How to Take a Toddler Backpacking Without Losing Your Mind

The trail can be a challenging place for parents and kids. Set aside your expectations of how a hike should go and learn what you can.

There is little as joyful as falling into step with the rhythms of the trail. We establish routines: when to wake up, when to eat, when to sleep, when to filter our water and how far to walk. Ritual allows us to take on most obstacles nature throws at us.

Toss a child into the mix, however, and chaos can erupt at any moment. Suddenly, a majestic mountain vista can turn into a stage for a full-blown temper tantrum. A 50 yard trek from a campsite to a stream can take hours.

While hiking alone is an exercise in freedom, hiking with kids is an exercise in patience. It’s not just the children we have to keep from screaming. It’s us.

The solution? Learn to adjust your expectations, and go with the flow. Embrace these nine lessons to avoid burnout.

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