Taking the little ones backcountry.
Every year one of our first paddles is young Ireland’s (5 this year) backcountry canoe trip.
Taking a young one on a backcountry trip can be daunting. As long as you have your priorities and expectations aligned though it can be one of the most rewarding experiences ever.
So here’s a few tips to make your young ones next trip is a success.
-Allow them to help. By no means are we suggesting your four year old attempt to carry your canoe ;p Though given a small pack and a paddle, or loose items, they will feel like part of the team.
-Proper fitting gear. A life vest that doesn’t squeeze the life outta them and proper boots will make a world of difference. If they are comfortable they will be happy.
-Change of pace. They’re kids slow down and smell the trilliums. Portages make great learning opportunities . Animal and plant life , tracks and even area history will add to their experience.
-Along the same lines as pace is distance. Ease them in to tripping. Small trips with small portages before you tackle that 5309m portage. You want them to have a good experience and want to go again right?
-The ever powerful treat/activity bag. Ireland packs a small pack filled with snacks, a notepad , pencils, book, headlamp and a small game board.
LIFESAVER! This little pack keeps her entertained for hours. Remember they are new to this and most have much shorter attention spans then we do. While paddling silently through the North may be enough for us, it may be a little slow for our children. The activities and treats solve this easily.
– Most importantly is have fun. You enjoy being out there, so let them see that. Share your passion and knowledge . Have patience and eventually when you ask your kids what they’d like to do this weekend they’ll all yell “go for a paddle”.