**This post contains affiliate links for products used personally by our family. Any purchases made using these links will help generate an income for this blog so we can bring you better content in the future**
There are tons of reasons why you might find yourself wanting to go hiking solo with kids. In my case, my husband’s job occasionally requires him to leave for months on end. Instead of letting the loneliness take over my sense of adventure, I have learned to embrace it. Through my experiences I have found that there are a few things you should do before going to ensure the safety and happiness of everyone. Let’s dive in to these 5 tips for hiking solo with kids.
1. Build Up Your Children’s Hiking Skills
Before you hit any trails, you want to be sure your children are comfortable with hiking. It would not be a wise decision to take them on their very first hike without anyone there to help. Hiking with kids is not always easy and it can take some extra effort to convince smaller kids to trek through certain spots.
Take plenty of time to build up your kids endurance and skills with the help of a friend or family member before you take to the trails alone. If any part of hiking makes your child uncomfortable, you should not attempt hiking alone with them.
2. Research The Terrain
It is always essential to research the terrain before you head out on a hike. This is especially true when hiking solo with kids. You want to make sure you pick a trail that is well within your child’s skill level. Things to be mindful of are how long the trail is, elevation gain, and how popular the trail is.
The younger the kid, the shorter the distance you should aim to cover (unless you are comfortable with baby wearing). You don’t want to run the risk of them being too tired to complete the trail. Personally, I tend to stick to trails that we have completed before as a family so I know they can handle it.
It’s also important to make sure there aren’t any significant inclines on the trail you choose. Steep uphill treks could be too much for those little legs to handle. Finally, for more of a safety reason, I stick with trails that are popular and frequented by fellow hikers. This is more of a peace of mind thing. In case someone gets hurt, you will easily be able to ask for help.
3. Take Time To Prepare
If you read my post on tips for hiking with kids, you know that I take preparedness very seriously. As I mentioned before, hiking with kids is not always easy if you aren’t properly prepared.
The main thing to keep in mind is that your kids are kids. They are going to want to want to explore in leaves, chase butterflies, and maybe even play some games along the way. When planning your route and estimated time to complete, take into account the side adventures you will be on so you know you won’t get stuck in the woods after dark.
You also need to prepare for what you will wear and bring for the journey. The most important things to pack are tons of water and snacks. If you have a toddler or smaller child you plan on wearing, I highly recommend getting a hiking backpack like this one by Kelty. These packs are full of extra storage so your hands can stay free. If your child will be walking, make sure they are wearing proper hiking footwear like this option from KEEN. Having proper footwear is not only important to ensure safety, but also their comfort along the way (two very common themes in this post if you haven’t already noticed).
4. Let A Friend Know Your Plans
When venturing out into the wilderness alone (whether you are going with or without kids), it is important to let someone know your plans. Be sure to tell trusted friend or family member which trail you are going to, what car you are driving, and how long you plan on the hike taking. In the event something happens, you want to be sure someone knows you are out and when to expect you home.
For extra safety, there is an iPhone app called the Bugle app which allows you to file an itinerary of your hike. If you do not check back in at your estimated time, a notification will be sent to your emergency contact along with instructions on how you would like them to handle the situation. You can also carry a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) which will immediately send your exact location and an emergency alert to the proper authorities. For ideas on where to find a PLB, start here.
5. Bring Protection You Are Comfortable With
9 times out of 10, when you cross paths with other hikers they are nature enthusiasts like yourself who are just as excited to be outside. In the event you run into the 1 not well meaning person (or animal) it is important to have some form of protection. I know for a lot of people, the first thought that pops into their head when they hear the word protection is a gun. The truth is there are many other options out there so its up to you to choose which one you feel most comfortable with.
I choose to carry around a pepper spray like this and I always keep it in an easy accessible pocket. Another form of protection I love to bring along is my dog. She is the sweetest thing, but she’s also very protective of our family so I know we are safe if we ever encounter a person or animal that intends to inflict harm.
Have Fun Hiking Solo With Kids!
That wraps up my 5 tips for hiking solo with kids. These are all strategies that I personally implement and have worked well for me. I would love to hear about any hikes you have accomplished solo with your kids in the comments below. Also drop a comment if you think there is an important tip missing from this list.
As always, please share this post if you love what you’ve read or think a friend will love it. Don’t forget to follow me on social for fun behind the scenes action, tips, and adventures. To stay up to date on new posts, sign up for my email list below. From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for taking the time to read about our adventures out in Our Happy Place 🙂