Mama, you too can do this.

Becoming a mum meant staying true to me, which meant my little had to come with me almost anywhere- daily errands, daily hikes with my dog, swimming, our trips that require long drives or flying. There are very few times that I don’t take the little guy with me. While I just dove into it (with promises to myself and my husband I wouldn’t go crazy buying outdoor gear) I do hear a lot from mums that it’s intimidating or they’re unsure if they’re doing it right or that they can’t afford the gear.

(The early days of hiking with my little. The carrier on the left is a soft structured Boba 4G and the one on the right is a Baby K’Tan which is the Moby simplified. I now use either the Boba Air which is a super light weight nylon carrier that folds into a small pouch for easy storage, a Becco carrier that’s on loan and a Dueter Kid Comfort which is great for storage and is my go to for longer hikes.)

Yes, it takes gear to bring a baby hiking. No, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on it! You can be creative with it as well- I pointed out in the list below a couple of items that I got creative with. I find that once you start asking around, there are many consignment stores and people looking to sell or even just get rid of their gear, that includes baby outdoor clothing. Don’t forget places like TJMaxx and Marshalls- North Face and Columbia items are always there to be found at reduced prices. (Where I live anyway. Maybe it’s a regional thing.) There are baby carrier lending libraries and people willing to lend out baby carriers to let you try before you buy (or that you can borrow for a few months at a time. Mamas are super cool like that.) Don’t be intimidated by the instagram “stars” out there with super fancy and ultra expensive gear (or the ones that have so much gear you don’t know where to begin.) Grandma Gatewood hiked the Appalachian Trail with only a pair of Keds sneakers and very little in the way of supplies and she was 67 years old.

If the idea of taking your baby with you on your adventures is intimidating, try bringing someone along (or a few someones.) Hike It Baby and Adventure Mama groups are to be found all over the US and has mom hiking groups on it as well. Facebook and Instagram are even more resources for finding these lovely groups and these women are always glad to help you along. These women will cheer you on, snuggle your baby or hold your toddler’s hand while you tend to something. They’ll provide a snack if you forgot one. They’ll make you laugh and without meaning to, remind you of why you went outside in the first place: To relax. To be in the moment. To breathe.

Don’t forget that you can bring your baby or toddler almost anywhere! They’ll love climbing over rocks with you and feeling the gentle breeze on their face at the top of a mountain. Even cooler, they probably won’t mind being out in the rain or snow as long as it’s not extreme. Mine sure doesn’t. There’s gear for that: umbrellas, raincoats, rainboots, hiking carriers with shields. There are hiking spots for every family type out there and so many resources to help you find them. Try bringing your little(s) to short hikes to waterfalls or lakes (I know of one that is quite literally 3 minutes long and has seasonal restrooms and picnic tables.) You can even sneak in a little lesson on how to treat nature with respect (carry in/carry out for example) and instill a love for the outdoors while you’re at it. Win/Win right there.

Mama, you too can do this.

My list of what to bring on a hike:

  • Plenty of water for you and your littles.
  • Snacks and/or lunch for all. Yeah, I say for all because I hear a lot of mamas say how they forgot to bring food for themselves!
  • I like to bring an umbrella on all hikes.
  • Grocery bags can be folded up into triangles to save space (youtube it or think back to folding notes) and so I always carry a few with me for anytime I might need it: picking up poop, putting a diaper in, wet clothes, for trash, etc. Dog bags work great as well. (One way to be creative while repurposing and saving money.)
  • I am signed up with Ipsy for monthy makeup products and so have a stash of the bags (usually I’m not over the moon about them but they help keep stuff organized and other people end up with them sometimes) and have taken a carabiner, a key ring and hooked it up to my baby carrier of the day for easy access to my car keys, phone and a snack or two.  Another creative way to save money and repurpose.
  • SkipHop makes a great diaper clutch that fits nicely into any bag you are likely to bring on a hike: it unfolds into a changing pad and has space for diapers and even comes with its own small wipes case. There is room to stash some stuff in and it comes with a strap that clips for additional ways to store. It has remained one of my favorite baby gear items.
  • A first aid kit.
  • Personally, I love bringing my phone or a camera to take photos but that’s besides the point. I hate selfie sticks but I sometimes bring one because as the photographer I so rarely have photos taken on me and my son hiking (or on the rare moments that my husband joins us, my family.) I want visuals because photographs make my heart sing.
  • A paci if your little(s) are into that. Meltdowns happen.
  • Wear or bring the correct gear. On longer hikes I really like to stash away a rain coat or another layer for us.
  • A map of the area if you’re unfamiliar.
  • Sunscreen and bug spray when applicable.

My list of resources:

  • Check out discount stores like TJMaxx & Marshalls for gear. They have baby carriers and kid’s outdoor clothing. It might be slim pickings but it’s certainly better than nothing. I always start checking before the next season and all throughout.
  • Consignment stores for children are all over the place and always have a variety of baby carriers and other kids clothing items.
  • Baby carrier lending libraries: as there are so many I advise you to google it with your location (city/town and state) and see what pops up. Boba (they make great carriers by the way) has a blog post on how to start your own if you don’t have any near you. There are also groups for women who need help fitting the carrier they may have already bought to them. So awesome!
  • Check in with local libraries, your local hospital or OB/GYN office, facebook, local store’s bulletin boards, REI’s and other outdoor gear stores, etc for groups that can help you with finding the right gear for you and women to adventure with.

None of the companies mentioned above have asked me or paid me to review or promote their gear. They have no clue that they’re being mentioned in my blog post. As I have very little readers and followers, I doubt they even care. Rest assured, this is my actual opinion. That being said, if you want gear or a product reviewed, I’m always willing. However, I will test it and give my honest opinion.

xo, Ev.

You can follow me on Instagram: @knowloveknowhope