If you love backpacking, trekking and exploring new lands – you don’t have to stop after having a baby! You can introduce your little one to backpacking and make a lifetime’s worth of precious memories together! Imagine the photos, experience, and introduction to great adventures for the first time?
It probably won’t be easy, but if you’re a pro at backpacking or going for the first time and have a baby to take with you, you need to prepare yourself adequately. Don’t be afraid of the great unknown and try to look at what’s ahead of you as a beautiful adventure!
In this article, we will go over the top 10 essentials you need for backpacking with a baby, a few points to consider before you go on your journey, recommend some backpacking gear to buy for you and your baby, and answer some frequently asked questions! So buckle up for the ride!
Top 10 Essentials You Need for Backpacking With Baby
Now, what are the top 10 essentials you absolutely need for backpacking with a baby? Remember you probably need a hiking backpack to hold everything and a baby carrier for hiking. Here is a comprehensive list of what you must bring on your next backpacking adventure:
Proper packs (+ one with a baby carrier)
The best-case scenario is two adults traveling with the baby. This allows for more storage space to bring items and take turns carrying the baby. You want to make sure that you buy durable packs with a waterproof liner. And have at least one pack that is a baby carrier.
You can find multiple baby carrier pack options online that are perfect for carrying your baby while you hike or trek with them. Choosing the right one depends on how often you will backpack with your family and how much you will carry on your expeditions.
Food is essential that both you and your baby need. Pack according to how long you plan to stay in the Great Outdoors. If your baby is breastfeeding and not eating any puree or solids yet – then that means you don’t have to pack any extra food for them.
Consider packing your food in a bear canister – especially if you’re going to be camping overnight to continue and finish your backpacking expedition. Bear canisters are the best way to store any food that is odorous and, therefore, may attract bears to the area. These canisters are also very difficult to open for bears. Since food is a necessity for humans, consider buying a bear canister before your next adventure.
Water is an essential thing you’ll need when going on a hike. You should aim to bring 1L per person (per day). On very sunny summer days, you will need more water to keep you, your partner, and your baby hydrated. Aim to bring water bottles with a sports top for easy access.
Extra set of clothes
When you’re out and about, it’s only natural that your clothes get dirty or wet. Bringing some essential extra clothes is important – especially if you are backpacking overnight and for more than one day.
Things you and your baby may need to additionally pack are – extra stuff sacks, socks, sock liners, underwear, base layer top and bottom, insulated top (if visiting higher and cold altitudes), hat, gloves, and camp shoes. It’s best to be prepared for anything nature throws at you!
If you are backpacking with your baby for the first time, you probably want to take as many photo memories as you possibly can! For this reason, electronics are not something you can forgo! Pack smart and know where you’ve stored your electronics.
Examples of what electronics you may need are your smartphones, (fully charged) portable charger, wires and cords (for your car), a headlamp or flashlights, extra batteries and a Satcom device.
Sleeping gear is essential if you are planning to camp out during your backpacking adventure. Prioritize what you need and systematically pack everything so that you don’t freak out in the middle of the camping ground later in the day.
The essentials you need for sleeping when camping out are the tent, sleeping bags, a blanket for each person, and sleeping pads for each person. Sleeping gear tends to be bulky and can take up a lot of space. So fold and utilize the space you have in your packs wisely. There are also multiple videos online on the right way to pack up sleeping gear that you can check out before starting yourself!
First aid items
This is in case of emergency but an essential all the same! You should pack any first aid items you may need and most importantly, what your baby may need. Anticipate everything and know that it’s better safe than sorry when you’re heading out into the great outdoors.
First aid items you should probably pack are a small quick guide with first aid tips and tricks, your baby’s meds (Baby Tylenol, Baby Motrin or Baby Advil in their container with a syringe. Benadryl for emergencies. Your adult meds like Tylenol, Advil, Benadryl, and Nyquil, assorted Band-Aids, travel-size Neosporin, gauze pads, gauze roll, alcohol wipes, Q-tips, Steri-strips, bug repellent, and bug nets.
Your baby probably goes through diapers pretty quickly. But you shouldn’t overpack. If need be, you can keep an extra few in the car, but in your backpack, only include about 4-5 per day that you are staying out in the wilderness.
What are some other essentials you need to include with your baby’s diaper kit? Remember to bring a dry bag, 4-5 diapers, dehydrated wipes, a changing pad, and an odor-proof bag to carry the disposables. And remember to pack 2-3 pacifiers and a teething toy, if needed with your baby’s items.
A list of essential emergency items you may need while you’re hiking? We got you covered! Keep a pocket in your pack for all the emergency items you may need.
Emergency items may include Ziploc bags, storm matches, extra lighter, gear ties, swiss army knife, whistle, candles, flashlight, extra batteries, ready-to-eat food (like granola bars and crackers), and bear spray. You never know when these emergency items can come in handy and save your life!
Experienced backpackers who venture out into the wilderness for multiple days and nights with their little one, know the importance of bringing a cooking system to get food going. It’s important to pack everything you need in terms of cooking gear if you will be staying for more than one night.
In a stuff sack, pack fuel, a mini stove, pot, pot stabilizer, a kitchen towel, spoons and forks for the adults and a baby spoon, cups, and small bowls for each person and clean up wipes or towels.
Things to Consider Before Backpacking With a Baby
How far will you travel?
Try to choose a hike that is not too far from your home. Chances are your baby probably hates sitting in cars for an extended period. So especially if this is the first hike, aim for a hiking spot within an hour or two of your home.
Introducing your little one to the beauty of the world is the main mission. So don’t feel embarrassed about not doing a full-out trek where you will be camping out for multiple nights. For your first backpacking trip, if you’re planning on hiking for about a mile and not spending the night under the stars – that’s perfectly okay. Get your baby used to the difference in scenery and introduce it slowly!
What age is the best to take your baby?
The best age to take your baby on a backpacking expedition is probably around six months. They won’t be a delicate newborns, will still be light, will be able to hold their heads up, and won’t be crawling or walking just yet.
This allows you to carry your baby on you without feeling weighed down after an hour of walking around. If your baby breastfeeds, you can ditch any formula or special food so it will be less to carry in your bags and on your person.
What will the weather be like?
For a first backpacking expedition, try to go when the sun isn’t too high and warm. Going in the spring or fall is the best bet. It may seem appropriate to go during summer days, but that can cause a lot of dehydration and will wear you and the baby down. Getting some fresh air and seeing flowers bloom during the spring or leaves changing color during the fall is a beautiful way to introduce nature to your little one!
Do you need toys?
Nature will be your baby’s playground! So do they really need toys during your backpacking adventure? It’s important to pack light, and yet most parents tend to overpack – because they want to be prepared for every type of situation. Be confident that you will find natural ways to entertain your baby while backpacking with them.
Try to ditch your baby’s toys while going on this adventure. But if you absolutely need to, maybe you can pack one of your baby’s favorite toys. Allow them first to experience the feel and views of nature. Let them touch different objects and textures. And revel in the awe and wonder on their small, perfect faces!
Backpacking Gear to Buy for Baby
Here you will find a list of the best baby-specific backpacking gear to consider buying before setting out on your adventure!
This sleeping bag is made especially for babies within the 6 to 18-month range. There are options for smaller or larger sizes, depending on the age and size of your baby! It can be used for outdoor as well as indoor use.
Baby Deedee’s Quilted Sleeping Bag for your baby is made with an innovative design that is water-resistant and allows your baby to go on adventures with you while remaining cozy and safe! It comes with removable sleeves which ensures your baby is comfortable in all types of environments
Made from premium, ultra-lightweight duvet material, this sleeping bag will envelop your little one in a luxurious cocoon. So rain or shine – spring or fall – your baby will be extra warm whenever and wherever!
If you’re taking your little one on a backpacking trip into the woods, you will need quality bug spray specifically made for babies. This bug spray by Babyganics is made with 100% natural essential oils and plant-derived ingredients. It comes with no DEET, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, artificial fragrances or dyes. Which means it’s perfectly safe to use on your baby’s body.
It will help keep bothersome mosquitoes, gnats, and flies away from your precious baby. With a non-greasy formula, you will love this organic bug spray and use it for all your backpacking adventures with your baby! With raving reviews and an inexpensive price, you won’t have to find bug spray for your little one anywhere else!
This option is especially great if you are planning to go backpacking with your baby in the fall time with slightly cold weather or if you are camping out overnight. These Sherpa booties are made from 100% polyester and have the ultimate fleece lining to keep your baby’s feet nice and cozy for your entire trip. They come in 25 different styles and colours to suit your taste. With a full 5 star rating, you will not be disappointed in these baby faux Sherpa booties!
FAQs About Backpacking With a Baby
Q: When can you take a baby backpacking?
The ideal age to take your baby backpacking is 6 to 14 months. This is an age where they won’t be walking around (or running) as much and will be content sitting in your back or front carrier. Baby carriers are safe to start using when your baby can sit up on their own and can hold their neck up.
Q: Is hiking with a baby safe?
Hiking with a baby under 2-3 months is not a great idea because they are unable to hold their neck up for support and may get cranky easily for feeding. Even if you have a front carrier, if your infant is not used to the confinement of a carrier, they may get fussy after a short while of hiking. So aim to wait for the 6-month mark, when your baby will be able to sit up and be more interested in taking in their surroundings.
Q: Can I take my baby to the mountains?
Generally, if your baby is over 3 months of age, they will have approximately the same tolerance for high altitudes as you do. Babies under the 3-month mark do not have strong enough lungs to handle the altitude stress. So it’s recommended that you wait a few months after the baby is born to start your backpacking trips into the woods and mountains!
Backpacking with your baby is such a wonderful way of introducing your little one to the wonders and beauty of nature. The perfect age to show your baby and still fully enjoy the experience is around 6-12 months before they start walking.
It can be intimidating to think about taking a baby on your outdoor travels and you may feel like you won’t be fully prepared. But if this is something you and your partner or friends enjoy doing, there is no reason you can’t continue enjoying doing it with your baby as well!
In this article, we highlighted the top 10 essentials you will need for backpacking with a baby, things to consider before taking your little one backpacking, recommended some baby-specific backpacking gear, and answered some FAQs!
Hopefully, this article has inspired you to get in some adventure time with your little bundle of joy, and know that there are so many precious firsts and memories to come from your great backpacking expeditions! Happy travels and stay confident in the decisions you make!