Wild camping is a prefect way to introduce your children to the great outdoors while having as little negative effect on it as possible but given the rough and ready nature of wild camping what age do you think about taking the kids along.
Children never fail to surprise by how they cope when faced with unfamiliar situations but because you will be throwing them into a brand new experience trying to anticipate any problems can make the whole event go a lot smoother.
Type of Campsite
We all have those challenging wild camping spots that require a hard or long hike to reach but these might have to be ignored depending on the age of your child and instead opting for something easier. Making their first trip as painless as possible will leave them more likely to want to go again allowing you to work them towards some of the tougher wild camps.
My first wild camping experience was spending 2 magical hot summer nights on a welsh mountain at the age of eight courtesy of my teenage cousins. I don’t want to sound old but those were different times and I’m pretty sure that most parents wouldn’t allow their children on this sort of trip.
Having a child along changes so many safety factors from where you go, how you behave and the obvious increase in safety kit.
Lack of Facilities
Having to go to the toilet outside can be more of a problem for a girl than a boy especially as they start becoming young adults and a full explanation of what they can expect plus an assurance of complete privacy is always a good conversation to have with them before setting out.
Type of Child
Every child is different in the way they deal with things and you may never know of a particular phobia or fear until they are running away screaming.
Fear is usually the result of not knowing enough or having the wrong information about objects/plants/animals/insects etc and any thing you can do to let a child know that its not going to hurt them will make things easier and ultimately quieter when wild camping.
Working out exactly what your child is going to have a problem with isn’t that easy sometimes. Our little girl and the candidate for future wild camping trips will happily pick up snakes, has no problem with rodents or anything that fly’s but runs away from every insect on the planet (which could seriously be a wild camping nightmare).
Judging how much hiking they can handle not only decides where your going to camp but also if they are going to be carrying their own gear and food. A few Kilos may not mean much to a child over a short flat distance but could cause them problems over rougher ground.
Over to You
Try to cover everything (good and bad) that a child can expect from a wild camping trip before you go and take note of their reaction also giving them plenty of opportunity to ask questions. In the end its only the confidence you have in your child that will help make the decision to start them on the road to a life long passion for outdoor pursuits.