SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Backpacker Magazine – September 2001

Take Your Family Outdoors

Camping with kids can plant a wild seed in them that will grow as they do-but only if you get them Out There.

by: Alan Kesselheim


12 to 18 Years

Trail-tested tips

Child's Play
Gear and tips for kids only.
arrowInfant to 2 years
arrow2 to 6 years
arrow6 to 12 years
arrow12 to 18 years
  • Let the big kids hike ahead. Teenagers have more energy than you do, and need personal space. If it's safe, allow them to hike at their own pace. Use trail junctions, water crossings, and other landmarks for meeting points. Bring a buddy. A teen who takes a friend along has a good shot at having fun in the wilderness.
  • Keep birds of a feather together. For groups with more than one teen, have the teens pack their own tent and set it up far enough away that they don't keep you up all night.
    Photo by Gordon Wiltsie


  • Fuel the flock. Growing teenagers-especially boys-need to eat a lot and often. Stuff their pockets with trail mix and energy bars so you don't have a feeding frenzy at every meal.
  • Teach, don't do. Kids age 12 and older are ready to learn backpacking skills and chores. Teach them how to use a compass, pick a campsite, work the stove, hang the bear bag, clean the water filter, and so on.
  • Plan lots of free time. Physically, teens may be capable of hiking all day, but that doesn't mean it's good for them. Throw in a deck of cards, Hacky Sack, or Frisbee. Bring a field book and make a contest out of identifying plants. Allow time for swimming, snowball fights, writing in journals, and sketching.
  • Don't skimp on gear. Many teens are able to carry an adult-size load, and it's unfair to ask them to do it with a child-size pack.
  • Lead by example. It won't be long before these kids will be backpacking on their own. It's up to you to teach them low-impact camping techniques and respect for the wilderness.
Gear
Like everything in a teenager's life, finding the right backpacking gear is more complicated than you might expect. In some ways, they're young adults who can use grown-up gear, but in other respects, they're still youngsters. In general, buy them adult products that are durable and adjustable in fit. You'll save money in the long run if big-ticket items like packs and sleeping bags don't have to be replaced again.

Boots. Teenagers' feet grow fast, so don't invest a lot of money in top-of-the-line boots that will be two sizes too small by the time they're broken in. For three-season hiking, choose lightweight footwear with adequate ankle support. If you plan on-trail hikes only, durable sneakers may be adequate.

Raingear. Buy good rain protection, or else you may have a wet, unhappy, and possibly hypothermic teen on your hands. That said, a good old-fashioned rain slicker can keep a growing kid dry without breaking the bank.

Packs. Don't borrow Uncle Earl's old pack, and don't stretch out another season with that pack you bought your daughter when she was 9. Several manufacturers, including Kelty, REI, and L.L. Bean, make youth internal and external frame packs, or you might be able to fit your teen into a women's size small pack.

Base layers. Teens can wear the same clothing you do. Perfect fit and costly technical features aren't necessary, but it's important that layers keep your teen warm and dry.

Resources Jack Wolfskin, (888) 378-9653; www.wolfskin.com
Kamik, (800) 341-3950; www.kamik.com
Kelty, (800) 423-2320; www.kelty.com
Leki USA, (800) 255-9982; www.leki.com
L.L. Bean, (800) 809-7057; www.llbean.com
Madden Mountaineering, (303) 442-5828; www.maddenusa.com
Molehill Mountain Equipment, (800) 804-0820; www.molehillmtn.com
Patagonia, (800) 638-6464; www.patagonia.com
Painter Outdoor Gear, (888) 714-4888; www.trailinks.com
REI, (800) 426-4840; www.rei.com
Timberland, (800) 445-5545; www.timberland.com
Tough Traveler, (800) 468-6844; www.toughtraveler.com



Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip:
Email (req):
Reader Rating: -

READERS COMMENTS

Star Star Star Star Star
Trekking in Nepal
Mar 01, 2013

Acute Trek Pvt Ltd http://www.trekshimalaya.com an indoor outdoor trekking and tours operative takes you that further way to guarantee you has an unforgettable http://www.adventurestrekking.com adventure that you have been dream of. Whether you are looking for a quiet gateway, a memorable http://www.hikingsinnepal.blogspot.com outing with a family or an exciting nature adventure. We, Acute Trek Pvt Ltd are here to offer you with the best progressive information and itinerary leading focused and modified as per your requirements. Acute trek is an attempt to encourage Nepal to the exterior world while striving to defend an aged tradition as well as conserve the surroundings for generation to come.

ADD A COMMENT

Your rating:
Your Name:

Comment:

My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

The Political Arena
Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 Shot Down
Posted On: Jul 22, 2014
Submitted By: High_Sierra_Fan
Gear
Gear you once poo-pooed but now love?
Posted On: Jul 22, 2014
Submitted By: Ben2World

Go
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site MyRockyMountainPark.com.

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions