Hiking pack for 6 year-old?
August 11, 2018 3:44 PM   Subscribe

We’re thinking ahead to a summer ‘19 national parks trip, and we’d love to do a lot of hiking. Our little boy loves to hike but gets tired (like a normal kid) and he’s getting too big to carry very far. All the hiking carriers I’ve seen are for strapping in much younger kids. Is there something like a harness we could wear with a place for him to stand and some handles to make piggyback rides easier? Like, a saddle for humans?
posted by brozek to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There is. Having some experience with carrying older kids, I think it wouldn’t be very comfy however, especially for when you want to do hiking (these are built for standing around at themeparks, parades and such).

Personally, I’d opt for a preschooler-sized carrier, like a Kinderpack. It would probably still fit a 6 year old.
posted by The Toad at 3:54 PM on August 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Ho Ho, I’m going to switch this around. Get a hydration pack and cram it full of water and snacks. When he gets tired, take a break and pull out a tiny serving of dried fruit or goldfish crackers. It’s amazing what this has done for my 6 year old’s endurance and attitude.
posted by bq at 4:52 PM on August 11, 2018 [12 favorites]

The Freeloader goes up to 80lbs. However, I would consider making temporary changes to the duration, speed, and difficulty of the hikes. In a few years you won’t be able to keep up with your kid. But he feeling like a burden and only being “along for the ride” may engender less lifelong enthusiasm.
posted by Kalatraz at 4:59 PM on August 11, 2018 [10 favorites]

it's a difficult order.
Average 6 year old is 50 pounds of squirminess.
These child carriers max out at 50 lbs

You could try to rig a packboard like this one usually at a hunting type store

Or rig up a travois

But best would be to let the 6 year old set the pace and distance.
Enjoy your hikes together

He'll be a teen soon enough
posted by yyz at 5:07 PM on August 11, 2018

Related, I was literally just listening to a podcast on this topic (second half of RV Miles, ep 54, kids in national parks) and they referenced this article that says 6 year olds, generally speaking, should be good for 2-3 miles each direction. How far are your hikes? Nthing the recommendation to do kid-able hikes for now, because it wont be long before they can outlast you.
posted by cgg at 5:18 PM on August 11, 2018 [3 favorites]

Apparently my Toddler Tula carries up to 27kg. Not sure my body would enjoy carrying that much though.
posted by kadia_a at 12:20 AM on August 12, 2018

Is a wagon out of the question? I’m assuming you’re on trails that are too hilly or rough, but I’ve seen some with some fairly rugged tires. As a bonus, you can keep using it for other stuff as he ages out.
posted by blnkfrnk at 11:10 AM on August 12, 2018

If the kid does a lot of walking in his day-to-day, he might surprise you - ours is 5 and managed 6 miles last week (my Garmin tracker said 8 miles but I'm not so sure). It took all day and we had a lot of snack and drink breaks and a longer break for lunch, but he did it and didn't complain too much. Perhaps build the distance gradually and plan routes you can shorten if you need to?
posted by altolinguistic at 11:49 AM on August 12, 2018

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. We were mostly looking for something to give him a temporary spot to rest/ride/recharge to extend 2-3 mile hikes to 4-5 miles (i.e., not something to carry him in the whole way), and there are some good options here to check out.
posted by brozek at 4:37 AM on August 13, 2018

We just got back from a National Parks trip involving 8 children between 3 and 7, and the strategy that was most successful for extending hikes was the long rest/snack/goof off break.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 7:20 AM on August 13, 2018

We used a preschool sized kinderpack to carry our giant 4 year old for stretches during a recent Utah parks trip and are bringing it to Alaska in a couple of weeks.
posted by tealcake at 4:49 PM on August 13, 2018

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