adventure

Are We There Yet? Preparing for Your First Family Hike

Going on a family hike is a great way to pull your kids away from their screens and enjoy time together in nature. Whether you visit a local park with a trail system or you travel to a faraway destination to find new places to explore, there are plenty of places to hike and there are locations that are perfect for every family. 

Preparing for your first family hike can seem a bit tricky, especially if you are bringing small children along. Hiking with your kids is a great way to help them connect with nature at an early age, but it can be a bit scary. Rest assured, though, that with a little bit of careful planning, your first family hiking adventure will go off without a hitch. Keep reading for some helpful advice on preparing for your first family hike. 

Keep It Simple

Your first hike together as a family does not need to be anything elaborate. In fact, you should try to keep it as simple and enjoyable as possible. For kids, hiking is all about the experience. If that first experience isn’t a fun one, you’re going to have a hard time getting them to go out again. Choose a trail that is relatively simple and not too long. A loop that is relatively flat is a good choice. Try to find a destination with interesting features like a waterfall, lake or stream. Point out various animals and species of birds or try to identify the trees you encounter. Maintain a leisurely pace and make it all about having fun. 

Don’t be afraid to go slow. When you are hiking with your family, it should be all about the journey rather than the destination. If you don’t make it all the way to the end of your planned hike, it’s no big deal. Exploring is just as rewarding and letting your kids do it will help build their love of nature. 

Make Sure Everyone is Dressed Appropriately

There is no need to go out and buy a bunch of fancy hiking gear for your first trek, but it is important to make sure everyone is dressed appropriately. Check the weather before you head out and choose clothing that is suitable. On a mild spring or summer day, a lightweight t-shirt and a pair of comfy pants work well for laid-back hikes. If the temperature is cooler or you are going on a more strenuous hike, it is best to dress in layers

Expect to get dirty. A family hike is not the right time to wear that brand-new shirt or outfit your kids in their Sunday best. Basic t-shirts that you don’t mind getting dirty are a much better choice. Choose appropriate footwear for everyone. Even on a simple hike, flip-flops are not appropriate. Everyone should wear a pair of sneakers or boots that is comfortable and provides adequate support. Your kids may protest about wearing sneakers instead of flip-flops or sandals, but trust us, they will complain more if they wear the wrong shoes and end up with aching feet halfway through the hike! 

Pack the Right Gear

It is important to load up a backpack with some essentials. Anytime you are going on a hike, it’s smart to bring a basic first aid kit and a few emergency supplies, including a lighter/matches/fire starter, emergency shelter and water filter or chemical purification tablets.

You should apply sunscreen before you head out, but it’s also a good idea to bring some with you for touchups. Lip balm that provides SPF protection is a must, too. Bug spray should also be applied before you start your hike but bring the can with you to reapply. Look for a high-quality spray that is formulated to combat mosquitos as well as ticks. If your kids are young, look for a product that is safe for them. 

Bring enough water for everyone in the family. If you are going on a short hike, a bottle or two per person should be sufficient. It never hurts to bring extra, though, just in case you end up being out longer than anticipated.  Pack some high-protein snacks like jerky or energy bars. Of course, make sure you have snacks that your kids will actually eat, too. Stop for snacks frequently. Having frequent snacks instead of waiting for larger meals helps keep kids energized and can prevent them from getting tired and cranky. 

Don’t forget the fun items! We suggest a bluetooth speaker that is waterproof and can keep up with your kids energetic nature. Binoculars and a magnifying glass serve as the perfect tools for helping your kids make amazing discoveries along the trail. Don’t forget a camera to capture all those memories! 

Have Fun!

When it comes to getting your kids interested in hiking, making it fun is extremely important. Keep your kids motivated and make sure they are enjoying themselves by creating games they can enjoy on the trail. Come up with a scavenger hunt, identify different types of wildflowers or look for birds that are native to the area in which you are hiking. Engage with your kids and let them explore. Tell your kids how proud you are of them and how well they are hiking. Tell them they’re strong, fast and all around amazing. Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool that will help make your first hike an enjoyable one and make kids want to go out again. 

Adventure Meets Luxury Sweepstakes

Outdoor Tech is happy to announce participation in the FindKeep.Love Adventure Meets Luxury Sweepstakes! We aren’t the only ones that have something to offer in this fantastic sweepstakes, though. 

When you enter the sweepstakes, you enter to win $2100+ in prizes!

Because we know you already want to know more about this amazing opportunity, we detailed all of the prizes below. Read and enter for a chance to win everything you’d want for your next luxury adventure vacation. 

Enter to Win Stuff You Probably Want® and More

The Adventure Meets Luxury Sweepstakes includes a hotel stay, plus gift cards and prizes for Key West inspired clothing, shaving accessories, expert travel deals, outdoor tech essentials, and more! 

1. Stay at the Beach Club at Charleston Harbor & Marina

Located in the heart of Charleston, SC downtown, the Beach Club is a waterfront resort with endless Southern charm. Expect wrap-around porches and various room choices from family suites to a cozy room for two on a romantic getaway. 

The Adventure Meets Luxury Sweepstakes winner will receive a $450 gift certificate to stay at The Beach Club Resort. That’s enough for 2+ nights depending on your room choice and the time of year you choose to stay. 

This waterfront resort overlooks the largest marina in the Carolinas and is rated the #1 resort in South Carolina. The Beach Front Resort has stunning views of downtown Charleston, the Arthur Ravenel Bridge, boats cruising in the marina, and the USS Yorktown. 

Unwind with a weekend getaway in Charleston, SC this year. 

2. $500 Madda Fella Key West Clothing Gift Card

To keep the ocean feel going, Madda Fella Key West inspired clothing has joined the Adventure Meets Luxury Sweepstakes to offer a $500 gift card to the winner. 

Bring the island to you with numerous accessories, shirts, bottoms, swimwear, and more, all designed with functional island comfort and fashion in mind. 

Use your gift card to choose a new resort-worthy outfit from Madda Fella clothing. 

3. $200 Gift Card + 1 Year Subscription to Matt’s Flights

If you’re an avid traveler, we are glad you’re reading this because you need to know about Matt’s Flights. Matt’s Flights is a 1-on-1 flight and travel planning support service featured in the New York Times, Thrillist, the Hustle, and more. 

With over 1,000,000 satisfied subscribers from the US and Canada, Matt’s Flights is the only company that offers unlimited flight support. They’ve saved their customers up to 90% off domestic and international flights without the headache of endless searching and signing up for price alerts. Matt’s team does it all for you. All you have to do is send an email outlining your dream destination, sit back, and let Matt’s Flights do all the searching for you. 

To help one lucky traveler this year, Matt’s Flights is offering the winner of the Adventure Meets Luxury Sweepstakes a $200 Visa gift card PLUS a one-year subscription to their services. 

4. $500 Art of Shaving Gift Card

The Art of Shaving is a New York-based company that helps you bring that barbershop shave home. To bring a bit more luxury to your shave this year, The Art of Shaving offers the Adventure Meets Luxury Sweepstakes winner a $500 gift card. That’s essentially them giving you a brand new, personalized shaving kit! 

The Art of Shaving specializes in head to toe shaving products for men. They’ll help you achieve your perfect shave with beard care, fragrances, and more. Their products are crafted with care using botanical ingredients and essential oils for a fresh, natural shaving experience. 

5. $400 Outdoor Tech Gift Card

Last but not least, here at Outdoor Tech, we have always brought a luxury experience into the outdoors. So, it is no surprise that we have a stellar prize for the Adventure Meets Luxury Sweepstakes. The winner will get a $400 gift card to use at Outdoor Tech. That’s enough to buy multiple accessories from us and plenty of other Stuff You Probably Want®.

Our goal has always been to help blend the luxuries of modern technology with the rugged nature of outdoor exploration. After all, our gear is tried and tested to ensure it holds up to whatever kind of adventure you happen to be experiencing. 

Check out our collection of Stuff You Probably Want® to learn more.

Win $2100+ To Fuel Your Next Luxury Adventure

In conclusion, adventure and luxury don’t always need to be separate, and that’s why this sweepstake is perfect for the adventurous types that also appreciate quality vacations, advice, and gear. Take a step this year and enter to win $2100+ to go towards your next adventure in 2021. 

Enter today! The giveaway ends on January 26, 2021.

Beginner’s Guide to Backcountry Hiking

Going out for a hike can span the time of a few hours, an entire day, or even days, weeks, and months. While hiking and backpacking are two different disciplines to prepare for, they do have many similarities. Getting off crowded metropolitan hikes and popular AllTrails picks can be both scary and extremely rewarding. Venturing into the backcountry should be built up to and takes a bit more planning than hikes you may be used to. 

As a beginner’s guide to backcountry hiking, we will be focusing specifically on hikes that can be completed in one day and require no overnights on the trail. Our goal is to give you the knowledge and reference points you need to feel confident, safe, and prepared on your upcoming backcountry hike. 

Take a Hike

Have Proper Hiking Equipment

Since you are only planning for a day hike, you will not need too much in the way of gear. While it may not seem like you need all of these things, keep in mind that you will be miles away from any roads and even further from any cities. You may not even have cell phone service for the majority of the day. So, you will need to be prepared and bring the necessary supplies. 

The most important things to bring with you when you are hiking in the backcountry include: 

  • Lightweight Daypack → If you don’t already have one, you will want to invest in a daypack that is intended for hiking. These packs are designed to be comfortable and have easy access compartments for organization of supplies. Many daypacks also come equipped with a hydration system. 
  • Hydration System and Snacks → Water is of the most essential things you will need in the backcountry. Water will also be the heaviest thing you carry, but that doesn’t mean to skimp out. Bring more than you think you need the first time you head into the backcountry. Don’t forget to pack a few trail snacks and maybe lunch if it is a long hike. 
  • Reliable Hiking Boots → The style of hiking shoes you wear will be up to you. Some hikers prefer to wear trail running shoes, while others like to have the classic ankle support high tops. Just be sure that your hiking shoes are broken in properly and have little chance of giving you blisters. Comfortable footwear is the key to an enjoyable hike! 
  • Map of Area, Guidebook, or GPS → Most hiking areas will have hard copies of maps and guidebooks, but you can also opt to download maps onto your phone. Better yet, you can take a backcountry GPS with you. If you go the digital route, keep in mind that your battery will not last forever. So, if you download maps on your phone, consider bringing a portable power bank as well. 
  • First Aid Kit → You may think that this is an unnecessary weight to carry, but better safe than sorry in the backcountry. This kit doesn’t need to be extreme, but it is good to have a few standard first aid supplies in case of an emergency on the trail. 

It can be tempting to kind of skimp on your first round of hiking gear and buy the cheapest options. While a limited budget may be a factor here, consider purchasing higher quality gear second hand or scoping out some discounts at retailers like REI to get higher quality, longer-lasting gear at a lower cost. 

Do Area Trail Research

Make sure you take time to get to know the area before you wander into the woods to get lost! This can be done in a variety of ways. You can go to old school techniques and talk to people from the area that may know the trail systems well. This can also include consulting park rangers and BLM land managers. Oftentimes, this is the most reliable way to go about things, because they will have access to the most recent trail conditions. 

Another common way of researching backcountry trails is to check out websites like All Trails, Hiking Project, and Summit Post. AllTrails can be especially helpful as you can download the app on your phone to have access to downloaded area maps when you’re hiking. 

If those maps aren’t detailed enough, you should invest in a digital or hard copy topographic map of the area. You can find these online and at many outdoor retail stores. 

Beyond knowing where you are going, you should be researching the area’s climate, wildlife, and plants. Look into the weather ahead of time to be sure that you pack accordingly. If you are hiking in a mountainous area, check for afternoon storms. Being aware of area wildlife and plant life will let you know if there are any dangerous animals or poisonous plants to avoid.

Prepare Physically for the Hike

If you are an avid hiker on familiar city trails or low key hiking trails close to town, then you are likely already in relatively good physical condition. Part of researching the area you will be hiking will include knowing the terrain to expect. 

If you are going to be hiking in a notoriously hilly area or a drastically different altitude than you are accustomed to, then you should prepare before attempting the hike. While you may be mentally ready, not being physically fit in the backcountry can be a serious danger. 

As you ramp up to your first backcountry hike, try to fit extra cardio and hiking time into your schedule. Get your legs ready at the gym by utilizing the stair stepper and doing squats. Building up your stamina and strength, will make a difference in safety, as well as how much you enjoy the hike overall. 

Leave No Trace

As you go out into the wilderness to enjoy the solitude and beauty, remember that we are sharing this Earth with other living plants and animals as well. One of the most important things you can take away from this article is to learn the Leave No Trace principles. Keep our wild places wild as we protect our outdoor spaces together!