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Tuesdays Tip of the Day: Hiking Essentials for Tykes


There are A LOT of products out there geared towards hiking for adults and tykes. The selection of backpacks, hydration products, hiking boots and everything in between is insurmountable. I don’t even want to begin to list them.

There are items that are pretty necessary for hiking and then there are the items we splurge on for the sake of convenience or it adds an element of fun to our hiking trip.

When it comes to our tykes and the gear they need it’s pretty simple. If you are willing to be the sherpa and carry everything then your tykes won’t need much. If you want them to pull their own weight, so to speak, or learn to carry a pack themselves then they will need some gear.



Hiking Essentials for Tykes


1. Sun hat and sunglasses (including infants) and sunscreen. The Sun Runner Hat is by far my favorite hat for J-Man. Our go to sunglasses are by Julbo. They make infant and toddler sunglasses, as well as, adults. J-Man is currently wearing the Solan sunglasses. Here is a review on the Boolba sunglasses.

2. Comfortable backpack suited for their size. Make sure your tykes backpack fit’s their body. It’s quite uncomfortable to wear a pack that is too big with empty space and even more uncomfortable to wear a pack that is too small. Rubbing, chaffing and digging into your tykes shoulders and arms could occur. Here are a couple packs that J-Man uses…Deuter Junior, Deuter Ultra Bike (perfect for hiking or biking) and Camelbak Mini-M.U.L.E.(has a hydration bladder).

3. Water bottle or hydration reservoir . We prefer the hydration reservoir. It’s hands-free, fits in J-Man’s backpack and makes it easy for him to drink water. There is no hassle to stop and retrieve a water bottle.

4. Comfortable and supportive shoes/boots. Their is nothing like trying to hike with sore feet and if your tykes feet get uncomfortable they will definitely let you know and they probably won’t stop whining and complaining until you are back at the car. I can hear it now… not the way you want to end a hike. Here a a few reviews on some great hiking shoes: Alamosa WP, NoPo Mid WP and Total Terrain.

5. Whistle. Attach a whistle on your tykes backpack or an item of clothing. Instruct them that the whistle is for emergencies only. A whistle is an easy lightweight item that can come in handy if you or your tyke gets lost. Whistle like this one.

6. If your bringing along an  infant you’ll need a sling, front carrier or backpack carrier depending on their age. Here are my carriers of choice: Moby Wrap,  Belle Baby Carriers , ERGObaby, Deuter Kid Comfort III and Deuter Kid Comfort II .

That’s it. Not a lot is needed to hit the trail with your tykes.

If you want to splurge on some items for fun or convenience go for it. Here are a handful of hiking extras:

1. Camera

2. Trekking poles

3. Hiking journal

4. Magnify glass

5. Binoculars



What items are necessary when you go hiking with your tykes? What do you splurge on?




  1. This post was well-timed for our family, as we are thinking about getting C his own pack for Christmas, so thanks for the recommendations! I also like the idea of a whistle – was it hard to “train” J-man to only use it in emergencies?

    • Yay! Glad it was helpful. A whistle is always hard to refrain from blowing for any tyke, I think. What we do is let J-Man blow it loud and long for a few minutes before we start the hike to get it out of his system. In the beginning he treated it like a toy and would blow it often. I had to constantly remind him it is not a toy and a ‘tool’ for emergencies only.

  2. My 8-year-old also wears a compass around his neck whenever we go hiking.

  3. Nice hiking tips for kids, I completely agree with your suggestions. Sun glasses, sunscreen and hat are very necessary for kids at the time of hiking. Hiking helps in making kids strong and tough. And as parents it is your responsibility to give them proper protection.

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