It’s the night before a hike and you’re prepping the bags. We all know the typical things we pack:

  • Water
  • Sunscreen
  • Diapers
  • Snacks

But, let’s be honest. Sometimes, Dads think of the stuff we never would have considered bringing. And gosh darn it, if those things don’t save the day or become the hit of the hike. Sourced from our own HiB community, here’s what our dads are carrying with them on hikes.

dad with two kids hiking with a mountain view

Hiking Games and Motivation (Bribes… let’s be real)

From games to tasty snacks, sometimes kiddos need a little extra motivation to finish the hike. Check out this list of scavenger hunts you can use to up the energy and fun factor on your next hike. And, if games aren’t enough, motivational snacks can get the job done. Matt Bachand of the HiB Washington DC Branch said: “M&Ms. That way I can take him out of the baby carrier and keep him hiking as much as possible. I put them at switchbacks and trail junctions to keep him motivated.”

Emergency Preparation

Beyond the all-important first-aid kit for injury triage on the trail, dads know to be prepared. Extra water is essential. Be sure to bring enough water for drinking. And bring extra water to clean a cut, wash muddy hands (before they get dirt in the eyes and cause another emergency), or clean snack-covered fingers. One Hike it Baby dad recommended soft water bottles with squirt lids to cover both drinking and clean-up. Speaking of clean-up, sometimes there is nothing else to do but change clothes. Scott Simmons of the HiB Fredericksburg, VA Branch added: “Double kid emergency clothes and diapers.”  Because you know if you don’t bring them, the baby will explode through everything.


You don’t want your hiking pack to get too heavy, but a couple of extra gadgets and gizmos can make for a better hike. Shamus Gordon, also from the HiB Fredericksburg, VA Branch, had on his list: “Plant ID app,” so they can turn their adventure into a learning opportunity and plant scavenger hunt. Another dad recommended reusable plastic bags for collecting things, from trash to treasure. The bags can also be used to pack out dirty and wet clothes. Carabiners clipped to the outside of your hiking pack always find a use. Lastly, a utility knife or multi-tool. You never know when it will come in handy, but you’ll be so glad you have it.

Which of these things are you excited to add to your hiking pack? What other things are you bringing on your hikes that you’re pretty sure no one else is thinking about? Leave us a comment and let us know.

Hike it Baby works to be the most effective hub of tools, information, and community inspiring all families with babies and young children to get outside and connect with nature. Learn more about Hike it Baby’s mission and how you can get involved.

About Hike it Baby

Hike it Baby is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to getting families outdoors and on trails across the U.S. and internationally, supporting, educating and inspiring families through their more than 300 communities across North America. Since its grassroots inception in 2013 in Portland, Oregon, Hike it Baby is now a growing community of 270,000 families and 500 volunteer branch ambassadors hosting more than 1,600 hikes per month. More information, as well as daily hike schedules, can be found at, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Photo courtesy of Stephanie Jacobson.

Editors Note:
We hope you enjoyed reading this article from Hike it Baby. We’re working hard to provide our community with content and resources that inform, inspire, and entertain you.
But content is not free. It’s built on the hard work and dedication of writers, editors, and volunteers. We do not make this ask lightly, but if you are able to afford it, make a donation, and become a Hike it Baby member.  A membership also makes a great gift for that new parent in your life. We make an investment in developing premium content to make it easier for families with young children to connect with nature and each other. If you can, please make a contribution and help us extend our reach.


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