess inside the wet bag. Best of all, no leakage! I really like how cute these wet bags from Thirsties are. Amazon has some really cute ones too.
11. HAND SANITIZER
After changing a dirty diaper it is very important to clean your hands. Using a good hand sanitizer is critical to avoiding Hand Foot Mouth Disease. I like to keep one handy that has alcohol in it such as this one. The reason for this is because you are going to be outdoors. If one of you get a scrape then you can use the hand sanitizer as a cleaner with alcohol to kill any bacteria and avoid any infections in the wounded area. You can also use one that has no alcohol in it for your baby such as this one. I know they can get little scrapes from their nails and this is a good way to avoid further pain to a small cut that is not infected.
12. FIRST AID KIT
A first aid kit is definitely a baby hiking essential. Emergencies are not something that you plan for but being prepared for them can make a world of a difference. I feel that a first aid kit all depends on the terrain that you will be in, your experience level, how many people, etc. The main essentials that you need for any kid though is included in this kit. A few extra things that I would personally add are personal medications such as inhalers, pain killers, teething tablets, etc. I would also make sure to have bandaids, alcohol wipes, and triple antibiotic ointment in hand at all times. Remember that you can use your hand sanitizer as a cleaner as well. In all reality you don't need a lot. Many of the items in our environment or even in your pack can be used as first aid as well. If you want to learn more about first aid you may want to take a small first aid course where you live at or even online.
13. EXTRA ITEMS FOR HIKING WITH BABIES
Here are a few extra items that you may or may not want. I find them to be beneficial depending on the weather, location, etc.
- A fan: This can really help during the hot summer days. Having a little fan clipped to your pack or your Ergo straps can really help you and your baby stay cool. I really like this Opolar Handheld Rechargeable Fan. It is compact, easy to use, and I love that it is rechargeable. You can charge it even in your car while you are on your way to the hike.
- GoTenna Mesh: I absolutely love having the GoTenna Mesh with me. If for some reason my husband and I have to split during our hike and I have no signal on my phone, all I have to do is turn on my GoTenna Mesh and then I'll be able to stay in touch with my husband or anyone else. This is very handy as well for emergency situations. You can read all about it here. To purchase you can use my link here and receive Free shipping.
- Walkie Talkies
LEAVE NO TRACE WHILE HIKING
It is important to always practice Leave No Trace Principles when hiking, or anywhere you go really. To recap very quickly, it is important to stay on the trail, pee 200 feet away from any water source, pack out what you packed in. You can read more details on how you can follow LNT principles here.
FREE HIKING WITH BABIES CHECKLIST
To go along with this Baby Hiking Essentials blog post, I have created a checklist to help you get ready before heading out to your day hike. This is completely free to you. You can download it when you sign up for our newsletter here. Once you subscribe you will get a confirmation email and a welcome email after that with the password for you to access the Resource Library. The Resource Library has a free 21 page Camping Planner as well just for signing up.
SUMMARY OF BABY HIKING ESSENTIALS
Well I hope this post has helped give you some guidance for your next baby hiking trip. It is truly a remarkable experience to be able to hike with your little ones no matter how little they are.
Have you used any of these items on your packing trips? What other items would you add to this list that you find to be essential? I would love to hear what you have to say. Let me know in the comments section.
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