Children can often manage more than we think, and sometimes they have almost endless energy. With the right preparation, you can have a wonderful experience together. Here are our best tips for hiking with children.
If you are hiking with a child who is younger than one year of age, it is advisable to carry a baby harness on your stomach. For children above one year, up to about 15-20 kilos, a child carrier is recommended on the back. Then it may be a little trickier with a backpack so a partner may need to carry more of the equipment. Remember to keep track of the child’s body temperature, as they are sitting still. When the children are older than five, they usually manage to hike themselves, about one to fifteen kilometres depending on age and mood.
Before heading out on a tour, have a clear picture of where to go, how far you should go, what you will see along the way and tell the children what they can expect from the excursion. The right equipment is important to make the hike comfortable. Up here in the North, the weather is changing rapidly so be sure to dress the kids in layers. They should also have comfortable shoes that do not cause blisters and their own small backpack with light packing. Rain protection, mosquito repellent, first aid kit and water bottle should always be packed with you.
When hiking with children, we recommend a slower pace and many breaks. Embrace your inner child and approach the hike from your children’s point of view. Take time to discover nature instead of making kilometres. Being in nature also gives time for fun learning. Maybe together you can develop your wilderness knowledge and learn more about the area’s flora and fauna. Keep your kids motivated by finding small intermediate goals that the kids can look forward to, maybe a nice viewpoint or a lake to swim in. Make the hike fun by playing along the way, Simon says and or Hide and Seek are two classics that always work.
In order to keep the children’s spirits up, it is important to replenish with energy. Snacks such as biscuits, nuts, chocolates or whatever the children like are an important way to make the walk enjoyable. Stop often and take a snack break. Feel free to find a nice place to stay, perhaps by a little stream where the children themselves can fill their bottle with water and keep the fluid balance in check. Do not forget to pack a plastic bag so you can take your waste with you.
If you are planning a longer trip with children then it is recommended to have a base camp, tent or cottage, to start from. If you have never walked with children before, we can suggest the following easier day trips:
Troll lake (Rissajávri)
Just the name sounds exciting! A valley of large boulders and a clear goal in sight, namely Sweden’s clearest lake. The hike is about 6 km easy path.
Midnight sun trail
An easier hike in the middle of Kiruna to experience the midnight sun. Through forest and up to a fantastic viewpoint. About 4.5 km.
Begins with a fun boat ride through the delta landscape, about 7 km up along the river. A wonderful hike back awaits!