It's like hiking with a baby but your footprint is like big foot! Oh! And it's a little more chilly too. Embrace the new activity and release all the expectations. Plus read the 6 tips below.
It can be intimidating to explore in the winter with a baby but you still can get outside. I partnered with Valhalla Outfitters on this blog and have linked up all their store items here directly without affiliation.
1. Layer up!
It’s all about dressing for the weather and keeping that warmth on the chilly trails. I layer my baby up with a merino wool base layer set and socks, a mid-layer fleece bunting, and an outer down-filled puffy bunting as the last layer. We accessorize with toques, gloves, neck warmers, booties, and hand warmers. I dress like my baby with winter snow pants and jacket instead of the buntings. Our secret to staying warm in the winter is all in our wool base layers. Wool is breathable and can prevent you from overheating. Wool fibres keep the moisture away from your skin and keeps you warm and dry.
2. Choose a snowshoe-friendly trail
You’ll want to pick a trail that is suitable to your family. I use my All Trails app to search for the best snowshoe trails in my area. I download the trail map and then navigate the directions to the trailhead right from the app. Starting out with mini snowshoe adventures is best when getting baby comfortable with the winter weather. Picking a shorter trail even just doing part of a trail is a great place to start. I’d recommend sticking to the flatter trails when carrying extra weight from baby-wearing. I always check the Government website just to double check that there aren’t any closures. I also make sure my park pass is up to date when packing up the truck the night before.
3. Gear up for your adventure! What will make your snowshoe experience more enjoyable?
It can seem like there is so much gear that is required for outdoor adventures. Although not all the items are required, the below items will really enhance your relationship with the adventure.
Choosing between a soft-structured or hard-shell baby carrier will depend on the distance. Typically, on shorter-adventures the soft structure works great but I usually choose my Osprey Poco carrier for all my hikes. I love the extra storage space and ability to put up the wind breaker for my baby if needed.
Renting snowshoes can be a good way to see if you will enjoy this activity. If in the market to purchase, I would recommend investing in a decent quality pair of snowshoes, as they make a difference when lighter. Choosing snowshoes with easy straps and clips is helpful when gearing up at the trail head.
I always pack these on winter hikes just in case there are icy patches and if there isn’t enough snow on the trail. I feel the safest when wearing my cleats or snowshoes on any kind of winter hike.
I find the balance and stability important for snowshoeing. With the baby carrying weight too it’s nice to always have your footing and additional support from the poles. Make sure you have your snow baskets at the bottom of your hiking poles on.
Adventures with warm and dry feet just make everyone feel better when out on the trail. If you can splurge on waterproof boots, you might just want to hit the trails again!
Gaiters or Waterproof Pants
Keeping snow away from the tops of your boots is critical as wet feet on snowshoe treks can be very uncomfortable. The snow can build up at the top of your boots and be highly uncomfortable in the ankle area. So gaiters really help keep you dry.
For kids, a sled is a fun way to ride along on snowshoe adventures. Sometimes carrying a toddler through the deep snow can just be exhausting. Pulling the weight rather than carrying might just be for you.
4. Practice prior to hitting the trail
Have you ever gone for a block walk with your snowshoes on? I have! Here is a chance to hit a local park to give your gear and snowshoes a trial run before venturing out to a dedicated snowshoe trail. Giving your equipment a trial run will take away the unknowns and anxiety of a new family adventure. It’s great to go a few times around your home if you can.
5. Things to pack
Pack the 10-essentials: matches, first-aid supplies, extra clothes, compass, sunscreen/sunglasses, knife, headlamp, fire starter, extra food and water, and a map.
A fun “summit” snack or hot cocoa is a nice snowshoe tradition. Some might think of it as a bribe for their kids! I always admire the other families on the trail that pack along their jet boils and create the most scenic hot beverages.
I pack the truck will the nursery items for my baby and all the extras just in case. I always do diaper changes in the truck before and after the adventure. Feeding on that same schedule but also on demand as required throughout the snowshoe adventure.
6. Finding Beauty in the Present
The soft crunch of the snowshoes, silent forests, chirping winter birdies, creaky trees, and the sound of snow falling is when you get to fully experience the magic of winter. There is something about the sparkle of the snow when the sun reflects just right, and your snowshoe tosses up fluffy snow into the crisp air. We get to share our love for nature with our children and we get to experience nature through their eyes. Let it bring you back to your childhood.