Gear · Hiking Gear

What Our Boys Carry: School Age Backpack Loads In 2020

In the past I have written about what our young boys carry in their backpacks for dayhikes. This year Walker will turn 10 and Alistaire will be 8. They have both grown since last years post which means new rain gear for the boys to come soon (Alistaire’s just showed up today)

With January winding down, and we had a dry day, we took the packs outside and shook them out yesterday.

Walker’s backpack contents (he is nearly 10, and wears a size 12 boys clothing)

In summer:

  • Sun hat
  • Sandals
  • Pack towel

Alistaire’s backpack (he is nearly 8, and wears a size 10 in boys clothing):

In summer:

  • Sun hat
  • Sandals
  • Pack Towel

Thing is, it hasn’t changed much in the past few years what they carry, but rather how heavy they can carry has changed. As they have aged, they carry all their water and food needed. This has lightened my load of course, though I carry a lot more gear with them, than I do by myself. The other side is they both can hike longer now than they did even a year ago, which means more water and snacks!


Both boys carry Black Diamond First Strike trekking poles. I also pack in waterproof lightweight guides, on flowers, animals, scat, clouds and more on most hikes, the boys enjoy it – and I see it as bonus. We hike, and they get an extra helping of home school science and biology/botany. They also make a great surface to eat on, keeping lunch time less dirt enriched.

As for their snacks, I carry items I know they like in my pack along with what they also carry in theirs (in case they get even hungrier than normal). As long as it is single serving, it works well. With Alistaire we carry brands we know are safe for him. I carry a mix of sweet and savory (such as jerky and meat bars). If on a longer day, I carry lunch in my pack for everyone.

I carry unscented baby wipes in travel packs for wiping down hands (essential to have with a child who has food allergies), but also to have clean hands for eating.

I don’t use bug spray on the children, nor on me. I use a Buzz Off spray I make myself. As for sunscreen, the boys usually hike in long sleeves and full hats at altitude. If I do use it on them, it is Aveno. Alistaire cannot handle most brands on his skin, they cause eczema outbreaks or worse, hives. I get hives with most sunscreens as well. So overall we deal with sun exposure by wearing large hats and long-sleeve clothing. And don’t have a lack of Vitamin D as many in the far North do.


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