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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 the Numbers
How much can your child handle?

Age Pack weight* Mileage Beta
3-4 years nada 1 mile or so The ultimate exercise in patience
5-6 years 5 lbs. 2-4 miles Expect lots of rest stops
7-11 years 10-20% of body weight 5-7 miles Keep the candy handy
12 years and older 20-25% of body weight Up to 7 miles They can physically hike more miles, but keep it mellow. You want them to have fun right?

*These numbers can vary greatly, depending on terrain and the child’s stamina and energy level.

The Big Top
Invest in a family-size tent

Bunkroom, portable playroom, dressing room, bug and rain refuge. It’s impossible to over-emphasize the beauty of a big, comfortable, weatherworthy tent. A good bet: the Big Agnes Big House 4. It’s roomy enough for two adults plus three little kids (or two big ones), yet light enough to haul into the backcountry (10 lbs. 8 oz) when split between two adults. Plenty of mesh keeps things cool, two doors ensure ample access, and a built-in welcome mat reminds kids to leave muddy boots at the door. The three-pole configuration is easy to set up and results in a palatial 5 3/4 feet of headroom.

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