Rebecca on packing with sweet little Maggie:

No. 1 Tip

Have an awesome strong backpacking buddy to help schlep gear.

Baby Schlepping

Rebecca carrying sleeping Maggie on her front. 2012, Kern Headwaters. 3 Chicks, 4 Guys, 1 Baby, 3 Kayaks, 1 Helicopter.


Rebecca carrying awake Maggie on her back. 2012, Kern Headwaters.

As for carrying the baby, the Ergo carrier worn on the front is key, it distributes the baby’s weight well on you and you can easily go for miles w/out much back pain. Until Maggie was about 7 months old I’d carry her in the Ergo on my front and wore a normal backpack on my back (w/a light load). Once over 7 months, I bought the Osprey backpack baby carrier (which has tons of compartments for storage) and still carried my Ergo which I wore on my front. I’d switch Maggie on and off front to back; when she was awake I’d carry her on my back and asleep, I carried her on my front.  I had a stuff sack that I’d put where ever Maggie was not. Switching up the baby from front to back made it tolerable to carry her for long strenuous days.

Snuggy Sleeping

For sleeping, I’m not a huge fan of the co sleeping thing so I bring an extra large down jacket and a ½ a piece of a foam pad which I put inside the down jacket so the pad doesn’t move around.  When cold I put Maggie in a down snow suite, otherwise known as her Adventure Suite, and then zip her in the jacket – works great.  Before bedtime, I use the same jacket as my personal jacket to keep warm so I’m carrying a jacket I’d be carrying anyway, just a few sizes larger.  Another cool thing is if it’s super cold outside, I can zip the jacket over both of us while carrying her in the front Ergo carrier.

Diaper Dilemma

Diapers are a big one, sucks.  On short trips, I just carry the disposable diaper out.  Long trips, I bring biodegradable diapers and wipes and then each night, toss them on the campfire (some areas you can’t have camp fires, If I’m in these areas, I don’t spend anymore then 3 nights) – yeah pooh fire!  Not a fan of the cloth diapers because it’s super gross washing them (definitely can’t be washing diapers in a stream, not cool) and, if the weather is bad, they won’t dry.

Mother’s Milk

Under 6 months is the best time to go backpacking, all you need is plenty of water for yourself and a boob for the baby!

6 month to a year; the boob and things like pea soup, hummus, dehydrated egg (anything mushy). If it’s a short trip they make these squeeze tubes of baby food that are perfect!

One year was a little trickier for us because Maggie was done w/breastfeeding. In this case (like on our 12-day Kern River Headwaters trip) I brought toddler formula (nice and light and very nutritious) and then fed her everything we ate; I just made sure all of our meals were 1-year old friendly and added things like dried coconut, dried bananas and flaxseed to our oatmeal every morning. One extra thing I did bring for her was peanut butter (she couldn’t eat the whole nuts that we were eating in our trail mix).

If you’re going to try out new foods on your baby while backpacking, I highly recommend doing so in stages before you set out for your adventure – this way you’re sure your kid will actually eat the new food and that she has no allergies to the new food.

Child’s Play

I bring a few small toys but best to teach your kid to play with “icks,” “ocks,” and “ones” (sticks, rocks and cones) – start teaching them to use their imagination.

Stick to It

Even if you don’t usually use them, use walking poles when carrying your baby, it’ll save you more then once from tripping.

[Editor's note: Maggie has been on more backpacking trips than I have!.  Also, Rebecca what are you going to do with baby no. 2?]