View Full Version : Outfitting a seven year old.

2007-01-02, 16:07
I would like to outfit my girl for an overnight, even though I plan on always being with her of course, at least for the next 20 years or so. I would also carry much of the stuff we would both use, and I don't want to slow here down just yet, but I would like her to have here own stuff. She is on the small side, still only 45# and 45", but she is a very capable hiker when she is motivated and I don't weigh here down. We have done several 10-12k hikes.

I am particularly interested in everyones ideas for a child's first stove. I made a buddy burner out of a 5oz can of fruit cocktail but I found it to be too hot and too smokey. They also take too long to cool down. I am thinking of making small mini-buddy burners out of tealights, perhaps she might carry 3 or 4 at 0.5oz each. For lighting it I am thinking a mini-lighter and waterproof matches. Also perhaps a mini candle lantern using another 3 or 4 tealights, slower burning. Then she would need a small 8oz mug, and some sort of a wind screen and pot stand, which might be also be the candle lantern or might be separate. She would carry some packets of hot chocolate, and instant oatmeal, and perhaps 250g of honey. Also two water bottles, but only 500ml each. She would hike with the water bottles empty, but in theory she could fill them if she got lost. If they were wide mouthed bottles they could carry the food meanwhile. I think this only adds up to about 12 oz so far, not counting the water. For a compass I was thinking of a compass/thermometer combination that attaches to a zipper. She already has a good whistle. She also need her own waterproof map, as she already does our navigating. What she doesn't have yet is the right sort of clothes and backpack. It is not easy to find proper outdoor clothes and packs for children. Everything is overly cumbersome and it is very hard to get decent wool and fleece. I did manage to find a wool sweater with a hood, which is great. I am still looking for good quality fleece or wool pants. I think I will make her wind pants and a wind jacket. I found some light nylon at Walmart. I would like to make a rainponcho for here also, with some pegs and cord so she can set it up. This could be made from a large orange garbage bag but I already have the light nylon. For now instead of a sleeping bag, which would be small and redundant as she sleeps with me, I am thinking of a poncho liner or long cloak made out of a wool blanket, doubled up. This she could wear when hiking or on my shoulders or around camp, but in theory she would have a blanket for overnights. She would also need her own blue foam pad, which for her would only need to be 48"x16". It could fit inside her backpack. The wool blanket cloak would be the heaviest item, but I don't think it would be too much for her to carry. I am not sure if any of this justifies a backpack, but in theory she would need to somehow carry whatever she isn't wearing, so I suppose some sort of backpack is in order. I think the poncho tarp and poncho liner and blue foam pad could roll up as a bedroll and be carried in the small of her back and small pack could carry the smaller items in front, with light but wide webbing over her shoulders and around here waist. That way I could easily clip off whatever she had on her back and clip it onto the top of my pack, so she would be free to run about some more, but still have her pack on. She could reverse it front to back as she wishes.

Any random thoughts or experiences?

Oh yeah. She has a bow and arrow now, so we are practicing with that also. I need to find some floo-floo arrows however as we keep losing arrows. So far we have been just shooting them down the road and then pick them up as we pass by, but they still go astray. It is mostly just another reason to get her out in the woods, which is really what it is all about for all of us.

2007-01-02, 20:50
JAK, REI has a child's frame pack that will grow(adjust) until she is ten or so. They also make a kid's sized sleeping bag. That pack, sleeping bag, foam pad, and warm clothes and a snack or two, and she'll be maxed out for weight. I'm assuming you are not a hammocker, if you go that route with her, Just Jeff is the SME(subject-matter expert) on that topic here. I'm not impressed with quilts, unless I'm in a hammock. I guess I roll around too much.

Frolicking Dino
2007-01-02, 22:29
Campmor has lots of children's clothing (http://www.campmor.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?categoryId=68745&catalogId=40000000226&storeId=226) that will fit a 45", 45# child.

REI's child's Comet Pack (http://www.rei.com/online/store/ProductDisplay?storeId=8000&catalogId=40000008000&productId=47990939&parent_category_rn=4500578&vcat=REI_SSHP_REI_TOC) is great for youngsters because it 'grows' with them.

As for her quilt / wrap - how about getting a microfiber covered down throw (http://www.target.com/gp/detail.html/sr=1-3/qid=1167791055/ref=sr_1_3/601-1439065-8450567?ie=UTF8&asin=B000EG483K)? It will keep her warm in camp or atop your shoulders and can be used for extra softness or insulation for sleeping.

2007-01-03, 00:08
Hmmm. Some ideas for a stove for a 7 year old:

I don't have children myself so I'm not fully aware of what a 7 year old could handle or not handle. However I camp with friends with small children, and I too have been contemplating how to go about this. My idea would be to have her build and learn to use a simple alcohol stove like the original MiniBull (soda can stove)


Easy for HER to make. Need 2 Coke cans, scissors, a hole punch, flue/muffler tape, a push pin, needle nose pliers, and utility knife. I'll spare the directions here, Tinny at MiniBullDesign.com has a video that shows how simple and easy it is - he makes one in 3 minutes: http://www.minibulldesign.com/vidminiin3.htm. The cool thing is it's so simple even I could build it so I know a 7 year old could make it! (Perhaps Dad/Mom would want to do the utility knife part - scoring and punching out a can bottom - but the rest could be done by the child, hands protected by gloves)

Cheap. Don't like the first attempt? Squashed your stove accidentally? Here, a Coke for you and a Coke for me, (psst) Let's contemplate our next attempt while emptying our source of raw material... (glug glug) (repeat as necessary)

Ownership. Hey, her first piece of homemade camping gear that SHE made!

WAAY cool operation! Man, the blue flame comes out the side holes like Mom's stove! Cool! Set it up on the patio some evening or on the kitchen table using a baking pan set on a towel as a guard, dim the lights (so the alcohol flame is visible) and fire it up. Help her make her first meal of Easy Mac'N'Cheese!

Alcohol operation. Water can be used to extinguish in an emergency, small amount of fuel involved, cooler burn means more time to react before serious burn injuries occur


Liquid Fuel means big problem if spilled while lit. Alcohol flame invisible in bright light. Tippy design although coul be corrected with pot stand. Dangers that would require - and can be reduced - by heavy parent supervision until the young one has acquired proper safety habits and has demonstrated that she can handle safely.

(Shrug) That's my thought...

2007-01-03, 00:29
JAK, I have been backcountry overnight snowshoe camping my kids since they were 6 years old each (Also trail hikes). I totally agree with Frolicking Dino, that Campmor is the place to shop for non-cotton clothing for kids. They carry all sizes you need, good prices. Feel free to buy their cheapo "Campmor" line of gear, it lacks nothing in the quality department, just misses in the style department. Sort of dorky color schemes, but who cares....

In my case, we buy in threes. I find a good deal on a fleece hoody, I buy same color, two sizes that fit now, and the next size up for my son to grow into. My daughter (8yrs) inherits all my son's (10) camping/hiking wear, aside for the undies.... (Don't know if my son likes wearing womens udergarment like I do yet, will have to see how it goes.... :dancing2: )

As for the packs, we bought some cheapo "Coleman Kids" packs a while back. They were lightweight, good for a few years. The kids have outgrown them, and we picked up some Wallmart specials for now (Outdoor Products brand...). They are OK, but I cannot wait to upgrade the two into nice packs when they finish growing...whenever that is....if it is...hopefully soon...probably not...

Anyway, I figured "why saddle the kids with too much weight" and have not tooled them up with stoves and the like. We share everything. We pack their own cutlery, bowl, mug, etc....in with our adult gear. I try to leave pack weight space for the kids so they can decide to bring a couple of goodies, toys,books, "bunny" or whatever they think they will miss.... Let them worry about weight later.

One item you may consider is a CMG infinity task light. In the summer I can keep one on in their tent, and know they can find the door with no problem, or in the winter in our four person tent. No boogy men here! CMG Tasks lights run for over 40 hours on one AA battery.

As for the stove, I am not really excited about young kids playing with alcohol stoves, especially so far from the hospital. There is lots of time left for learning, why not let the kids be kids for a while.....just IMHO

2007-01-03, 02:09
I think Iceman has a point in that kids can always learn about stoves and there is no need in bringing redundant gear. Also a trip is a joined expirience.
If the stove is entirely for the expirience of your kid, I would look into the "good ole" foldable army hexamine stoves - These can also be run on non-toxic (pressed wood) firestarters, which delivers enough energy to heat a cup (or two) of water.

2007-01-03, 10:57
Thanks guys. I'm definitiely shying away from a buddy burner because they get so darned hot, so I am trying to make a simple tealight lantern stove that will serve as both a lantern and heat up 8oz of water, or perhaps as little as 5oz, for her to make herself hot chocolate or tea with honey. It might be cool enough that a 1 litre or 2 litre pop bottle can serve as the lantern and windscreen. I will try muffler tape on the inside of the pop bottle where the hot gases will pass between it and the pot. Not sure of best pot stand and mug/pot yet. I think I will make her pack, mostly because its fun. Thanks for the tip on Campmor. I will check out Stanfield's factory outlet in Truro also.

2007-01-03, 11:38
Check this out he got a good lantern with candle down at the bottom get or try make one like his

2007-01-03, 19:03
That's a pretty cool idea using a water wall between to plastic bottles but I am not sure how he managed to get a seal at the bottom and still get air in and out for the candle. It would be interesting to have a transparent Kelly Kettle made of plastic, and then use a candle for the heat source. I will try welding a 1 litre PET inside of a 2 litre PET. The trick is welding the plastic without it burning or shrinking. Lots of potential if I can figure out how to weld PET to PET.

2007-01-04, 15:46
Hmmm. Thinking about my idea... It was a long long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I was 7 years old, but I finally remembered...

...And based on that memory an alchy stove is waaay out of line for a 7 year old.

I'll leave the original post in case someone with teen kids might find it useful, but please disregard my post for your application here.

2007-01-04, 17:20
Good point GGS and thanks anyway. Buddy burner type stoves like I originally had in mind aren't safe either. Way too hot. Perhaps we had a higher tollerance for burnt brownies back when I was a kid. Further back we had seven year old lighting kerosene lanterns on a routine basis, but we also had newspaper headlines of seven year olds burning to death doing so. I think a tealight stove is what I really have in mind for now. I just want to get her used to the risks and responsibilities associated with matches and candles and hot water and clothes and air that might catch fire. Matches and tealights are enough for that, and a good start I think, with the right supervision.

2007-01-04, 17:52
I think a tealight stove is what I really have in mind for now. I just want to get her used to the risks and responsibilities associated with matches and candles and hot water and clothes and air that might catch fire. Matches and tealights are enough for that, and a good start I think, with the right supervision.

Let me know what you come up with, as I can apply that to some of the young 'uns that go camping with us. Pics are always enjoyed.


Just Jeff
2007-01-05, 01:29
Gearing up kids isn't hard, or even expensive unless you want it to be. Walmart has lots of non-cotton clothes suitable for hiking. My kids usually wear Walmart brand synthetic shirts (Starter or Athletic Works) and generic swim trunks for three season hiking. We got rain suits from the REI member sales for pretty cheap. I spent some money on the Deuter Fox 30 pack...it's worth the money, but the cheap school packs we used before that worked fine as long as the weight was low. FWIW, the Fox 30 barely fits my 7yo (but he likes it and carries it well) and fits my 11yo perfectly. I saved some money by making their quilts.

There are several pages on hiking with kids if you search. IIRC, Mark Verber has a few blurbs about kids' gear on his site www.verber.com. Here's my kids page (http://www.tothewoods.net/HikingWithKids.html)...hope you find it useful.

2007-01-05, 09:47
JustJeffhasasoftside, nice kids page! Looks great. I agree with it all. I have a few things to share as well, things I have learned my kids like to do while in the backcountry.

Books. Like I stated earlier, I like to leave room for the kids to bring along a few fun items in their pack. Both my kids like regional books which depict local flora, fauna and "rocksa'." Another favorite is a good ol' spooky story fireside book. Or, maybe a novel they are reading.

Kid Camera. Both my kids love shooting pic's of their trip, they really like showing friends and family later the pictures they took.

Bug jug. Kids can have a ton more fun when they get the chance to capture a creepy crawly or two, and then release it, only to go looking for more.

Plaster of Paris. Other cool stuff to lug along is a sandwich bag of plaster of paris. Add some water at camp, pour water into the baggie, mix, and pour into a deer or cougar track, kids get to take home animal prints from their trip.

Magnifying glass. Cool to use to look at tiny stuff crawling around, and also fun to smoke their initials into a log at camp. Ya' ya' I know, firehazard, leave no trace, blah blah blah, my kids love to do it... we usually burn up their log later...

And for the hunters...(OK, I will say it. )... A BB gun! Where we hike and play, this is OK. Might not be where you go. But think about it, in my neighborhood the kids can't do this, when else are they to learn the joy of weapons???!!! Not politically correct, but I don't care.

2007-01-05, 10:36
Thanks for the kids page Jeff.

Iceman. Great ideas. All of them. I think we might start a scrap book also and all of your ideas fit in with that nicely. Sure is mild this winter. Ah well. Woods are still woods.

Just Jeff
2007-01-05, 11:15
My kids have a little bug jug - it's actually a clear plastic cube with a magnifying glass build into the lid. Cost a dollar or two and they love it. Definitely second that idea.

I haven't done the plaster of paris thing yet, but I think about it whenever I show them a print. I'll have to get some for our next trip, I guess...I remember how much fun it was when I was a kid.

Never really thought about bringing a BB gun, but I'm a lightweight kinda guy. We've brought a slingshot that we found in a geocache, though, and they loved it. I had a CO2 pistol when I was a kid that wouldn't be too much to carry, I guess. Had a scope and everything. Maybe I'll start looking for something suitable for hiking. I live in redneck central now so I doubt anybody would have a problem with us shooting in the woods. Good idea, Iceman.

2007-01-05, 12:14
Just Jeff, excellent kids hiking page! Very informative. As I mentioned I don't have kids of my own so it takes information like this to help me remember how to think like a kid. The friends I hike and camp with have small children so this info is very helpful.

Just Jeff
2007-01-05, 17:23
Glad y'all liked the page. The biggest struggle I have when hiking with my kids is adjusting to their tempo. I want to hike, they want to explore. I want to get there so I can set up and relax, but they want to stop and rest more often and check out everything along the way. So I really try to adjust to them, and I know they adjust to me, and if they're still smiling at the end then it's all good. :D

2007-01-06, 13:34
My daughter is ultralight, in keeping with the theme I guess. Up until a few years ago I could just pop her up on the shoulders if I wanted to pick up the pace for awhile, and she would go right to sleep. In winter there is always the sled, except she never wants to get off that. :)

Anyhow she is still only 45#, so I can still carry her in a pinch, but not as a matter of routine. She is a good hiker, but likes to explore like you say, always focusing on the next few minutes rather than the next few hours. I give her the map and compass which helps a bit for her to see the big picture, but she is still really only interested in the next few minutes. On the positive side of exploring it is good to make use of to teach her about plants and rocks and bugs and stuff. Like you say, she is always smiling at the end and always very proud of our accomplishments, even if she doesn't smile all along the way. :)

2007-01-21, 21:01
Hi, everyone. It's been a while, but I thought I'd drop in again. I love this site. I had some ideas on kid gear:

My kids are 6 and 3, and I just started bringing them on short backpacking trips this past summer. I did a lot of online research beforehand, and it really helped to make the trips more enjoyable for all of us. Just Jeff's site is excellent--one of the best I found, and has lots of great ideas.

One thing about carrying gear is keeping it light, but letting them take some things of their own. A great idea I found and put to use (it may have been on Jeff's site) is to get them their own hydration packs. My kids picked their own out (my daughter's pack is pink, of course), and the bladders will hold 32 oz water, but I keep it to about 16. They can drink whenever they want, and that helps to keep them on the move a bit more. The only other things in their packs are ponchos and a snack (energy bar). A whistle is attached to the front strap.

I carry the rest. I don't want to overload their developing musculoskeletal systems with too much weight. It wouldn't be good for them or for the enjoyment of the trip.

Oh, another thing I did was to make them their own hiking staffs, which helped them on rough trails, but also gave them something to poke things with. My daughter's staff was made of an old graphite-shaft golf club my wife broke (just broke the head off the collar, not the shaft), and my son's is made from the butt section of an old, cheap fly-rod. I put the rubber tips from my poles onto the ends, and presto . . . UL kids poles!

JAK, have a great time, and enjoy your daughter. They grow up too fast, as I'm sure you know . . . Hope this post helps.

2007-01-22, 00:54
Glad y'all liked the page. The biggest struggle I have when hiking with my kids is adjusting to their tempo. I want to hike, they want to explore. I want to get there so I can set up and relax, but they want to stop and rest more often and check out everything along the way.:D
Your post clarified things for me somewhat.
I still hike like a kid.
Might be why I like to hike alone most of the time, except for my dog, and find it more restful being alone.

Of course many of my friends (who hike) are rugby players and think hiking is a competitive sport.

2007-12-05, 09:23
Jak I know you were looking for a stove but instead you might try teaching fire building skills a good campfire can be invaluable. I think I was your daughters age when I learned these skills and how important it was to leave the area as you found it by putting out the campfire appropriately. After getting the basic building of a campfire down there are good skills like how to use the campfire for warmth and cooking and knowing the difference in the style of campfire to build for each. As in which one works best to give warmth vs. wich one is best for cooking and teaching how you can judge temperature by how long you can hold your hand palm down about six inches above the coals. A skill that was taught to me in boyscouts; low heat 6-8 seconds medium 3-5 seconds and high 0-2 seconds. Use your discretion to make it safe. Can teach how building back stops can on your fire can reflect more heat back at you.