Carrying Their Own Weight: Kids Backpack

When you set out on a family hiking trip, have your kids backpack in their own supplies. It's important to make sure that everyone pulls their own weight. Of course, you'll want to vary the weight carried according to different parameters, including age, weight, gender, and athletic ability, but the premise is the same regardless. Backpacking is unique among other sports; much of the satisfaction comes from the sensation of self-sustenance out of doors. When your little guy or girl straps on a toddler backpack, he or she likely isn't making much of a dent in the total weight carried by the family as a whole. The important thing is that they'll feel included and important. No one gets a free pass, and you'll probably find that no one actually wants one.

Toddler Sized Backpacks

There are a number of toddler sized backpacks on the market, and your best bet is to head into your local store to try out different sizes and styles. Of course, you'll want to take your child with you. It's a good idea to involve him or her in the process. A little thing like letting your kid choose the color of the backpack can go a long way to making him feel like an important part of the team. Some of the larger outdoor retailers may even have a specialist to assist you in your selection.

Test Drive your Kids Backpack

Now that you have your child's backpack all picked out, it's time to take it out on a test run. Head to the hills for a dayhike, carrying only what's necessary for the few hours you'll spend out of doors. That can be as little as a bit of food, water, and an extra layer. Again, it's not so much the weight that's important; what's crucial is getting your child used to the idea of backpacking in his or her own supplies.

Working Out Without Knowing It

Carrying a backpack is also great exercise. It's been proven that hiking is one of the most effective ways to lose weight, and when you add a few pounds onto your kid's load, you'll have the recipe for instantly shaving pounds off their midsection (or helping them get in better shape if no weight loss is needed.) Best of all, it won't even seem like they're working out!

All Work and No Play...

Of course, it shouldn't all be hard work for the little ones. Make sure to include some toys to keep them occupied. These should be lightweight items that cram a lot of entertainment into a small package. Stuffed animals are fantastic for short trips, because they take up a lot of space, making your kids feel like they're accomplishing something. Kids often don't make the connection between mass and volume, so this is a wonderful way to "trick" them. Keeping your chlidren happy on the trail should be at the top of your list of priorities. For older kids, a frisbee is a wonderful thing to bring along: lightweight, thin, and tons of fun.

Choosing a kids backpack is an important step on the way to turning your young one on to all of the joys of backpacking. Getting them started early is huge. These formative experiences will pave the way for a fulfilling life spent outdoors.

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