In a perfect world for most outdoor families our kids walk or bike (or ski) to school each day. We don’t want to strap them into cars for the short journey to school, or we want to bike commute ourselves. This is great when the weather is perfect and the sun is out, but then there’s the rest of the year. And many of us (ourselves included) are part of a two working parent family, so the kids are in after school programs or all-day daycare/preschool and have to be picked up when it's dark out.
What are the best ways to get the kids to school and home as safely as possible, while minimizing whining?
Make it a habit:
Make it fun:
Keep them visible:
Set up an organization system for the gear:
Here are some tips on gear to use:
Other references for good tips on bicycle commuting in the winter:
Bike touring can be a really fun way to explore new places with kids, including small kids. Our biggest concern was to find a place with bike paths or roads that we felt were safe enough to take kids on for longer distances. Ideally we wanted a place where we could go camping as well.
Since we were visiting family in Europe, we decided to try bike camping in France, which is famous for bike camping on the canals. We spent 10 days bike camping in Brittany, with a 3 year old and a 6 year old and all four of us had an amazing trip. I don’t know of places to do this in the US, so I would love suggestions if there are good places to do it closer to home.
Here are our tips on how to go bike camping with kids:
First, figure out the kids transportation method:
This is the tagalong we used that had a rack on it.
Next, figure out where to go:
Finally, figure out gear:
Extra considerations for trips far from home:
Details of our trip:
The biggest challenge to hiking or backpacking with kids is keeping them moving. It's so important, because we all need to be able to count on completing our hikes before dark or making it to our campsites in time for dinner. Here are the tips we have compiled over the years of hiking with our kids and with our friends:
Get the right pacing and timing of breaks:
Be prepared with multiple options of entertainment (rotate through these as needed):
How to avoid stopping in between designated breaks:
Our biggest advice is to keep experimenting and keep getting out there! We believe that you will eventually find something that will work for your family. If you have any specific questions, feel free to reach out to us. And as always, please give us more suggestions of things to add to this list.
Two Silicon Valley engineers who have had a love of the outdoors since childhood. Parents of two small kids, spending our free time exploring the outdoors with them.