Must-Have Pack List for Hiking with a Newborn
It can be intimidating bringing a newborn out into the woods for the first time. Having the comfort of your home and all the fun amenities for baby can be hard to leave behind. Five months after our little fella was born and finally sleeping through the night, we thought it was the perfect time to get out and get some fresh air for a couple nights.
Although most trips don’t go as planned with little nuggets, one thing we did right was get everything he needed into our packs! That is a win in my mom book. I gathered a list of the must-haves for backpacking with your infant, from my experience:
Although cloth diapers are such a great alternative to diapers in everyday use, I prefer using regular diapers for the trek. You will not have the ability to wash out the cloth diapers as needed and they tend to be heavier than most pampers. Bring little trash bags to dispose of the used diapers in.
This is not one you want to forget… I take wipes out of the packets and store in an airtight ziplock baggy. This will cut back on the weight of the hefty wipe disposal pack. These are handy to clean baby up after snacks and some unexpected blowouts (each end). Your little one can get sweaty in the carriers, so a good wipe down before bedtime can make them more comfortable for sleepy time.
While we were out on the trail the temp was in the high 50’s. We made sure to pack a short sleeve onesie for the day, a long sleeved and full onesie for night time (one with covered feet), a hat, extra pair or socks, extra pair of pants and gloves (just in case). A little tip to keep baby cool in the carrier for those hot days, bring the instant ice packs and place them in the carrier with baby. This may be extra weight, but will keep them comfortable for your hike and keep mommy and daddy from having to take extra breaks.
Make sure you keep track of how much your little one is eating the week prior to leaving for your trek. For formula babies, put their required amount in a ziplock baggie and two days extra worth of scoops. This will provide you with peace-of-mind while out on the trail, for unexpected turns. My son is breastfed during the day, eats a formula bottle at night and about 6 oz of solids through the day. We packed his favorite solids and his formula at the top of the pack for when he got fussy for his lunch and dinner.
For Patrick, his pacifier is our life saver. I don’t care if it weighs 5lb, I would pack whatever I had to to provide the required comfort for him. He uses his pacifier as a soothing tool at night to help him sleep and during the day if he’s getting tired or overwhelmed. If your little one has a comfort item, like his favorite toy, a stuffed-animal, a pacifier, or favorite blanket, pack that sucker out! It may save you a nights rest and help them get acclimated to their new environment.
We use a Ergobaby Original Carrier, which is comfortable to wear with my pack and for him to sit in for long durations. The carrier has a pocket in the front which you can keep their comfort item or you can place the ice pack to keep them cool. The straps of the carrier fit comfortably under the straps of my pack, giving me a little more support for myself on my shoulders.
Make sure to bring a carrier with a sun shade attached to the front with the ability to pull over baby for the bright days on the trail (if not make sure to pack a hat with ear and neck cover). I suggest trying pack and carrier on and going for a short hike to make sure you will be comfortable on the trail.
There are pack options that have a baby carrier attached. This didn’t work for us with the amount of stuff we had to pack for ourselves, dogs and little man, especially with the cool weather and our items being a bit on the bulkier side.
Some try to avoid using either of these items, but personally for my husband and I, we wanted Patrick to be protected as much as possible while out and about. We used all natural baby sunscreen and bug spray, which kept him from getting burnt or getting bites on his exposed skin.
A good option to keep little one comfortable is to look for a extra small sleeping pad. These a ultra lightweight and will keep the nugget nice and snuggled at night. I personally used my own sleeping bag to cover Patrick during the night, but his sleeping pad was insulated, which kept him pretty toasty and comfortable.
While out with Patrick, I realized I had packed so many items that weren’t necessities. Going out with you little one is a learning experience for both parents and baby, so if packing an extra toy brings you peace-of-mind, go for it. Doing something new with your newborn can be stressful and nerve-racking, but having a checklist and double checking everything will help you and your significant other get back out adventuring in no time.