7 Tips for better family hiking

7 Tips for Better Family Hiking

Posted by Kim Williams.
First Published Oct 2019; updated Jun 2023.

Hiking can often be a challenging experience. Following these 7 easy steps can not only cut short any unwanted mistakes but also help revitalize your body and your soul, thus contributing to an overall memorable experience. Happy Hiking!

Kim, from Outdooren, provides some tips on making those family days out hiking more memorable.

The wonders of nature and the breathtaking scenic beauty that a person experiences while hiking is like no other.

Besides being an excellent full-body workout, it also tends to fuel up and energise our minds with the help of mother nature.

More people are choosing hiking as a means of escaping from daily life, and for seeking peace amid the stressful lifestyle that they live in. It's a great way to get the whole family together, and reconnect, without the distractions of work, school, and gadgets!

It's a great way to get the whole family together

Hiking delivers a beautiful and joyful experience to revive souls and re-energise minds for a healthy and better performance in daily life activities. I'm sure you wouldn't want to sour that feeling of rejuvenation with blistering feet, sunburns, injuries, or any other unwanted miss happenings to you or your kids.

So, here are seven easy steps that you can follow to avoid any such situation, and make your walk-in-the-nature experience heart-warming and memorable.

1. Carry Nutritious Food and Water that Stays Sufficient for a Full Day Hike

Considering a normal 6-hour hike, a full-grown adult could require nearly 3000 calories and up to 6 to 8 litres of water. So make sure you are carrying sufficient nutrition, carbs, and hydration to maintain your energy level and help with easy recovery at breakpoints while hiking.  As we all know, kids will need that energy boost of snacks more frequently....and the thought of the next snack could motivate them more.

Best would be to carry trail mix, ready-to-eat meals, sandwiches, vegetables, fruits, or any other non-perishable food item that is rich in calories, nutritive content, and easy-to-digest.

Eating the Wayfayrer Chocolate Pudding

Eating a ready meal that can be used for long hikes. This one is the Wayfayrer Chocolate Pudding!

2. Keep A Check On Weather, Geography, and Landscape before you Backpack for Hiking

You need to keep a check of the landscape, geography, and weather conditions, especially a day or two before the date.

Prior information on the weather condition, landscape, scenic view, and approachability can help you prepare your list of necessary clothes and equipment you may need for the trip in advance and avoid any mistakes. You might want to add some emergency shelter to cope with the occasionally surprising showers, just in case!

Using our emergency shelter

Gav: We did this recently, and used our emergency shelter as a windbreak while we stopped for lunch

3. Complement the Challenging Climate and Terrain with Appropriate Gear, Clothes, Socks, and Shoes

Make sure you have the correct gear, clothing, and the right combination of socks and shoes for a successful hike. Keep in mind the terrain that you are visiting and gear up accordingly.

Carry sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, flashlights, first-aid kit, maps, compass, GPS navigation, and additional utilities such as safety matches.

A hiking essentials emergency kit

(See this article for creating your family's emergency kit.)

4. Create an Easy-to-Follow Plan for your Hike and Stick to It

You need a workable, easy-to-follow plan along with smart execution to make the hiking worth it. You would want to select your route and trail, decide your stoppages and checkpoints and make sure until and unless required, you won't make changes to your plans under any circumstances.

No matter if you have already enjoyed your share of hiking trips and no matter how experienced you are, you need to prepare for the worst-case scenarios and plan accordingly.

Using OS Maps app

Gav: We use the OS Maps app to plan our hikes.

5. Prepare Yourself For Challenges and Endurance

If you are planning on taking your family on a long hike, it can often be challenging, and you need to prepare yourself well physically beforehand. Remember, as parents, you'll be carrying gear for yourselves and your kids.

You will need to strengthen your core and stability muscles to cope with uneven terrain and to avoid tripping and falling during the walk.

Incorporate habits that help build up stamina and endurance, such as frequent walks. Regular training for strength, endurance and balance can help in coping up with the unavoidable mistakes and misjudgments that you may come across while hiking, so conditions yourself well and make sure you are fit and up for the challenge.

6. Research About the Area for any Unexpected Dangers

Plan your route carefully, especially when taking the kids.

Fortunately, in the UK, we don't have to worry about bears and other creatures. But a hike that takes you onto busy roads, by cliff edges, or fast-moving water you might want to avoid, depending on the ages of your kids, of course.

Gav: The visualisation features in OS Maps really help with this.

The OS Maps fly-through

The OS Maps fly-through shows you the route in 3D.

The 3D tabletop map locked into position

You can see a 3D model of the route onto a tabletop, you can walk around your table to examine the route from all angles.

7. Remember the Golden Rule of Hiking

We want everyone to enjoy nature and hiking, so remember the golden rule - 'Leave No Trace'.

remember the golden rule - 'Leave No Trace'

You may leave a trail of footsteps along the path, but consider not disturbing the environment.

Carry an extra bag as a waste bin so that you don't litter up the trail for upcoming hikers or your upcoming future hikes. Last but not least, don't harm any living being, whether a plant or an animal.