I hike with my kids more than I hike alone. My younger three all look forward to hiking and enjoy it immensely. We bring snacks and often ask friends to come along to make our time outside even more enjoyable. (Notice how I said younger 3?! My oldest daughter complains every time I say we are going on a hike. As soon as we are on the hike she enjoys it but when we get home she says she was miserable. Tweens!)
A few years ago we invested in Camelbak day packs for each of our kids. They have been a wonderful addition to our hiking gear. This is the pack we purchased for each of them: CamelBak Mini M.U.L.E. Kids Hydration Backpack, 50 oz.They cost around $50 a piece and have been worth the investment for our family. We use them every single hike and have had them for years. I can’t tell you how amazing it is to not carry the water and snacks for all of them. Plus, we don’t have to stop every time someone needs a drink. Which is a huge bonus when hiking with kids. Everyone is able to drink while they hike. If someone wants a snack while they hike no problem, they just pull one out of their pack and eat while they hike. I’m not stopping, taking off my pack and searching through all my snacks to find something they like. It really is glorious! It’s the little things that add up to a smooth and enjoyable experience when hiking with kids.
These packs are one of the best ways to alleviate the stress and strain of hiking with your kids. They are lightweight, compact, and will hold 50 fl oz (1.5 L) of water for them to get drinks as they need. It does not have a hip belt but has contoured, padded shoulder straps with a chest strap that easily adjusts to your child’s changing size. All four of my kids (ages 11, 9, 6, 3) wear the exact same pack. It’s lightweight with a built-in safety whistle, extra storage pockets, and reflective accents for visibility in low-light environments.
I love our packs and highly recommend them.