My family and I were hiking on our property the other day, and while I carry a pretty big backpack I quickly came to realize it wasn’t holding everything my little explorers needed. Now I am pretty seasoned when it comes to packing for my wild ones and I for a day outside. You see, for a few years, my kids were enrolled in a nature school program, where I was also one of the facilitators. We learned and played outside for one or two days a week, YEAR ROUND, in Colorado.
Since we now walk out the door for our short walks in the woods, we aren’t bringing all of our exploration gear. But short walks start to turn into long walks, or we see something extra special and I realize it’s important to bring our stuff every. time. Back to my pack mule days!
So I want to share my list with you of all the gear I bring along for one of our EDventures.
- a good heavy duty backpack. With lots of pockets. And water bottle holders. And carabineers. I had a normal Eddie Bauer one but quickly outgrew that and got a much larger one as a Christmas present. Mine even has a rain flap that covers my entire pack. You wouldn’t believe how many times that has saved our stuff as we’ve hiked in down-pouring rain. The blue backpack in the pic below is the one I use.
- a small backpack for your kids. My kids enjoy bringing their own backpack and packing their own snacks and items, plus it also helps my pack load.
- Proper seasonal clothing. I’ll post more specifics at another time but I find I always need extra socks, pants, shirts, and a zip up fleece hoodie or jacket (good for all seasons). This includes hats, sunglasses, etc.
- a first aid kit. What to keep in your first aid could make for it’s own post, but make sure you have the essentials (which usually come in a pre-bought kit). I also add my own items, like essential oils, colloidal silver, homemade hand sanitizer, etc.
- Kleenex and or wipes. I also keep a moist washcloth in a plastic bag for wiping hands and in the event we come across poision ivy
- sunscreen and bug spray
- Water and snacks of course. We don’t get far or even home, for that matter, if we don’t have a gagillion snacks.
- Plastic bag: for dirty or wet clothes, or trash
- treasure box or bag: kids love to bring home all the things they find. I like the brown bags with handles. My kids like decorating these and I can clip the handles to their backpacks with a carabineer.
Exploration Accessories: These are things I like to bring but are not necessarily essential to a hiking adventure, but they do have lots of value and make for a really fun outing
- magnifying glass
- bug jars or holders
- a net for catching bugs
- bucket and shovel
- kid play tongs or large tweezers for them to pick up stuff that shouldn’t be touched
- rope or string
- measuring tape (we like the flexible roll-up kind): we use this a lot for measuring tracks, but we have found that it’s good for making spider webs in the trees, a bridge for small insects to cross, etc. This is what I love about sitting back and letting kids come up with countless, imaginative ways to use something.
- nature journal and art supplies: it wouldn’t be an adventure at all if my daughter didn’t have some sort of art media. Plus it’s really important for kids to document all that they’ve seen and discovered. We have a small pouch that we keep colored pencils, watercolors, scissors, tape, glue, etc. in.
- sticky roll (like those to get pet hair off)- we use these primarily for tick protection
- field guides
- camera: When we attended nature school, we used a class polaroid camera. The kids loved it so I’m hoping to add that to our nature pack but for now we just use my phone and I let my kids take some pictures
- small foldable blanket
- books: no matter what you’re reading, it’s just nice to sit under a tree and read together
- whistle or walkie-talkies
- sometimes we like bringing a hand-held recorder to record bird sounds and it helps kids get quiet for a short moment
I will also carry more items for specific projects and activities but this list is a great start of items to bring along on your next outdoor outing.
Enjoy the EDventure!