As the kids eagerly submit their Christmas lists and toy flyers with nearly every item on every page circled, they most likely did not include any hiking or camping gear. But Christmas is an excellent opportunity to outfit your tiny adventurers, sneaking in some useful gifts now, that will make a more enjoyable summer and offset costs when gearing up before the first trip of the season.
Kid’s Sleeping Bag
When camping with children “cold” is often enemy number one. It may be tempting to get a bag with a favorite Disney character, but investing in a temperature appropriate sleeping bag will set you up for a more pleasant experience and an extended camping season. (And it may even reduce the occurrence of squeezing four family members in a sack made for two.) We purchased our six year old a 30 degree mummy sack from REI two years and have been very pleased with its warmth and function. Added bonus, the stuff sack is attached.
Kid’s Hiking Backpack
We don’t put much in her pack, but we do have our six year old haul her own water bottle and sometimes some snacks, getting her used to carrying her own gear. We purchased one from REI three years ago and it has held up and given her some serious trail cred.
Celebrate your family’s love of camping and hiking during the holidays by adding outdoor themed ornaments to your tree. We’ve been collecting them for years, some were gifts others we’ve found at various stores, just searching “camping ornaments” on Amazon brings up lots of hits.
Another way to keep your tiny hikers invested in your lifestyle is by keeping books around that encourage outdoor adventures. The ones we have tend to feature little girls, but there are many gender neutral and others written for boys as well. All of these are currently available on Amazon.
Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots? by Carmela LaVigna Coyle and Mike Gordon
Lady Bug Girl by David Soman and Jacky Davis
Wildflowers, Blooms & Blossoms by Diane Burns (under the tree this year)
This year we made an awesome hiking journal and the supplies for this would be a great present. Recap this past year or save it for next season. See my previous post for details.
LED Solar Lantern
These are the best. Buyer beware, unless you want constant fighting, get one for each child. They are not breakable which makes them great for all ages and our kids have had a lot of fun making their own light shows with these color changing, solar powered, inflatable LED lanterns.
Last year for Christmas we got L a cowgirl hat, and she loves wearing it on our adventures. Anything that makes time spent outdoors special is a plus. When kids are happy, everyone is happy.
These are just a few ideas, others include youth trekking poles, pedometers, sunglasses, hiking tutu, magnifying glass, rock hammer… the possibilities are endless. But you may want to wait on the hiking shoes, clothes, etc. as who knows what size they’ll be wearing in just a few months.