Backpacking with toddlers can be a great way to bring the family together. Toddlers are surrounded by their favourite toys : rocks, water, sticks and dirt. I mean it is pretty much heaven for litle ones. We recently went on a really fun backcountry trip with our two daughters aged 2 and 4. We enjoyed mountain views, glacier water, a sandy beach and a peaceful night in the the woods. Lindemand Lake, BC combined adventure, beautiful views and was relatively easy for our family to complete.
Backpacking with Toddlers: Enjoy the backcountry with your littles
Lindeman Lake was not our first backcountry trip with kids. We actually did another backcountry with our first daughter when she was one. But… our last backcountry trip did not end that great since I was leaving all the food I had eaten on the trip on the 20 km of trail. Vommiting and shaking is not ideal when you are trying to escape the woods to get back to your vehicle. Read about our Tips for Backcountry Hiking with a Baby to make sure your family stays safe on the trail. This time, I was looking for a hike that would be alot shorter and hopefully less scary as a family.
Packing and sorting out all the gear for two eating toddlers that were no longer breastfeeding was more challenging than taking one baby that ate only a little bit and survived mostly on breastmilk. It was also challenging because we not only had one toddler but two! I first packed our big backpack and then started to sort out the hard structured baby carrier. I felt pretty proud of myself realizing that I had managed to pack everything! Then my husband came out with an armful of gear and food that still needed to pack. I felt defeated.
Two Big Backpacks, 2 Little Backpacks, 2 Fanny Packs and a Carrier
Out came the second big backpack. I unpacked our hard structured carrier and packed the second backpack. I made the one for my husband heavier as I was going to carry the big backpack and our 2 year old daughter in the soft-structured carrier when she was too tired to walk. Sometimes you have to pull out all your strength as a mom and I figured that since I gave birth to these two littles that I could surely carry a large pack and 22 lbs toddler up 3.5 km of trails.
I also have two Hipster Fanny packs by Onya Baby that I am in love with! I always pack them with snacks and treats for the family and the kids lunch so that the food is easily accessible on the hike. Sure I look like a pack horse but that goes with the territory of being an adventure mama.
We also made our daughters each carry their own backpack. In each of their backpacks they had a waterbottle, snack and their stuffies that they cannot sleep without. Our 4 year old carried her backpack the whole time while our 2 year old carried hers for only part of the hike.
Water and Food
We brought tablets, our lifestraw to drink directly from a waterbottle and tablets. Since the hike was short we made sure to bring enough water for the girls in our 32 ounce Hydroflask. Yes that is extra space and weight BUT with my 4 year old hiking so hard I really wanted to avoid dehydration in the hot 30 C weather. I was worried that the tablet or filtered water would not taste good to her.
Choosing the Hike
Choosing a short hike without a ton of elevation was essential to our ability to enjoy the whole experience. We also knew that we had to choose a hike that our 4 year old could complete herself. There was not way that either of us could have added an extra 35lbs to our load. Lindeman Lake was the perfect distance at 3.4 km and 300 metres for our 4 year old. We knew that it would be challenging but that it would also be possible without overextending ourselves. Check out the Lindeman Lake, BC trip report here.
Note that this hike could be challenging for some adults and is rated intermediate on other hiking sites.
Hike with Friends
I was so excited when our friends AND family decided to join us for the hike. They only stayed for part of the day before heading down but it made the hike up so much easier. Our 4 year old was excited to be hiking with another 4 year old, her cousin that is 8 and another boy that is 7.
Tell lots of stories
About part way through the steep portion of the hike where most of the 300 metres of elevation comes in our 4 year old was getting tired. My husband busted out some good hiking stories to keep her motivated.
Both Parents Carry Bear Spray
We learnt quickly that when we are hiking with both of our girls that our 4 year old loves to run ahead. We also learnt that slowing her down can make the hike go a whole lot longer. Another thing we learnt was that when our 2 year old falls asleep in the carrier it is a good time for the person carrying the sleeping toddler up the trail to gain some ground. When she is done sleeping she will want out and our hiking pace will slow down. Since my husband and I are not always hiking close together anymore depending on the stage of the hike we have realized that it is essential that we both carry bear spray.
Push it when they are sleeping
On our backcountry hike I managed to slowly convince my 2 year old to hop into the carrier. This was just before the steep portion of the hike. I was so thankful that she jumped in as much I as I loved our turtly pace as we climbed over the big boulders on the trail. As soon as she fell asleep I got into a hiking groove and did my best to cover as much ground as possible. We had been far behind our 4 year old but soon caught up and gained a bit more elevation on tough terrain.
Relax and Enjoy the Views
Sometimes as a parent I feel like our childrens needs and concerns take up all of our energy and focus. It is so important to take a moment to look up, take in and enjoy your surroundings. When we got up to the lake, I was struck by the beauty of the glacier lake. It was incredible. It felt so amazing to enjoy such a beautiful place as a family. One of the best parts about Lindeman Lake was that there was actually sand to play in. Our littles had the best time digging in the sand and even swimming in the glacier water.
I was fortunate enough to hop into a blow up kayak since one of our friends hauled it up the trail. I gave each of our children a turn close to shore before heading furthur by myself and soak up some me time.
Check out Lindeman Lake, BC for a great place for a day hike or backpacking trip.
Heading on a backpacking trip with your baby? Check out these Tips for Backcountry Camping with a Baby!