Monday, May 27, 2013

Ultimate Camper

I got Andrew Skurka’s  TheUltimate Hiker’s Gear Guide: Tools & Techniques to Hit the Trail for Christmas. He defines an ultimate hiker as someone who wants to maximize their walking time and minimize their in-camp time. It’s an awesome book. 

 I have not yet hiked with a kid that is an ultimate hiker. 

Bedtime routine is important for most kids, and the less experienced and/or younger they are, the more important that routine is. Changing locations for bed, potty, teeth… Exchanging city and house noises for outdoor sounds… While those are comforting to adults, they are unfamiliar to kids. They may be scary or exciting, but they won’t help your kid get to sleep, or eat enough dinner (distracted!). Younger kids may be clingy and get in the way. 

A kid who needs an hour plus of strict routine at home will likely take a lot more time to settle in camp than a kid who does fine with jumping into bed and going straight to sleep. The younger the kid, the more they’ll need to get used to the campsite to be comfortable. 

So. This is a 'tent'.
Baby Boo staying up Very Late to become comfortable in the tent.

As a toddler, Boo stayed up well past 10, singing to a full car-camping campsite. We hadn't given her enough time to acclimate. At almost 3, she needed well over an hour of running around camp exploring to be able to do anything else. At 4 ½, she “helped” set up and then took half an hour to acclimate before being ready for an exploring hike. 

Running Laps at 3

If you want to shorten the settling in period, make your kids as familiar as possible with the whole thing ahead of time. Set up the tent in the backyard, sleep in it if you can. Hike in the same or a similar area. Carry their favorite book and the blanket they have always slept with (no matter how heavy). Talk about what’s going to happen. Look up trip reports or pictures from your destination with your kid. Going over the map and having the kid discuss what to pack is also good practice. 

As with everything else, know your kid.  Your first outing you should probably give yourself a lot of leeway and time to settle in camp, until you know how much and what kind of things are important for your kid to settle in at camp.

How do your kids get settled in at camp? Have you ever seriously failed?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Black Diamond Wiz Kids Headlamp: Review

I got a headlamp for Christmas. It was a nice Black Diamond with dimmer and red LED (possibly a Storm?). Turns out, headlamps are much more useful than flashlights.

Lee kept borrowing it, and Boo really wanted one. So I got Boo the kid’s Black Diamond. It’s light (2oz according to REI) and has a sweet octopus twisting around the band (looks like new designs this year, also pretty cool). It's distinctly smaller than mine, much better for a kid-sized person.

The battery compartment has a screw, which is nice from a losing batteries and safety perspective. I’m afraid I’m going to lose the tiny screwdriver that came with it….

Head Lamp

 It throws a nice bright light. Not a spot, but not totally diffuse, either. She's not confidant enough in the dark to go running in it, but it's plenty for an evening stroll or potty run.

It only has on/off, which I think is best for a 5-year-old. She wants it to dim and have a red light, which I think is more complicated than she needs. Other than not being as complicated as mine, she loves it.

It has the same feel as the adult Black Diamond headlamps I've handled. Same strap type and setup, same general case thickness, same tilt mechanism.

I prefer the headlamp because I'm less likely to get flashed in the face, and it's easier for her to keep track of than a flashlight.

Boo says, "I like it a lot. It's very good. I use it to see when we're going camping in the dark and when I go potty at night.  (Is it comfortable?) Um yeah. (Is it easy to use?) Yeah, all you have to do is put your finger on it and push."

How do your kids see at night?

Monday, May 6, 2013

And Sometimes, there are Grandmas

 My mom and her friend came down for Boo’s tumbling recital. She got a lot of swimming and spoiling in.

Our hike Sunday was limited by lunch reservations, guests from even flatter land than we’re in, and seriously sleeping in.

Flat Trail

It didn’t mean we didn’t have fun, find cool things, and flap our wings back to the trailhead.

Robins Egg



How was your weekend?