Hiking with a baby turns a little day trip into a bit of a logistical mission. Every trip is like a mini backcountry adventure, requiring planning and some attention to detail. Our little pumpkin needs to be:
– Warm and dry
– Fed and watered
Babywearing in the outdoors requires one to slow down and make sure every foot step is sound. It is an extra challenge to remain mindful of the precious package. Keeping to the easy trails and just focusing on everyone having a good time has been the key for us.
The fundamentals for keeping the baby warm and dry are pretty much the same as for big people; careful use of layers, avoiding over-exertion, and constant monitoring for wet and cold. Don’t over-exert, because it isn’t just you that will get sweaty and cold. So far we’ve found babywearing with a soft carrier works a lot better than a rigid carrier. The close contact really helps keep our little one warm. Cold little hands and feet have been the main thing to watch for. When we stop and the little one comes out of the carrier to play around, she can get cold in a hurry – be ready with a warm layer!
We have yet to do any multi-day trips with our little one. I can’t imagine that she would put up with oatmeal and dried food! We’ll give it a go soon, maybe with a little hut trip. Carrying a load of fresh food into the hills should be a good workout! So far, all that has been required is a nice lunch and some snacks, which is not really much different than any outing around town.
With a toddler, making sure we all have fun is a matter of planning. There needs to be a stop or two on the way where everyone can hang out for a while and the baby can move around. We’ve found that back-carrying works well and we can usually get a good long nap and make a lot of ground. If there is just not enough to look at, and singing songs and playing games won’t cut it, our little one can get restless and want out. This is when it gets hard to make sure everyone is having fun. Sometimes the only solution is a good long halt. Sometimes only mom will do, and she’ll settle down again if she’s snuggled into her mom.
We’ve had really good luck with some of the local hikes around Vancouver. There are some hidden gems in the rainforest that don’t require a lot of driving, like Brother’s Creek, Lawson Creek, and White Lake that make a nice counterpoint to staples such as Mt Seymour, Grouse Mountain or the Eagle Bluffs. On Remembrance Day we saw a couple on the trail with two small babies and a toddler, making pretty fast work hiking up Lawson Creek. Inspiring stuff, for sure!
Anyhow, we’re in the early days of this adventure, and hoping to work our way into the backcountry again! Trisha built her prototype baby carrier cover for herself, to enable us to do the things we like to do and keep our little bundle warm and dry. Please take a look, as we use it all the time, whether in the city or in the woods.