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Backpacker Magazine – February 2007

Family Camping: Tips & Stats

How many miles, and how heavy a pack, can your kid handle? Plus, big tents, first aid, and newbie adults.

by: Kristin Hostetter

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First Aid Augment your regular backpacking kit with these must-haves for kids:
  • children's or infants' acetaminophen (Tylenol) and/or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). Ask your pediatrician for sample packs.*
  • liquid antihistamine*
  • epinephrine pen (if your child has allergies)
  • lots of adhesive bandages (especially Batman/Dora the Explorer/insert favorite character here)
  • calamine lotion and an after-bug-bite treatment
  • tweezers to remove splinters, ticks, or cactus needles
*know age/weight-appropriate dosages before you go

Pack plenty of antibacterial baby wipes–the easiest way to wash hands before a meal or after playing with bugs.

Timeless advice for grown-up newbies
What if good old Uncle Norman decides to join the family camping trip? Follow these tips to ensure that his camping experience is comfortable and stress-free.

Go luxe A cushy sleeping pad, plump pillow, and camp chair are must-haves for virgin campers.

Jettison the jeans Check his personal gear–replacing his cotton tees and white sports socks–and make sure his boots are properly broken in.

Go gourmet Other meals can be simple, but make the adults' supper memorable. Try a pesto-and-sun-dried tomato pizza, penne à la vodka, and something chocolatey for dessert.

Spread Cheer If he's the type who likes a nip or two, bring along a flask of his favorite single malt or a bottle of Rioja.

Easy does it Even if he's a tough guy, make sure his pack is light and the trail is mellow.

Build pre-trip excitement Find scenic, enticing images online or in this magazine to get him salivating. If he's an avid angler, give him a topo with good fishing holes highlighted; if he's a wildflower or wildlife nut, buy him a location-specific field guide.

PAGE 1 2

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Reader Rating: -


May 23, 2012

My 4 year old is averaging over 10 miles a day in Colorado with an Osprey Jet pack, Big Agnes Little Red sleeping bag, NeoAir, headlamp and two 16 oz Nalgenes. Plus, He's the one that wants to keep going when we need breaks. I think he just blew your stats out of the water.

Patty Delto
Jun 19, 2010

Hi! I've seen the famous Big Agnes Big House 4 about 2 month back. Impressive, I liked it and so did my Dad. About the kids part and how much they can handle? We, three girls, where out camping with Mom and Dad a lot back then. We never carried anything we dind't want to. We loved it and still do.
We got a site just like yours over at, move on over and say Hi if you want!
Patty D.


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