Gearing Up for Backpacking with Young Kids

As we walked through preparing for our first family backpacking trip I noticed something: there are a ton of articles on backpacking with kids in their teens. Even a few with middle schoolers. But I found only a couple posts on backpacking with young kids… seeing as our kids are ages six, five, and three, I just couldn’t relate. Even simple things, like finding a backpack or sleeping bag were not straightforward. Many packs were just too big. And it didn’t matter how warm the sleeping bag was because at the toddler ages I am just trying to figure out how to keep them IN the bag!

And thus began a journey! Here are some things that have worked for us:

1. Working out the sleeping quarters

You want a tent that is warm and lightweight, right? But enter into the world of family tents and you are not likely to find either. We tossed around the idea of taking multiple two-man tents but our kids are young enough that I wasn’t comfortable letting them sleep in their own tent. However, we were able to test out the Kelty Salida 4 tent and were super impressed.

The Kelty Salida 4 is a three season tent that weighs just over 6 pounds and is quite roomy. We can fit allfive of our family members in it without much crowding. We also brought the ENO hammock along and my husband spent a night in it – because why not?!

Here are a few other tents that are worth checking out: GoLite Shangri-La 5 or the Big Agnes Lightweight 4 person tents.

This is an article I wrote for Seattle Backpacker Magazine. The full content can be found at this link Gearing Up for Backpacking with Young Kids.

little girl backpacking with Kelty tent

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