The Best Family Hiking Gear of 2020

Get equipped before you get out there

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Our Top Picks
"These lightweight backpacks are great for kids ages 2 years and up are made to last, with fun, animal-themed designs."
Best Kids' Water Bottle:
Cambelbak Eddy Kids at Amazon
"The BPA-free water bottle has an easy-to-carry handle, and kids just flip the lid, bite, and sip with no spilling."
"This child carrier is comfortable and functional for both parent and child and will hold kids of up to 48.5 pounds."
"Warm, comfortable, and cute socks will help wick moisture away from kids’ feet, so there’s less chance of a blister developing."
"The battery-powered headlamp will allow your kids to hike even after the sun goes down or find things in a dark tent."
"Bare Snacks are made with real, slow baked fruits, and veggies that'll keep kids satisfied during a longer hike."
"The UPF 50+ hat comes in all sorts of colors and patterns, and keeps your child's head, neck, and face protected from the sun."
"Kids will love the novelty of the zip-off style that converts these long pants into shorts, and parents will love the UPF 30 fabric."
"This essential first aid kit is packed with 299 pieces including bandages, tweezers, gauze, and even insect sting relief."
"These poles will help your little hikers through challenging terrain, and can be a major aid for maintaining balance."

A family hike is the perfect way to enjoy the great outdoors, get some exercise, fresh air, and be all together—plus 6 feet apart from all non-family members. Whether a family hike means a gentle stroll on a flat path through some familiar woods or a more strenuous climb up a hilltop, it’s best to be prepared with the best family hiking gear.

It’s a given that parents should be wearing comfortable shoes (especially since you may end up carrying a little one). No matter how long the hike, be sure to bring the ultimate motivator: plenty of snacks.

Best Kids' Backpack: Deuter Pico Toddler's School and Hiking Backpack

These highly-rated backpacks are well-loved for good reason. The kid-sized pack is lightweight and easy to open. Kids will have no problem wearing these packs, which are perfect for ages 2 years and up. The mesh pockets on the outside hold a water bottle or treasures found along the trail.

Made of high-quality material, the backpack is made to last. Parents should know this is on the smaller side, so likely won’t be interchangeable with a school backpack. Available in fun, animal-themed designs, the pack will intrigue all youngsters.

Best Kids' Water Bottle: Cambelbak Eddy Kids

An essential item to keep the smallest family members hydrated, kids’ water bottles should be fun, functional, and spill-proof. This 12-ounce water bottle checks all those boxes, plus more. There’s an easy-to-carry handle, and kids just flip the lid, bite, and sip. Easy to clean, the BPA-free water bottle comes in lots of cute designs and is a welcome addition to any hike (or lunchbox).

Best Child Carrier: Deuter Kid Comfort Child Carrier Backpack

Although it comes at a higher price and requires more storage space, a hiking baby carrier offers a lot of advantages for both parent and child. For younger babies or short hikes, a baby carrier like a Baby Bjorn or an ErgoBaby will likely work for you. More serious hikers will appreciate the freestanding frame and lots of storage options.

Deuter’s Kid Comfort Child Carrier has many ways to find the perfect fit for both parent and child. It weighs about seven pounds and can hold a child up to 48.5 pounds. Large pockets, hooked compartments, and a sun and rain shield help stash snacks, water bottles, and protect your little one from the elements.

Best Kids' Socks: L.L. Bean Kids' Smartwool Margarita Hike Medium Crew Socks

Think how much farther you’ll be able to hike without hearing kids complain about how their feet hurt. These warm, comfortable, and cute socks will help wick moisture away from kids’ feet, so there’s less chance of a blister developing.

This two-pack is highly rated by parents, comes in three kids' sizes, and has lots of cute designs. Pairs for adults are also available, so you can get some for the whole family.

Best Kids' Headlamp: L.L. Bean Trailblazer Snap 300 Combo Headlamp

A customer favorite, this kids-sized headlamp lights up in four different modes: full-color spectrum, high, low, and strobe. It’s powered by two AAA batteries, which are included. The headlight runs for five hours on high, and up to 60 hours on low. Even better, for forgetful kids, it automatically shuts off after two hours.

Now, whether or not you want to be hiking when the sun goes down is another story, but your kid will be well-equipped to find the way home if you do. Of course, these headlamps are just as fun for a neighborhood “night hike” around the block, playing in the yard after dark, or even reading a favorite book under the covers.

Best Snack: Bare Natural Apple Chips

Snacks are non-negotiable when hiking with kids. Bring something that is portable, easy to store, relatively healthy, and will work as some motivation. Since some fruits can bruise easily and are tricky to eat on a hike, Bare Snacks are a great alternative.

Made with real fruits and veggies that are slowly baked, they are crunchy, flavorful, and healthy. The resealable bags make it easy to stash them in your pack, and the crave-worthy crunch of the chips is something your whole family will enjoy.

These Bare Baked Crunchy Organic Apple Chips are gluten-, dairy-, preservative-, and GMO-free, vegetarian, certified-organic, free of added sugar, and full of filling fiber that'll keep kids satisfied.

Best Kids' Hat: L.L. Bean Kids' Sunday Afternoons Play Hat

Sun protection is a must when heading out for a family hike. A kids’ sun hat is an easy way to help keep your child’s head, neck, and face protected from the elements. A best-seller for good reason, the Sunday Afternoons Kids Play Hat is made from UPF 50+ certified sun-protective fabric that's also water-repellent and stain-resistant.

The hat has a chinstrap (engineered with Smartstrap Breakaway Chinstrap Technology), customizable sizing band, and floatable brim. With lots of colors and patterns to choose from, your little hiker will look great and stay protected.

Best Kids' Hiking Pants: Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Pants

Keep your little hiker comfortable whatever the conditions in these convertible pants. Kids will love the novelty of the zip-off style that converts these long pants into shorts. Parents will love the UPF 30, quick-dry, and water-repellent fabric.

The side pockets and mesh pocket bags provide ample room for your little hiker to store treasures from the trail and some snacks. Kids sizing ranges from xx-small through extra-large, which covers sizes 4/5 through 18/20.

Best First Aid Kit: American Red Cross Deluxe All Purpose First Aid Kit

If you are just taking a walk in the woods, this may not be necessary, but for longer, full-day or more off-the-grid family hikes, a first aid kit should be considered an essential. It’s also a useful thing to stash in your car with the hopes of never needing it.

This Red Cross Deluxe first aid kit has 299 pieces, including bandages, aspirin, tweezers, a cold compress, gauze, insect sting relief, and so much more. It all zips into a soft, nylon case, so if you’re out for a longer hike, stash this in someone’s backpack and you’ll be so much more prepared.

Best Kids' Walking Stick: Black Diamond Kids’ First Strike Trekking Pole

This trekking pole two-pack is perfect for a more serious hiker, or great for siblings who each want their own walking sticks. Hiking sticks or trekking poles help hikers through challenging terrain and can be a major aid for maintaining balance and making it through trickier spots on the trail.

Made just for kids, these poles are perfect for use all four seasons. The trekking poles adjust from 26 inches all the way to 43 inches, so they'll literally grow as your hiker does.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

Maya Polton is a former marketing manager and current freelance writer who covers food, home, and parenting. She's also the mom of a 10-year-old son, 6-year-old son, and 2-year old daughter. Her family hikes haven’t gotten more strenuous than an hour-long walk in the woods. Between the three kids, one of them is always bound to cry, trip, demand snacks, and then find a better walking stick than anyone else, but she still strives to keep hiking.

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