Family Backpacking Safety:
Because we hike with our kids, I err on the side of caution for our family backpacking safety supplies and probably pack more than we truly need. However, the few extra ounces in safety supplies are more than worth the peace of mind that feeling prepared brings. The main item in our safety sack is a Adventure Medical Kits Weekender Kit. Because we have a larger family, we pack a large but compact first aid kit and this one fits our needs perfectly. The best part about this particular kit is the extra room which gives the ability to customize according to your own family’s needs. I do make a couple of changes in ours- first, I trade out the tweezers and bandage scissors for ones that are more effective. I also add Nalgene Snap Cap Vials filled with any prescriptions we are currently taking and the medicines we use the most often such as children’s and adult ibuprofen. In addition, I add a small tube of neosporin which we use regularly, as well as additional sheets of Moleskin and Band-Aid Blister Cushions to treat blisters that sometimes crop up.
Also included in our safety sack are a small plastic container of Waterproof Matches, one bottle of Water Treatment Tablets to use if our purification system fails and small bottles of both sunscreen and insect repellent. When packing, I make sure that our safety supplies are at the top of whichever pack it is going in so that we don’t have to dig around to find it. As our kids have gotten older, we tend to spread out further along the trail and I usually pack our safety supplies in my pack as I often take up the rear and hike with whichever kiddo is flagging that day. That way, if someone needs first aid supplies, I am always catching up to the person who needs it. It is not fun to hurry along a crying, scraped up kid to catch up to band aids- trust me.
There are a few items that are safety supplies that I don’t pack with this group because everyone has them. Each of us has a Safety Whistle attached to the shoulder straps of our packs. We also each carry a pocket knife in one of the small front pockets in our backpack waist straps. Dave’s is a multi-use tool like this, and I carry a more simple one like this. In addition, when hiking in bear country we always stick together and at least one of us carries a holster of Bear Spray hung on the OUTSIDE of the pack so that we can grab it if needed. Thankfully, we have never needed to use it.
When family backpacking, safety is of upmost importance and we err on the side of caution when packing. But with basic planning, you can relax and have a fantastic adventure.
Click HERE to read our entire Family Backpacking 101 Series to get you out on the trail for your own adventures!
Do you have any safety tips for family backpacking? I’d love to hear them!