Hiking as a family is one of our favourite things to do together. Since the boys are now four and seven-years-old, hiking with them is a lot easier now as we can go for longer hikes.

We go hiking very often in the warmer months, and our goal is to hike more now during the winter as well. We are definitely fortunate to live in Vancouver, where we can hike year-round.

Essentials To Always Take With You When Hiking

Are you thinking about going for a nice walk or hike?  I have put together a Hiking Essentials checklist with some items you will need to pack for safety, survival and basic comfort. See the full list below.

Essentials To Always Take With You When Hiking

  • Water Bottles: Pack water bottles for everyone going hiking, I always pack enough water for the four of us, including full bottles for the boys.
  • Map/GPS/Compass: Always carry a paper map of the area you are exploring, even if you think you are familiar with the area. We use our phone’s compass and GPS, but it is recommended to have an actual compass with you in case your phone runs out of charge.
  • Sunscreen: Your skin will need protection from the sun so make sure to pack your sunscreen and reapply during your hike as necessary, even during the winter!
  • Small Flashlight with Batteries: My husband and I both carry small flashlights to have in case of emergency. We always hike during the day, but you must be prepared.
  • Small First-Aid Kit: I have a little First-Aid Kit I carry with me when going on hikes. I’ve had to use band-aids in the past when one of the boys fell and scraped his knees and having the essentials made me feel prepared.
  • Matches or Lighter: We always carry a lighter in our backpacks to use if needed. Having a way to start a fire is important in case of emergency.
  • Extra day’s supply of food: Bring more or less food depending on how long you are hiking, but always bring more food than you think you would need. I often pack extra snack bars, bags with nuts and fruits and other filling snacks.
  • Pocket Knife or Multi-tool: I have a small Swiss Army knife that I carry in my hiking backpack. Again, it is better to be prepared than you be caught with nothing in an emergency.
  • Reflective Blankets: I ordered a couple of reflective blankets from Amazon, and they come in a small package that’s perfect to throw in your bag and forget about it. The blankets will be handy if you end up looking for shelter in unexpected circumstances.
  • Dress appropriately: Since it’s winter time, be sure to wear warm clothes, including gloves, a hat, and appropriate shoes for the terrain,  to stay warm and safe when going for a hike.

Essentials To Always Take With You When Hiking

Hiking can help increase your bone density and fight arthritis and osteoporosis. The fresh air and exercise are also great mood enhancers and exercise is necessary for active little ones too. Grab your winter jacket, hat and gloves and your hiking backpack and go!

When was the last time you went for a hike? Is it possible to hike in the winter where you live? I realize hiking during the winter isn’t even an option in some places when temperatures drop so much.

Are you a local? Here are some ideas with some places to go hiking with kids in YVR! Cleveland Dam and Capilano Hatchery, Lynn Headwaters Regional Park, Burnaby Lake Park, Grouse Mountain, Rice Lake.