Technology Hiker

5 Tips for Planning a Beginner Backpacking Trip with Cub Scouts (part 1)

In June I’m leading a backpacking trip for my local Bay Area Cub Scout Pack.  Here’s a three part post on making a beginner backpacking trip with kids a success.  The articles share lessons from backpacking with my boys across California since age three.

  • Part 1: Five Tips for planning a beginning backpacker trip (this post)
  • Part 2: Recommended gear for kids age ~8 in age.
  • Part 3: Recommend gear for adults backpacking with younger children

Hike a reasonable distance

  • Make the goal achievable & enjoyable. Two to three miles one way is an excellent first backpacking distance. Backpacking should be enjoyable.

Go with friends

  • Positive peer pressure motivates kids and helps them hike. In camp the children can explore together.

Select a quality destination

  • Pick a destination that triggers children’s imagination. Climbing rocks, swinging in trees, and swimming in lakes make the trip even more enjoyable.

Set positive expectations

  • Backpacking is an adventure. Get your kids excited about backpacking in advance, so they hit the trail with the right, positive attitude.

Kids carry no weight or lightweight packs

  • Kids will have a lifetime of carrying loads, and most kids can only carry a light pack at most. Make the trip easier by not loading them down. My oldest has just started carrying a lightweight pack with some personal gear. My youngest does not carry anything.

See part 2 for Recommended Gear for Kids on a Cub Scout Backpacking Trip.  It includes guiding principles, what to wear, and what to carry for kids.