Podcast Episode November 22, 2019

Podcast 020 | Backpacking with Children




Introducing children to the world of backpacking can be an amazing, uplifting experience. It can also go totally sideways. In this SKILLS SHORT Ryan and Andrew talk about best practices for family backpacking: route planning, trip types, gear, type one vs type two fun (kid edition!), safety, communication, and more.


  • Topic introduction and Ryan and Andrew’s first trips
  • Introducing kids to backpacking – all about transitions
    • Learning to let go
    • Starting in the backyard – an open invitation
  • Introducing adults to backpacking – all about remote environments
  • Activities for kids
  • How much weight can kids handle comfortably on trail, moderate elevation gain
    • Start here: age x 1.5 pounds
      • reduce weight 15-25% for ages 2-10 if child is overweight or obese
      • reduce weight 25% to 35% for ages 11-17 if child is overweight or obese
      • reduce weight 10% to 20% for girls, esp. if underweight for their height
  • Managing differing skill sets and desires in group situations
  • Gear
  • Cooking
    • Group cooking and safety issues
    • Involving the kids in the cooking process
  • Safety and Emergencies
    • Burns
    • Exhaustions and falls
    • Increasing your skills (first aid) to handle common emergencies
      • Blisters
      • Soft tissue damage
      • Cold and heat-related illnesses
      • Broken bones
      • Deep wounds
  • Communication
  • Start somewhere!

Feedback, Questions, Tips?


  • Backpacking Light – Executive Producer
  • Ryan Jordan – Director and Host
  • Andrew Marshall – Producer, Host, and Editor
  • Look for Me in the Mountains – Music

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