View Full Version : Family Friendly Backpacking

2008-05-17, 02:35
Okay, I grew up as the only boy in a home with 3 kids. My dad and I were in the woods, desert, etc at least once a month year round. So I am very comfortable in the great out doors, my dad taught me well he served in Vietnam - Green Beret SF.
What I need help with is this. I'm now grown up and have a family with a wife who wants to be there with me and instead of being 2(my dad and I) it is currently 6 and if we boys leave the girls at home there are still 4 of us. So what i need some suggestions with is how to expand the needs to fit the greater number.

my main concern is with shelter, what is the best number of shelters and how large, models as example would be great. As the boys get bigger I'll move to splitting up at night a lot more, but as they are all under 10 right now, I'm doing the caring for the most part. Also, we live in Utah so we do a lot of packing in the desert, I really like the hammock idea especially as the boys get older, how feasible are they in such arid (treeless areas)?

Thanks for the input and let me know if I'm not clear enough on what I'm asking.

2008-05-17, 19:53
Hiking or camping? Over night hiking with kids who cant carry their own needs is tough.
More info needed.
What distances?
What can you carry over the allotted timeframe?
What season of the year?

2008-05-18, 00:40
Hiking or camping? Over night hiking with kids who cant carry their own needs is tough.
More info needed.
What distances?
What can you carry over the allotted timeframe?
What season of the year?
Thanks for your willingness to help out Amigi!

My boys are at the age that we can start thinking about doing a backpacking overnighter. We camp a lot.
I have a couple faverites that my dad and I did when I was really young. My youngest boy is 3 and can tops out at 2 miles, so there are a few lakes in high Uintas that are reachable and a few places down in southern utah and in a few of the NP we have.
I'm in good shape, 180# 5'11" and can manage a decent amount of weight over this distance (<2) miles which takes us a little over an hour to do with the necessary breaks.
Since they are young I don't plan to take them out much past Aug. I won't take any one under 9 out in the winter.

So, as you mentioned, since I'm the primary carrier (my oldest can handle is sleeping gear, change of clothes, and necessary water; my second can carry his sleeping bag and pad) I was wondering if anyone had any tips that I could use to lighten the load, and what kind of tent(s) people have found works best when out with their families.

The hammock question was pretty much unrelated, I was just wondering how feasible it is to use trekking poles or the like when down in the Moab/arches/canyonland country (desert with no trees that deserve the name).

Thanks again, and hope I clarified sufficiently.

2008-05-18, 02:05
Well, I have no hiking experience in the desert, so cant help with the hammock question.

I'd check out REI and SteepandCheap for lightweight two person tents. If it doesnt rain, you could leave your gear outside in garbage bags ( scorpions ).

Light weight 2 person tent - http://www.rei.com/product/761893
Better, but slightly heavier tent - http://www.rei.com/product/753332

My recommendations for stove depending on what you want to cook -

Always check out REI-Outlet. Sometimes they get overstocked on stuff. I go tmy latest Jetboil PCS for 40 bucks on there.

Anymore questions, let me know. Hope all this helped.

2008-05-18, 13:47
This is what I use when going out with 2 grandkids--a lightweight (<3 lb.) but roomy 3-person tent. There's room for my 80-lb. dog, too!


It's great that you're taking your kids out!

2008-05-18, 15:55
This is great, thank you both for your great ideas, it helps a lot!

I had no idea that there were so many options out there. I'm really excited to get out and show the boys how diverse and beautiful Utah really is.

If there were a handful of options that are a must for shelter what would you say they are? Just trying to get my mind wrapped around it all.

One quick question about the tarptent, how does it do in significant rain? In the high Uintas here (about 8000+'), you can plan on it raining atleast once a day, my concern is with the floor primarily.

Thanks again.

2008-05-19, 14:57
If you are looking at taking all 6 and you're going to carry it all anyway, a Kelty Trail Dome 6 is probably the WTG. I have a DW and 3 DDs (ages 8, 4, and 2) and w/ DW carrying the youngest I get pretty much the rest.