Kid Blog Post

Post 1 by the “Older Kiddo”

(Photo taken by “Older Kiddo” when we were camping at Little Lyford Ponds)

Hey guys, I was thinking about backpacking, and my mom (the chemist) came up with the blog idea for what to look forward to or worry about when talking about backpacking. Here is a list of 5 things to look forward to:

  1. Sleeping under the stars
  2. The great views
  3. The family time
  4. A (hopefully) peaceful walk in nature
  5. The food

and a list of 5 things to worry about:

  1. Bears
  2. Getting Sick
  3. Not having enough food
  4. Having too much stuff
  5. Your backpack breaking

I hope this blog entry was helpful, and if so, I hope you tell other people about what we post on our blog.

Thank You,                                                                                                                                                            The Older Kiddo

Recipes for the Trail

Snack Idea: Energy Bites

Here is one snack that I know everyone in our family will eat on the trails, Energy Bites! The basic recipe comes from the Minimalist Baker’s “Peanut Butter Cup Energy Bites.” These are our go to snack for school lunches, after school, hiking, traveling, really anytime is a good time to eat these. This recipe make 18 to 20 bites.

Ingredients:

IMG_1136 2
Energy bites with chocolate chips, coconut flakes, and chia seeds.

Base Ingredients (only 3 ingredients!):

  • 1 cup dates (if they are really dry soak them in warm water for 10-20 minutes)
  • 2/3 cup oats
  • 4 tablespoons peanut butter (I like to use chunky)

Additions to the Base:

  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup dried fruits (raisins, apricots, apples, cranberries)
  • 1-2 tablespoons coconut flakes
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon flax seeds
  • 1 teaspoon honey (if you like them a little sweeter, cut down on the peanut butter so they aren’t too wet)

Directions: 

Place the dates (and other dry fruit if using) in a food processor and pulse 10-15 times until your have small bits. Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and pulse another 10-15 times. Scoop out ~1 tablespoon of the mixture (this does not have to be exact) into the palm of your hand and roll it into a ball. Once you have rolled all of the mixture into balls put them an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow them to firm up. Bites can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week in the refrigerator. Even though it’s suggested that you store them in the fridge they keep their shape and travel well hiking.

Backpacking Supplies

Gearing Up: Backpacks

I have to admit, when we started looking into what gear we would need to go backpacking, I almost threw in the towel.We are lucky enough to live a short drive from the L.L. Bean flagship store, but after our first visit to look at gear I was definitely feeling overwhelmed. Do I need a super light, super compressible sleeping bag that costs hundreds of dollars? What about a $14 titanium spork? It was super light! Which inflatable pillow should I get? Do I even need one?

Luckily I saw an advertisement for a clinic at L.L. Bean on how to pack your backpack. We were the only four people at the clinic so we were able to get all of our questions answered, got some great insider advice on what to bring (and what not to bring), and we picked out most of the major gear that we’d need.

Here is what we outfitted ourselves with for backpacks:

The Geologist: He already had a bag, lucky us (I hope)! A year or so ago, maybe inspired by the movie “Wild”, he chose a pack for his 5 year anniversary gift from the company he works for. Who knows if it really fits well, or will last, at the time we had no clue what to look for. At the very least it will allow is to get through our first summer of hiking and figure out if we like it.

The Chemist: I had a hard time choosing a pack. I was torn between three, the Deuter ACT Lite 60+10, the Youth Osprey Ace 75, and the Gregory Amber 60. You know, it’s hard to chose a bag when you’ve never been backpacking before! I liked the Youth Osprey bag because eventually the kids could use it, and it has great adjustability. The Deuter was heavenly, it felt so light! However it was really tall on my back so if I wear my hair up it would constantly be hitting the top of the bag. Lord knows I’m not going to be leaving my hair down for more then 5 minutes on a hike, let alone for days!

I finally decided on the Gregory Amber 60. Honestly, the price was right ($150 at Backcountry.com), I think it is an older model. It fits well overall, although the Deuter was more comfortable on my hips. Who knows how it will feel out in the wild, I’ll have to report back after our first trip. It’s a nice blue color, had a rainfly, AND it has a removable bag that can be used as a daypack. I have a feeling the daypack will come in very handy. Our plan for our first few trips is to hike places where we don’t have to go too far to get to a camping spot. We’ll shed our packs and then explore the area during the day.

The Oldest Kiddo: He’s going to be toting the Youth Osprey Ace 50. That seemed like a good starting size for him. Like I said before, the youth packs are totally adjustable, so if in a year or two when our younger guy is ready to carry a pack he can take this one and our older kiddo can get the Ace 75, or (I hate to think about it) a grown up sized pack!

The Younger Kiddo: Well we can’t just have him not carry anything. I’d prefer he went without a bag, but he wants to be like everyone else. You can probably guess who will likely be carrying the bag after a 1/2 mile into the hike!! At L.L. Bean he put on the Osprey Ace 50 and wouldn’t take it off (he’s wearing his brother’s in the picture), determined that was the bag he’d be getting. Based on recommendations from the employee running the clinic, who was a avid backpacker, and friends, I’m going to get our little man the CamelBak Scout Hydration Pack. He can carry his clothing and lighter weight items. That will make him feel like he’s a big guy, but if he decides not to carry for the whole hike it won’t add to much weight to the person who is stuck with it.

We plan on heading out on our first backpacking adventure in May, so I will report back then on how everyone’s pack faired, and what we loved and maybe didn’t love about them!  For now we still have a lot more to research, tents, water filtration, food, places to hike, cooking supplies and heat sources!

Happy trails…

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A little bit about us!

We are starting this blog to document our adventures as a family in the wilderness. We are a family of four and in the spring of 2017 we are planning to go out on our first of many backpacking adventures! We have always loved hiking and camping and melding the two together seemed like an obvious next step. As we embark on this adventure we are researching gear, food options (we are vegetarian, and often prefer vegan options), and the best beginner trails.

I hope you will come along for the adventure as we embark on this new chapter and share with you everything we learn along the way.