The CamelBak Kid’s Mini Mule is what my kids use most often for day hikes. It carries 1.5L of water and has enough room for a couple snacks. The limited room prevents kids from packing unnecessary items which can be challenge with younger children. When my children do need a bigger pack, however, they use their Deuter Junior Daypack or Deuter Kikki Daypack. I can easily transfer the Mini mule bladder into these packs and there is still plenty of room for extras which might be necessary for longer hikes or for travel.
For spring, summer and fall the MEC Yeti Hooded Jacket and the MEC Reflective Rain Jacket keep my kids warm and dry. Even if the day seems warm and clear at home we always bring outerwear with us (at least in our vehicle). Higher altitudes hikes can be surprisingly cooler and you never know when a storm might be on its way.
My kids love their Keen sandals for everyday wear but for hiking on trails a hiking shoe is more comfortable and safe. However, finding good hiking shoes for your child can be an adventure in itself! There are several good options out there but foot shape and size really affect the overall fit. My son wears the Salomon Mid-Hikers and they are durable and easy to put on. They are also ideal for children with wider feet. My daughter has a pair of Vasque Hikers that are comfortable and well made. She use to wear a pair of Keen Koven Mid-Hikers but we found them frustratingly difficult to get on!
A brimmed hat is vital for sun protection. We have several brimmed hats in our hat collection but the Twinklebelle Grow-With-Me Sun Hat and the MEC sombrero are currently our favourites hats. The Twinklebelle Sun Hat is lightweight, made of breathable cotton and adjustable. The MEC sombrero is made of nylon and adjustable as well. My kids find the sombrero uncomfortable on very hot (35+C) days but it provide excellent protection from the sun.
Each of my kids’ daypack is also equipped with a whistle and survival blanket. They received these items after completing the Hug-A-Tree and Survive program. These simple items and knowledge of how to use them can keep children safe if they become lost. It’s never to early to teach kids about wilderness survival!
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