Before having babies my husband and I loved hiking and camping. It isn't always easy to fit baby into the mix of outdoor adventure, but it is possible. I've asked our Brand Rep, Erika Bertin, momma to 15 month old Felix, to share her tips and tricks for hiking with baby!
Erika currently reside in Springbrook, AB with her husband Tommy, 15 month old son Felix, and two fur babes Frank and Gravy. "I've always loved the outdoors and grew up camping and exploring with my family but was limited to when I could get out and adventure due to working most weekends when my hiking buddies worked weekdays. When we found out we were expecting with Felix I made a vow to make the most of my mat leave exploring with our baby, and that's exactly what we did! If you want to follow our adventures you can find us on IG @the.tigers.wife Erika and Felix have been an Ellie Ears brand rep for several months now, and use our pillow on every hike!
Q & A with Erika
How old was Felix? When did you start hiking with him?
Felix is 15 months old now (wow, that went fast!) and I started going on short hikes with him at 2 months old. His first trip to the mountains we spent mothers day at Ram Falls and have been exploring ever since.
Any myths you can dispel about hiking with a baby/toddler?
That you can't!! Hiking with a little one definitely takes more planning than going on a whim by yourself into the woods but it is so worth it. I know for us, Felix and I are both a lot happier when we get to spend some time outside. As i'm getting my exercise hauling my tiny hitchhiker down trails and up mountains, he is chatting and singing away in my ear.
What carriers have you used? What are you using now?
When he was just a tiny little squish I used mostly my Uppymama woven wrap or my Ergo carrier. Once Felix was stable enough for a back carry we began looking for a carrier that would be comfortable for longer distances as well as have some storage. A girlfriend of mine gifted us a MEC Happy trails pack which I used for the first while but unfortunately it was not a proper fit for my body type (I have a rather long torso). We then decided to upgrade to the MEC Shuttlecraft which again turned out to be a poor fit choice for my body (sorry MEC haha). We are now using the Deuter Kid Comfort Air and i LOVE it so far! The only downfall is that the storage is less than that of the Shuttlecraft what it lacks in storage it more than makes up in comfortable fit!
Does he nap in the backpack?
Felix is the kind of kid who never wants to miss and thing and is happiest exploring. That said, no, he does not often nap in the backpack though he has from time to time and his Ellie Ears pillow is perfect for resting his little head!
What is your go to to keep him happy in the pack?
FOOD!! The kid is a constant grazer and loves to always have food nearby. I always make sure to keep an ample supply of apple slices and arrowroot crackers in my side pocket of my pack to keep him happy as we plug along.
What is your must have item for baby comfort on the trail?
I have a few must haves actually. First, proper layers for the rapidly changing weather in the mountains (in Alberta in general) as well as a proper first aid kit (I bought a 'family first aid kit' from London Drugs and added infant tylenol and benadryl to it) and of course, his Ellie Ears pillow!! though he doesn't nap often in the carrier, the added support is a great peace of mind for this mama knowing that no matter what rough terrain we may hike over he has a soft cushion on all sides in the event he gets jostled around at all in the carrier.
Best distance for hiking with baby/toddler?
The best distance is whatever works for you and your baby! When we first started getting out we stuck to fairly short trails and worked our way up from there. We still stick to easier hikes with shorter distance/lesser elevation gain (but to be fair, i wasn't any kind of athlete before Felix was born so I hike a lot of the same trails with Felix that I had before haha) I did learn the hard way that elevation gain is a whole lot more challenging with the extra weight of a tiny hitchhiker than on your own however, quite a workout!