Nuggets of knowledge from those who have brought their youngsters into the backcountry.
- Clean sweep. Use an unscented baby wipe to wash away grime before and after meals, and to clean little hands after a potty break. Available in small and large plastic carriers, these always-ready washcloths are indispensable, especially in environments where water is scarce.
- Upgrade the first-aid kit. With kids in the picture, you'll need to adjust the contents of your first-aid kit. Bring children's acetaminophen or ibuprofen, aloe vera gel for soothing sunburn and other skin irritations, and stock up on twice as many adhesive bandages. Eyewash is also a good idea for the twigs that slap kids in the face or the mud that gets in the eye. A good tweezers to pull out the inevitable splinters, cactus spines, and ticks is a must.
- Safety first! Research the access points and safety resources in the area you plan to hike, and program in the flexibility to go to a Plan B itinerary if things don't go exactly as planned.
- Hire a Sherpa. No matter how light they try to go, parents always pack a heavy load. Recruit an adult friend to share the burden, but make sure you feed him or her well.