RESEARCH TRAILS BEYOND RATINGS:
“Family-friendly” trail ratings aren’t always reliable, because they’re generally geared toward older children. That’s where community crowd-sourcing and guidebooks such as Hike it Baby come in handy. Considerations not found in typical guidebooks that parents should be aware of include cellphone reception, drinkable water, benches for nursing, restrooms, nappy-changing areas and a listing of “potential child or baby hazards” such as poison ivy, steep drop-offs and rushing water.
BUY AN APPROPRIATE CARRIER:
Hodges recommends trying on an assortment of carriers and getting advice from fellow hikers. Her book also includes tips for going tandem carrying two children in carriers.
BE PREPARED TO TEND TO BUSINESS TRAILSIDE:
Polk says many parents ask her about trailside nappy changing. Her tips include having a cloth to place children on, checking for poison plants and rocks, and shielding their faces from the sun.
Hodges has perfected the art of breast-feeding while in motion with her son in his carrier and has taught many moms to do the same (also detailed in her book).
DON’T LIMIT YOURSELF:
In addition to hikes, the Markos take their children on backpacking and canoe camping trips.
The Markos first canoe camped in 2016, when Jack was 2 and Maura was six months pregnant with Rowan.
The couple, who speak frequently at outdoor events, are seeing more interest in backpacking and canoe camping with young children. They were hearing from more parents wanting to get outside with their young children, they said.