Colorful, fun back-to-school gear can help boost confidence on the first day of classes. Find out how the Lone Cone family beats the back-to-school blues.
My typical pack contents for a one to two night backpacking trip:
(fits with plenty of room to spare in my Deuter Act Lite 60 + 10)
- Nemo Equipment Dagger 2P (just in case I take a friend) - Extras- Footprint to extend the life of my tent, and the gear loft to stow all the little things I keep in the tent with me (headlamp, knife, beanie, solar light, sunglasses)
- Nemo Equipment Vector 20R Insulated sleeping pad - Foot pump is AWESOME! No more lightheadedness from blowing up my old thermarest! I can’t stand up in my tent, and my feet are usually tired from hiking so I use my hands CPR style to pump up the pad.
- Nemo Equipment Fusion 20 degree sleeping bag (can you tell I’m a Nemo fan?) - The spoon shape is awesome for me. I can lay on my back with one leg bent just like I do at home.
- Nemo Equipment Fillo Pillow Elite –Fits in a sleeve inside my sleeping bag to keep it in place. Packs up super small in its built-in stuff sack.
- Coleman Fleece Sleeping Bag liner - If I’m too hot for my bag, I open it up and lay this blanket on top of me. If I’m too cold (usually the case) I put it inside my sleeping bag for another layer of warmth without having to add more uncomfortable layers of clothing.
- Waterproof Shell
- 2 pair of wool socks (I like to sleep in a fresh, dry pair and hike in the other)
- Swim suit and flip flops – For high mountain lakes and hot springs!!
- Kovea Solo 3 - I usually bring just a pot and lid and store my fuel, lighter, and stove inside. My kit came with a handy mesh drawstring bag to keep it all together (not pictured, but definitely used).
- Kovea Supalite Titanium Stove - This little guy is super light and my kid likes to “transform” it for me before attaching it to the isobutane tank.
- Spoon & Camp Mug - I usually carry a couple of disposable spoons. I recommend a “shake spoon” as it has a longer handle and can reach to the bottom of backpacker meal bags without getting sauce all over your hands.
- Camelback Bladder
- Katadyn filter
- Black Diamond Spot Headlamp – it's waterproof (I have kids so waterproof is always a plus) and bugs aren’t attracted to the red light option. Yes!! No swarms of gnats in my face!
- LuminAID Spectra – perfect for soft diffused light in the tent. Has multiple color settings that are easy on tired eyes late at night and an excellent mood setter on a backpacking date!
- Fishing License! Must be with you if you plan on fishing.
- Dragontail Tenkara Shadowfire 360 Rod and Starter Kit
- Net and pliers
- Small first aid kit
- Go Girl
- Bandana Pee Rag (google it)
- Action wipes
- Toiletries – Sunblock!!
- Trail Mix
- Trekking Pole
- Rain Cover for my pack
Watch me pack it up in this video!
There you have it! See anything you’d like to know more about? What are your must-have backpacking items? Let me know in the comments!
See you in the Sawtooths!
A short weekend or a long week still involves a lot of gear. Ken and I have three kids who are 5, 3, and 2 years old. For the most part, they are entertained by sticks, rocks, dirt, and bugs. We wish it were that simple! Our kids tend to need a few spare changes of clothes and a few toys to be content.
- Our tailer has a queen bed, full size bed, and a twin. We like to put egg crate foam pads on top for a little extra warmth and padding. We put sleeping bags on the bottom and love to use our NEMO Puffin blanket. We use regular pillows and sheets for easy laundering.
- Our 2 year old does not sleep well next to us. He prefers his own space so we are able to put a pack and play in the middle of the trailer and he does just fine.
- The tipping point to get a trailer for me was to have easy access to a bathroom while in the backcountry. We also have a standing shower but since it can use all of our water and fill our gray water tank, we like using NEMO's Helio Shower. It's the perfect size to rinse off little hands and feet after a full day of play.
- The trailer also has tons of storage letting us easily pack and store towels, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, lotion, chapstick, etc.
- We always set up nylon rope to hang up wet towels and clothing
- We always have tons of bug spray and sun screen
- I find camping to be a bit chilly once the sun goes down. The trailer usually stores a few spare sweatshirts, flannels, and sweat pants. I like to keep these in the trailer all season for quick access and fast packing.
- My typical packing MO is to bring one outfit per person for each day camping. For PJs, we usually wear the same pair for most of the time we are camping.
- The trailer holds a few spare clothing items for all of us for just in case situations.
- Diapers, swim diapers, and wipes, grocery bags or ziplock. Self explanatory.
- Shoes and boots. I've learned to pack spare shoes for all and leave some kid's rainboots in the trailer. Our kids would live in rainboots 24/7 so they usually do. I like that they can be rinsed off quickly after a fun weekend. For Ken and I, packing spare shoes lets our feet be comfortable when one pair gets wet and doesn't dry out in time.
- I like to use 2 coolers when camping - one for drinks and the other for main meals.
- I try to make meals SIMPLE and quick. With 3 kids, we don't have a ton of time to dedicate to prep and cooking. I try to do fun things for them like hot dogs on a stick or fish/burgers in a grill basket. I'll pre-make a pasta salad or par-boil some potatoes for a faster dinner.
- The trailer stores a cast iron skillet, spaghetti pot, and dutch oven. I also have cooking oil, oven mitts, and a few spices.
- Before we head out of town, we make a quick grocery store trip for foods like yogurt, milk, string cheese, grapes/cherries, eggs, and beverages. I always pack oatmeal, bread, peanut butter, jelly, butter, jar of mixed nuts, marshmallows and a few snacks the kids pick out (these are usually reward items for longer hikes or evening time around the fire).
- Our kids do not get a lot of juice but camping is a great time to bust out gatorade. They are playing hard and refusing to drink much of anything. It's also an easy reward when taking a short hike.
- Coffee is a necessity for me when camping. We upgraded our coffee situation last year from a percolator to a french press and we pre-grind Starbucks bold beans for optimum camp coffee. It's pretty nice and makes wrestling kids with oatmeal a little easier.
- We purchased Cabela's rocking camp chairs a few years ago and it's been really, really deluxe and nice. There's nothing better than rocking a little one on your lap, a blanket on top, and a warm camp fire. This might be the only reason I camp.
- Ken's fishing gear which includes a few kid-sized poles
- Ladder ball - it's a great way to hang out in the evening and always guaranteed to get to know your camp neighbors a bit better
- Cooler bag and day pack - I never know if we'll do a beach day or a trail so we bring a few items and go with the flow. I like my Deuter ACT Trail 22 which is big enough for a few changes of clothes, sunscreen or bug spray, and a water bottles. I also love my Trader Joe's insulated bag which is easy for a few hours at the beach.
- Annalisa's bike and the kids bring a set of wheels. Some campgrounds have paved roads and we're able to mosey while the little ones ride. There's usually no cars and wide open for our little ones who can't steer so well.
- We also bring our kid carriers: We have a Deuter Kid Comfort Air and an Ergo. Hiking is really important to us. We try to let them walk as much as possible but inevitably, someone needs a break (include our 5 year old). We do incentive them as much as possible and try to be entertaining but the kid carriers make all the difference for us. (PS - check out our recommendations on how to make hiking with kids a bit smoother: https://www.lonecone.com/5-tips-happy-hiking-young-kids/)
- Lighting: we have a big camping lantern we try to use instead of the trailer lights to save battery. The kids LOVE having headlamps and MPOWERD's solar lanterns.
- Board game and cards. We have had lots of trips where these never get played, however, a downpour at Glacier National Park last year had us inside for a few hours and it was complete joy to have pounding rain while playing "go fish".
- Safety: we store matches, lighters, newspaper, a CO2/Fire detector.
1. Plan Ahead
Choose the Right Hike:
If this is your first hike, keep it simple. Low miles and minimal elevation change are key. Show your child maps and pictures to get them psyched about the upcoming adventure!
DIY Trail Mix:
Head to your grocery store bulk bins and let them go wild!
Packing their backpack:
See this guide for tips on what your kid can carry: 5 Things Your Kid Should Be Carrying in Their Backpacking Pack
2. Keep them Entertained
I Spy with my little eye something (color)…, My mom owns a grocery store and she sells something that starts with (letter)…, I’m going on a camping trip and I’m bringing something that starts with (letter)… The variations are endless, get creative!
Candy Sucking Contest! See who can make their hard candy last the longest. Winner gets to be next line leader!
If you went to Boys or Girls Scout Camp growing up, pass along your favorite campfire songs by teaching them to your kids. Our favorites are “Ants go marching”, “Down by the Bay”, and “Oh, I wish I were…”. When the going gets tough, I playfully plead with them not to sing “The Song that Never Ends”. They love thinking that they are teasing me by singing it, but I am secretly so happy that they aren’t complaining about being tired or that the trail is too tough.
Bring a Friend:
If your kid is an only child, consider having them invite a friend and their parent to join you. You’ll both have someone to talk to.
3. Give them a Job
Let them be the line leader:
In our family, we call this The Train. I have my two children take turns being the engine and I am usually the caboose. They like leading the way and it also lets them set the pace. I forget how short their little legs are and it keeps me from going too fast.
Look for trail markers like cairns
Hold the map
4. Keep them Hydrated
Have them carry their own water. Kids love to use bladder-style hydrations systems. My kids have a small bladder made to fit in their backpacks, but you could use a full-size bladder and fill to what you think they can manage to carry. Before they had their own personal bladders, we were constantly stopping for drink breaks. This way they can hydrate as they walk and since it’s fun, they are more likely to get enough water.
5. Know When to Quit
Don’t torture your kids. If the hike is majorly sucking due to rain, wind, or heat, head back, take shelter, or make camp. Keep it enjoyable and they will be excited to hike again in the future.
This weekend, my boyfriend and I are taking a trip just beyond Idaho City, Idaho to hike some trails and hangout with wilderness for a bit. We laid out our gear before we packed it all up. Be warned, we’re pretty “minimalist” or “redneck” campers for lack of a better word.
So what do we have here? I’ll start with the simple stuff. The bottom row is all our clothes for the two day, two night excursion. Including base layers, a beanie from The Boardroom, and of course Darn Tough socks from yours truly, LONECONE. A couple backpacks, a couple sleeping bags, pads, chairs, and hammocks (recently we’ve tried hammock camping). We’re also bringing along a tent and collapsible cooler for all our food and goodies. Now, onto the good stuff.
All our camera gear is featured in the middle, right where it should be. A photographer couple, cute, right? But, taking the equipment does double our gear space, and weight. On this trip we are taking both our cameras, a Canon 50D and Canon T2i with three lenses each. He favors his 10-18 mm wide-angle zoom lens, and I can’t seem to get away from my Canon Fisheye. We’ll also be taking our tripods in the hopes of catching that evasive milky way. We pack all of this stuff in our Lowepro camera bags.
What gear do you take camping? Let Team Cone know in the comments and send your pictures to [email protected], tag #loneconeshop in your Instagram post, or a Facebook message. Maybe we’ll feature you next! *I’m winking at you...yes you.*
Hopefully I’ll be back after the weekend with some awesome photos to share.
Safe travels! #GoBeDo
When the LONECONE staff heard about Hike it Baby (HiB), you could say we were intrigued.
So there’s a group of Boise-area parents who meet up and hike all around town? Sometimes even to grab a beer or a coffee? Heck yes, that’s right up our alley!
On a recent sunny morning we met with a few local ambassadors of Hike it Baby Boise group for oversized scones at one of our fave coffee shops, Big City. Three lovely ladies—Jennifer, Elsa & Chantae—brought their adorable kiddos and sat for some questions.
First off, what is Hike it Baby?
HiB is an international community organization that launched about three years ago in Portland, Oregon. In those three years, HiB has amassed over 260 branches in at least six different countries.
But what do you do?
We hike! Or walk, or bike, or let our toddlers lead us around a trail. There are no parameters to lead a hike, and all age and ability levels are welcomed.
About how many activities a week do you run?
Through our Hike it Baby website, we have a calendar where folks can research and post hikes—there are at least a dozen throughout the Treasure Valley each week, with different times and locations.
Ok, so how much does it cost?
It costs absolutely nothing to be a member of HiB and participate in/lead hikes!
How many local members does Hike it Baby have?
We are growing here like crazy! We had 600 members in January, and are already up to 1,300 this month. To put that in perspective, we had 100 members in August 2015.
How does someone become a Hike it Baby hike leader?
Once you have attended one hike you are eligible to plan your own. The beauty of HiB is that you can fit your hikes in to your family’s schedule—sometimes that means early morning, after work, weekends, etc. It doesn’t matter, as long as you’ll be there and are open to having others join! You can make it a weekly thing, or just add it in whenever you have time.
The hikes are explicitly at-your-own-risk, so hike leaders are not at liability for anything.
Do only moms attend, or can dads, grandparents and caregivers be a part of it?
Absolutely, we have all kinds of people attend our HiB activities! In fact, dads are a large part of our brewery hikes on weekday nights! :)
If I’m a member, can I only attend hikes in Boise?
Nope—you can attend hikes anywhere you travel that has a local chapter! Many of our members seek out HiB chapters when they are traveling.
What have been some of your favorite HiB activities?
So many! The snowshoe hike up at Bogus Basin on New Year’s Day was a huge hit, as well as our recent Cinco de Mayo hike that ended at Tin Roof Tacos. We also do camping trips in the summer, so that’s always a great time to relax and get a little hiking in.
What are some of the more popular hikes offered around Boise?
It really depends on what someone is looking for! We usually have a great turnout for our Morning Coffee Strolls on Wednesdays, as well as toddler-led hikes and the aforementioned hikes where we end at a brewery. :) You can check out our calendar and join our Facebook group to find more.
Any final thoughts for LoneCone readers?
This truly is a more-the-merrier organization! We love having people join us for activities, and the fact that it's free means it's accessible to anyone. We hope to see some Boise-area parents and caregivers hit the trails with us soon. 👶👶👶
Thank you so much to Hike it Baby - Boise for meeting with us and talking about their organization. We joined them on a hike with a few of our little ones a few weeks back and will talk about that as well in a separate blog!
Writing about this topic has me really excited about the backpacking season and getting my kids out in the wild. It also has me dreading it at the same time. Here are some tips for packing their bag that will help make your outdoor adventures as enjoyable as possible.
As a general rule of thumb, a person should aim to carry about 20-25% or less of their weight when backpacking. We can assume the same is true for kids, but let’s stay on the conservative side and try to keep it under 20%. That means a typical 4 year old can start carrying their own stuff! Yes!
Average 4-5 year old - can carry their sleeping bag/pad ~5-8 lbs (includes pack)
Average 6-7 year old – can carry their sleeping bag/pad plus water ~8-11 lbs (includes pack. Here's a good one for this age group)
Average 8-10 year old – can carry their bag/pad, water, clothes, and little accessories 10-15 lbs (includes pack)
Average 10+ year old - can carry all their gear for overnight and can probably help out carrying a couple freeze dried meals. (Here's a good pack for 8-11 year olds)
Here’s my list of the 5 things your kid should be carrying in their backpacking pack:
Sleeping Bag/Pad - 2-3 lbs/1-2 lb
This is the most bulky item your kid will need, but incredibly light for how much space it takes up. You could easily stuff their sleeping bag into their backpack and hear few complaints about carrying it.
Water - 3.25 lbs - a small 50 fl oz Camelback bladder weighs in at 3.25 lbs when full
I choose to make my kids carry their own water on day hikes. They love having access to their own hydration system and the more accessible their water is the more likely they are to stay hydrated, which is very important when you’re in the outdoors. Several companies offer a small hydration bladder made for kids (look for biking styles too as they tend to be smaller) and most kid backpacking packs include a pouch and clip system that are compatible with several brands of hydration bladders. If they complain about the weight they're carrying, suggest they drink more water to lighten their load!
Eating Utensils - 5 oz for a bowl and fork/spoon combo
A fork/spoon combo weighs about .3 oz and could even just be a plastic disposable spoon and fork. I suggest packing an extra in your adult pack in case they misplace theirs. A small kid’s plastic bowl from your own home is sufficient for a child.
Headlamp - 0.2 oz
Everyone in your camp should have their own light source with fully-charged batteries. Growing up, nothing was more frustrating (besides being the only girl and not being able to stand up peeing like my brothers) than not having my own flashlight. Not being able to control the direction of light after dark makes for grumpy/nervous children. A headlamp is a great option because it keeps their hands free as they get settled in the tent and into their sleeping bag. It also makes for easier nighttime bathroom trips. Even if you have a light, they will feel safer if they can control the direction of light.
Clothes – 1-2 lbs
An overnight trip should only require at most a full change of clothes. My children don’t mind being dirty so a change of underwear and socks are usually enough for them. A long-sleeved shirt is a good idea for layering and for sleeping. We like to pack fleece pants for pajamas. If your kids head out in shorts, make sure you’ve got a pair of pants packed.
Be prepared for the fact that you may end up carrying most, if not all, of your child’s gear. Plan accordingly. Personally, I leave the extra 10L space at the top of my Deuter 65 + 10 SL pack free just in case and I don’t bring ANY non-essentials for myself…except the flask, the flask is essential.
When it comes to summer in Boise, beat the heat like the locals do—float the Boise River. As the temps rise so do the amount of tubes and rafts on our fair city’s main waterway (to the tune of 100,000 people per summer!). But for those visitors and uninitiated Boiseans who are wondering how to join in on the fun, LoneCone.com presents our comprehensive guide to floating the Boise River.
Where do I start this so-called magical float?
- Put-in is at Barber Park. Barber Park is located about six miles from Downtown Boise on Eckert Road between Warm Springs and Boise Aves. Parking is available from 10am-7:30pm Mon-Thurs ($5), 9:30am-7:30pm Fri-Sun & Holidays ($6). There is a drop-off area when you enter the park to drop-off tubes and people before you go to park for the day. Also of note is that there are plenty of picnic tables, playgrounds, etc. for families to hang out before and/or after the float!
I don’t have anything to float with, can I still go?
- Yes! There is a raft and tube rental area at Barber Park—this is a great option for out-of-town visitors, as well as those who prefer to ride their bike to the park and back. You are also welcome to bring your own tubes, and Barber Park offers free air stations to pump up before you hit the Boise River. Rentals range from $12 for a single-person tube to $55 for a 6-person raft. All rentals include life vests if needed. Life vests are required for all children 14 years and younger. You can also rent additional life vests at the park!
How long does the float take?
- If you were to float the entire six miles straight with no stops, it takes approximately 1.5-2 hours, depending on the current. The perfect afternoon activity!
Can I take, ummmm, “beverages” on the Boise River?
- As long as they aren’t in glass containers, yes! Well, sort of. Open containers of alcohol are not allowed on the Boise River, or within 250 feet of the river. Beer and wine is allowed in Boise parks outside of the 250 feet riverbank zone—unless you plan on bringing more than 7.5 gallons, in which case you need to fill out a Beer/Wine Permit through the City (and, can we be invited?!?). If you’re looking to keep your plastic and/or aluminum bevvies chilled, we highly recommend the Ice Mule Cooler – it has the portability of a backpack with the ice-keeping performance of a hard-shell cooler, pretty perfect for the Boise River!
Where do I take out? How do I get back to my car/bike?
- Ann Morrison Park is the final take-out for floaters, and to prevent congestion there are two take-out spots on the left side of the Boise River. While some people park a second car at Ann Morrison, there is also a shuttle service available on the hour every hour for a nominal fee ($3 per person).
Are there any stops along the way?
- There are three designated rest stops between Barber and Ann Morrison. Each stop has trash receptacles and two include restrooms.
- River Quarry: Located on the left-hand side of the Boise River just before the Marden Bridge (Baybrook Court Bridge). Has restroom.
- Marden Bridge: Located on the right side of the Boise River.
- Julia Davis Park: Located on the right-hand side of the Boise River. Restrooms are available across the road near the bandshell.
Can I fish?
- Yes! LoneCone has a few fishing site recommendations along the float.
- Barber Dam at Barber Park. Under the dam is a great spot, as well as both sides of the bank right after the floater put-in spot.
- There are a couple small waterfalls along the route, above and below those can be productive.
- You meander through some of Boise State’s campus—this can be a great spot to catch a few. *After BSU there really isn’t any good fishing, so stay upstream from there.
- Any spot that is deep, has riffles or otherwise looks fishy is good! :)
- We recommend Tenkara fishing on the Boise, as there is quite a bit of foliage to get caught up in with a regular fly.
Can I camp?
- Wear some sort of shoes on the Boise River – water shoes, sneakers, Velcro sandals, whatever, but you will walk on the riverbed to put in and take out and you will be thankful.
- You can also kayak the river, and 2-person kayaks are available for rent at Barber Park.
- While part of the float is shady, it can be very bright. Pack sunscreen and sunglasses, we love these Boise-based Proof ones, available at the LoneCone.com storefront.
- Some folks are rocking these swan floats down the Boise River this year, so join in the fun.
- Be safe and have tons of fun!