With the right preparation, hiking can be an outdoor activity that’s fun for the whole family. Here’s what to consider before hitting trails with your kids.

Many people lay their outdoor adventures to rest once they have children. But once your kids reach an appropriate age, you can rekindle your passion for escapades through nature. Of course, there are a few things to consider before hiking with kids to ensure a smooth time. With adequate preparation, hiking can be a rich bonding experience for the whole family.

Safety First

As with any outdoor adventure, safety is always first for hiking trips. Toss an extra water bottle in your pack (in case your kids forget to ration theirs throughout the hike), ample snacks, and a couple of antibiotic wipes and bandages, in case anyone scrapes themselves along the way.

Losing your child on a hike is a scary thought. Whistles are a great tool for finding one another on the trails. Tell your child to blow their whistle a few times if they get separated from you on the hike.

Be Mindful Of the Hike’s Intensity

Before heading out to a hiking trail, look into its intensity. This is one of the best things to consider before hiking with kids, as it’ll give you a better idea of which hikes are practical for children. If a trail’s incline is steep, or the terrain is tricky, it’s likely not the safest choice for your children.

Nowadays, you can find reviews for nature trails when you search them online. Hiking aficionados have even developed apps for folks to rate hiking trails and their difficulty levels. You can sort through reviews to find family-friendly nature spots.

Dress Them for Success

If you’ve hiked before, you know how important a comfy and reliable pair of shoes is. A well-cushioned pair of gym shoes can do the job for a kid-friendly hike, but get your child a pair of hiking boots for more difficult trails.

You’ll also want to confirm that the pack they bring for snacks and a jacket is comfortable enough for the journey, in addition to your own. Review these backpack safety tips for parents to know to ensure you use the proper gear.