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Anybody BackPacked, Biked, Trekked with their tots?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Experiences? Suggestions? What do I absolutely need to have?

I'm looking to do a 225 mile bike trip with Owen and Caleb next May... They will be almost 5 and just over 2 respectively...

Anything you would have done different? Hadn't thought about before hand??

Thanks, ladies!

post #2 of 27
You need to have food, diapers and protective clothing. Everything else is optional. Pack light.
post #3 of 27
I was just wondering about this myself we haven't done any backpacing for the past two years and I have already been dreaming about trips this spring!! Ours will be 1 and 2.5 this spring. It sounds like fun
post #4 of 27
I took my 5yr old dd with me to Costa Rica for 4 months and hikd/camped around. She was 2.5 yrs at the time. I had a small bag of clothes for her, no diapers. She was dry during the day, no prob, but night was hard. She peed during the night sometimes, and all I had were some flannel inserts to put in her underwear, so we had the occasional pee smelling blankets. I also had a very small bag of toys/ books. I mean, it was small. People gave her things along the way. You don't need much. I didn't keep much food either. She ate when we did. I didn't need a sleeping bag in the tropical climate, so we shared blankets. I carried all our stuff in one backpack (filled to the MAX!) I think it's easier with one kid per adult and in warm weather where you don't need to carry lots of clothes. Good luck! Sounds fun! megan
post #5 of 27
Please keep us posted! I WOULD love to do a major bike trek this summer or next!!!!
BUT, where are you going? That's what we can't figure out.:

Are you using a Burley? How about the other parent? Using a Bob or panniers?
post #6 of 27
Thread Starter 
BusyMommy, I was looking at doing the Katy Trail with my friend... I beleive it's in Missouri?

I haven't really worked out details... I know I'm going to use a trailor, probably one for each child, and I will pull one, and my best friend will pull the other... RECOMMENDATIONS? I don't know ANYTHING about bike trailors...

post #7 of 27
We haven't done anything that long, we do hike often and I just throw on the didymos (backpack style) and go. Dathan carries an extra diaper or two in his pack and that is it. I BF her so it's all we need. Sounds like alot of fun Em!

post #8 of 27
practice before you go
build up your muscles in your legs.

i loved to bicycle with Lance, but he was sooooo heavy at three years old I could hardly petal him.

my friend use to put him on her bike and i'd take her lighter kid....i am not that strong though.

it can be FUN, but a baby on back of bike can get hard to petal up hills especially.

Enjoy yourself. Sounds FUN!
post #9 of 27
A year or so ago dh and I were in Oregon for a marathon and realized how beautiful the Oregon coast is. I don't know the length but apparently the Oregon Coast Trail is wonderful and we actually meet several people who were doing it. Now it is one of our dreams.

What about backpacking? We have always loved backpacking too, but don't know how to do it with child in tow. I assume one would be carring the babe and light gear and the other adult would carry all our gear. We like to go overnight and this seems like a bunch of stuff. Food, sleeping bags, etc.
post #10 of 27
I think it's a great idea. Since you will each have a child in a trailer, and will need to carry along supplies such as first aid kit, repair kit, water, weather protection for each day, swim wear and towels, spare clothes for the kids...I don't think you'll have much room left for your other gear...such as your change of clothes, toiletries, etc. so you would benefit from using a transport service for that gear...one that you could call and get a ride from if you had trouble reaching your destination at the end of each day.

Last summer I stayed for almost a month at a B&B on Le P'tite Train du Nord, a bike trail north of Monreal in the Ste. Laurentians. Once or twice, a couple would call around 10 p.m. and wonder if the host/hostess could fetch them. (They couldn't because they didn't have bike racks on their vehicle and at any rate weren't licensed for taxi services...the best they could do was let them off the hook for the reservation...they didn't have to do that but were kind-hearted...and try to recommend a place that might have rooms)...unfortunately, this is what happens when you haven't arranged with a transport service in advance...)
The other option is to plan on only a few miles each day but that would probably be pricier than transport service and it commits you to biking even in the worst weather to get to the next reserved destination. If you plan to camp, that's good too, but even campsites require reservations...if you're lucky then that trail will have general group campsites that don't. If you have 2 vehicles then you can work out a leap-frog system where in the morning then you all drive to the next location and leave a vehicle, then drive back to the starting point, pedal to your next destination, and then go back and fetch the vehicle you left at the start. It sounds worse than it is - remember you can drive in 20 minutes what it might take all day to pedal with hills and stops for activities with the kids! This is the method I had worked out in my mind for doing a bike trail with a good friend.

Now, everyone I met at the B&B who was biking looked like they were having a terrific time.

I live over close to Portsmouth, sometimes I head over towards Newbury, near Lake Sunapee...if you want to get together and bike with the kids in the spring, for training, we could figure something out between my Burley, my Rhode Gear seat and my Trail-R-bike...maybe we could put the little ones in the Burley and you could ride with your 5 year old with the Trail-R-bike. There are some nice bike paths I know of around here to ride on...do you have a road bike or a mountain bike? I have a decent bike rack on my car, too : ) I used to ride with two prechoolers in my Burley...I used to have strong legs, too! On hills! I don't know what I'm capable of now...since I moved I haven't really been biking all that much because it's required going in the car to get to the safe roads : ( But I WILL now that my 'baby' can sit up in the Burley and have more fun if I put him in the seat on the rack.

ooooo, I am so envious. I so wanted to do the trail up in Quebec this summer, but it's not in the cards for me : ( I may bring my bike & trailer up there though and do a part of it.

post #11 of 27
Hey guys,
Please lets keep in touch. I am serious about wanting to do a bike trek w/kids. I'd even cheat and try to stay at hostels/B&Bs/hotels, etc.
Boy, it'd be ideal to have a sag wagon. But, my concern are the roads so it seems it'd have to be a long trail.

My brain is pretty fried right now-over committed in too many areas. But, let's bring it up again.

Alaska has some fun overnights. You can ride in Denali Nat'l Park, but I think the exhaust would kill you.

Trailers: we use Burley b/c of its reputation.
I"ve always used panniers, but would switch to a bob b/c I've heard too many raves about stability and ease.

Practice LOTS, esp. on hills. That's what kills me.
post #12 of 27
Ok, if anyone is serious about wanting to do a bike trek with a toddler, please let me know because I would really like to do the one this summer in Quebec, just north of Montreal. My son is going to camp up there from July 24 to August 15. He would really like to do the trail as well...we could go starting August 16 and begin at the northernmost point and go as far as we have time for - no more than 10 days. My experience with B&B and general prices there is that B&B would be about $40 US per person sharing a room per night, that includes breakfast...at some places you can get dinner by arrangement that's about $12 (French cooking, served late, not many vegetarian options but you could ask)...for lunch it is easy enough to get sandwiches and yogurt at the convenience stores and have a picnic or there are many inexpensive places along the trail. There is ready swimming in many places as the trail parallels a river for some distance (Riviere Rouge) and there are laundry facilities as well along the way. I would definitely use transport service as they also can provide repairs and general assistance. I'm not interested in biking and camping, it's either or! and I would rather bike. The trail is quite nice but it is not paved all the way through...although it is nicely groomed...you would be better off with a trail bike. I think I would plan on 30-35 kilometers a day. That seems reasonable.

I was planning to go to family camp that week but I think it is difficult with a toddler. In any case, I could stop by the camp to say hello when passing through that town.

I sort of speak French. Always working on that. Many people speak English there too of course.

If I am going to make plans, they need to be sooner rather than later as it's a popular trail.

Here is a link to the trail...it is 200 km long.

post #13 of 27
Let me check on airfare, etc. That's pretty far so I wonder if we'd get soaked
post #14 of 27
The exchange rate in Canada is great these days. And I find that the prices are in any case more reasonable than the States, dollar for dollar.

Where would you be flying from? My boyfriend went to BC to go cruising with his dad and he got a round trip from the east coast for $202. (Not a typo.)

post #15 of 27
Geez, that's criminal!

So, I guess I'm also looking into any kind of burley friendly trails in the Pacific NW, etc. area.

But, it'd be pretty cool to see a new part of the country.

Boy, I took French from 7th grade to senior year of college. Wonder if I'd remember any?
post #16 of 27
Oooo, Alaska. But I can barely stand the mosquitoes here in Maine!

I think if you can get to Canada, like Yellowknife, then you can get good rates to Montreal, maybe there is a way to get it using Canadian $? Maybe it doesn't make a difference the way they figure it though.

$202 does sound a little criminal...but it was on Travelocity. It was round trip. I think he also had to take a seaplane but that wasn't included...his dad arranged that part.
post #17 of 27
We haven't done any bike touring since we had our ds (and number 2 is due in 3 days), but I just wanted to say that ds is 3 1/2 now and only just fits in the bike trailer. I would be surprised if you could get a 5 year old in there, unless s/he is small, and even more surprised if you could pull it up a hill with all the gear as well. Pulling a trailer is MUCH harder than riding with the same weight in panniers because they have a huge amount of wind resistance. Have you looked into getting a trailer bike for the 5 year old (like a little kids bike with an attatchment onto the seat tube of an adults bike)? Of course you couldn't expect the child to ride then if it was raining.

Good luck.
post #18 of 27
Where I used to live was near a small mountain range (1-3K feet) I would put my preschooler in the trailer, sometimes with his friend, and bike. You DO need to have strong legs and you DO need to be aware that if you have any weight at all on the back of the bike your traction and your braking will be compromised. Also you need to avoid bumps. Some provinces/states don't allow children to be on bikes in any form of carrier until past 1 year of age...this is a good idea because the bumps are amplified if they are over the wheel and it can have the same effect as shaken baby syndrome! Never forget helmet and orange flag...rear view mirror is also good to have.

I would put my 4 year old, beach towels, beach toys, water and snacks in a small cooler, and off we would go...the road to the town dock was 1 mile UPhill, but we went by a house where Arnold Schwartenegger's (sp?) writer lived and always wondered if Arnold himself was there...so I would NEVER get off the bike to walk...I wanted Arnold to see my fit mama butt going up that hill with my load! I was known all over town for being able to ride with the trailer...sometimes we would go around a big loop, about 20 miles for a little afternoon jaunt...we would meet bikers from out of town (flatlanders!) who were winded on their lightweight racing cycles...tee hee.

But you're right...biking with a trailer does take some stamina. When my son was 5 I would ride him to Kindergarten every day on his TrailRBike...no reason kids can't ride in the rain if they have the right gear. There are ponchos made for bike riding...you can cut them down to be safe...or there is one available at weegear.com

post #19 of 27

biking with kids

Absolutely, the 5-yo should be on a trailerbike! The experience will be great for him!
My 5-yo DD got a trailerbike last summer and rode to the Philly Zoo down the Wissahickon Creek Bridle path with dad--20 miles. We ride frequently with her. Sleepies is right; I just couldn't haul her up another hill in her Rhode Gear seat once she was 4. But I can actually feel her pedaling when we get startewd after being stopped at a red light!
We have camped and done some hiking all her life. She went up Hawk Mountain in Eastern Pennsylvania for us before she could walk. Daddy had her in a front pack.
The logistics of diapers on such a trip would probably have had me stumped, tho. Even with the small supply I took on other trips, it was a lot of volume (tho' not weight, except when wet LOL).
We are planning a trip to Holland this summer. They have some interesting deals where they put you up on a canal barge, and while you sleep the barge moves to a new town. You get off, cycle around, come back to the barge for nighttime. DH and I have tended to wander around looking for cheap sleeps/tent on the run, or hostel, but we realize that kind of casualness might make for an unhappy trip for a 5-yo. If we were going to Ireland, I'd probalby do it that way, tho. I can't get lost in Ireland.
DH cycled down the Oregaon coast and stayed in really cheap biker hiker campgrounds all the way down. they were spaced close enough together that you could end the day's travel pretty early if cycling wasn't on the agenda for your kids.
One thing I'd recommend, is have a day off the bike like every third day or so, or the kid's will lose their enthusiasm. How long were you planning the trip to take? Heck 2 grownups could do 225 miles easily in a few days, but with kids, that COULD take a month!
And I agree--pare down. We went on a 6 wk bike trip years ago and got by with just back panniers with his biker/hiker tent strapped to his bike and the cookstove stuff in one of my panniers, with room for groceries. We never were really hard up for clothes; we could get to a laundromat once a week. You'll resent carrying stuff you don't need. I've always thought the advice that the little one has to be responsible for carrying anything she wants to bring good advice. DD gets to pick what she wants to bring, then has to put it in her backpack and carry it around town a while. She leraves lots more behins dthan she planned on...
post #20 of 27
Well, here we are talking about bicycling and it's snowing outside my window! (Finally - we just got the XC skis out of the attic yesterday.)

I totally agree...an adult could do 200K in a long weekend...we are only planning on cycling 1 1/2 hours in the morning and 1 1/2 hours in the afternoon every day...want to have time for lunch, beach, laundry, socializing, looking at nature...and allowing for the weather...potty training/diapers...keeping a journal. My Burley is an older model...it's a 2-seater and is definitely not built for wind resistance...on the other hand the bike path we'll be on is sheltered on both sides by forests...not a whole lot of wind where we'll be, thank goodness. On the other hand, there's lots of room in the Burley. I've had it for a good 10 years now...one thing I like is that I can detach it from the bike and use it as a stroller...nice for transport...will probably bring it to the farmer's fair next fall.

Can you post more details about this barge/bike cruise in Holland? I am in the thinking stage of planning a trip to that area of the world, roughly, in summer 2003. Would appreciate some links...you don't have to post your travel dates of course since we're on line...safety safety...but would like to know the names of some of the tour operators, different cruise itineraries, equipment that's available there for biking with children, and so forth.

And of course, we expect a trip report when you return! And I will do the same.

I wonder if we should start a new forum for family trekking?

I may get a little trailer or rig up my 11 year old's bike with rack bags...he needs to be slowed down! We do the same thing when backpacking or XC skiing...we seriously weight down my boyfriend...have a great photo of him on a log crossing with not one, not two, but three packs hanging off his body...him with a stick in each hand for balance : ) This summer I'm going to get my toddler in my kayak...we practiced a bit last summer. Only calm tidal river waters though. Not ocean, not whitewater. No spray skirt to pop off either. I take him orienteering too. Lotsa fun for the whole family.

Has anyone read "Camping and Canoeing with Children"? (Kraiker) It's a very nice reference.

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