We love nothing more than being out and about on the weekends, so I love this guests post containing tips for everything you need to make getting out with the kids that bit easier.
Do your children love to be outdoors whatever the weather? If so, you’re probably well acquainted with the family Sunday leg stretch, filling up your lungs with fresh air and running those little legs off before returning home for a Sunday dinner together.
However, if you want to go a little further and have a longer family walking trip, the UK offers some beautiful walks. Take a look at these suggestions and pick somewhere to go as a family once you’ve packed the following things…
Your kids might be marvellous hikers, but not even the hardiest little girl or boy will enjoy a long walk if they’re stuck wearing wet clothes. The UK is known for unpredictable weather, so the first and most important thing to take is kids waterproofs. A good set of waterproof jackets and trousers are the minimum you should invest in as they’ll keep under-layers dry, and can be easily peeled off in the pub at the end of the day to be left to dry out beside the fire!
Dry clothes are important, but there’s truly nothing worse than dragging a family member up a hillside if they’re suffering with blisters. To that end, make sure everyone is kitted out with a pair of comfortable, well-fitting walking shoes. Try them on in store and ask the assistant to check there’s enough room, and ask to be shown how to lace the boots correctly to ensure maximum ankle support. Bear in mind you’ll all need to go up half or a whole shoe size – you’ll be wearing thick walking socks with these kinds of shoes.
With any luck, the walking shoes you’ve chosen won’t cause your family’s feet to blister. But, it doesn’t hurt to have a pack of blister plasters with you. Don’t just pick up any old pack of plasters as they simply won’t be padded enough to cushion a blister; instead, Compeed blister plasters are on the pricey side but are well worth having in your pocket.
A comfortable rucksack
As well as clothing, you’re going to need to carry some supplies on your walk (detailed below), which means you’ll need a rucksack to put them in. Look for styles with padded straps so the rucksack sits comfortably across your shoulders, and a fastening across your middle to support the rucksack’s full weight. Consider buying a second rucksack for the kids to take turns sharing: they can load it up with food supplies and fun things, like those rocks they simply have to take home with them. Perhaps carrying them in their rucksack will make them think twice?
Map, compass (and GPS app)
A map and compass is an absolute must-have if you’re going on a big family walk, especially if you’re planning on hiking in mountainous areas. Of course you’ll need a bit of practice using these things before you go, but if you can’t quite get to grips with it, be sure to download a GPS app on your mobile phone so you can navigate if you become lost. There are some other good walking app suggestions here.
Not only will snacks fuel up little ones to keep them plodding on, they can also work as handy bribes! Most kids will walk a little further or with a little more enthusiasm if there’s a promise of a chocolate biscuit “when we get round the next bend” or “reach that rock over there”. You can offer healthier snacks, of course, such as satsumas and bananas, or little cartons of raisins. If you’re planning on being out all day, pack a light picnic, such as a thermos flask filled with soup and enough sandwiches to feed everyone. Your lunch will taste delicious at the halfway point!
Finally, it’s really important to take water with you, whatever the weather. Even on cool days, you can quickly become dehydrated if you’re walking long distances, and on hot days, it’s imperative that you all keep your fluid levels topped up. Read this article on making river water safe to drink in case you run out or forget to fill up the bottle as you’re heading out of the door.