Hiking and camping are among the most enjoyable of warm weather sports.  Economical, relaxing, healthy, the adjectives go on and on.  Hiking short or long distances is the perfect way to begin a day, end a day, or fill a day with one of the most healthy exercises adults and children can use.  For youngsters infatuated with digital devices, hiking through a mountain or valley terrain may seem mild, yet the more they participate the wider their imaginations expand and suddenly fun happens.

Planning is Important

If a family hike is on the horizon, plan to make it enjoyable for everyone in your party which usually means extra snacks for youngsters.  Teens and young adults will place hydration at the top of their needs and a bag of trail mix or jerky is welcome as well.   If you have new hikers in your group, a bit of pre-trip research can help make their first time more fun with interesting facts about the hike including unique trees, birds or plants they are likely to find.  Consider taking compact binoculars so that members can get a magnified look at birds and other animals they may encounter.

Boots and Bugs

Footwear is as important as any piece of clothing you may take.  Youngsters, even teens may want to wear flip-flops or meager sandals which can suffice in limited circumstances such as beach walks and very short hikes.  Generally, if you will be covering distance, you want a sturdy pair of athletic shoes or hiking boots that fit properly and are well broken in.  Thick cotton socks, or better yet Moreno wool, will help pad feet and prevent blisters.

Summer hiking almost always includes unpleasant insects.  Mosquitoes are now a health risk and far more than the nuisance they used to be.  Ticks too, deserve a healthy spray of permethrin on shorts, shoes, and trousers.

This post from Recreation.gov gives a thorough explanation of ten must-have items for hiking.  Each has a great picture which makes it perfect for your younger hiking members or those who have difficulty heeding advice:

Plunge right into summer with a hike. The positive results are almost instant — fresh air (fill your lungs), peace (take in the silence), exercise (so satisfying) and simply taking the time to sneak away from the daily grind. So, slather your kids (and yourself) with sunscreen, lace up those old boots, swing your backpack on and set out for an adventure!