We frequently meet people that are wanting to start overnight backcountry trips and everyone immediately correlates overnight trips with camping. Backcountry camping provides freedom and unlimited possibilities, but also requires gear, experience and possibly a companion to have a safe and enjoyable experience. When I talk to these eager adventurers our conversations always end up on sharing a new idea on how to explore the backcountry and I’ve been surprised how few people even know about this option - I’m talking about huts. If people are aware of huts they often haven’t gone because they don’t know what to expect. To answer all of your hut questions here is who should go, where to go, what to expect, what to bring and why you will want to go!
Explore Canada’s Wilderness Through Beautiful Backcountry Huts
I (wife/mother of Off-road Discovery) would not categorize myself as a ‘car’ person. I’ll admit I know more than I ever thought I would about engines, tires, diffs, and how to use a winch but all of this education happened after I met my husband. He’s a walking vehicle encyclopedia. I give my dad credit for teaching me how to change tires - winters to summers and visa versa since the start of high school till every year until I moved out. I thought it was to make sure I never got stuck with a flat I couldn’t change, but now I think he was on to a very clever use of child labour. I’m remembering that one for my own kids, thanks dad!
Our Adventure Mobile
Dogs love walks, I have yet to meet a dog that doesn’t want to get outside and roam the world. As a part of the family, dogs often go where their people do. Our dog, Charger, often motivates us to get out and go to certain places. Watching a dog run, swim and sniff happily is just plain awesome and a great way to put a smile on your face.
I love seeing dogs camping and hiking and having a dog on a trail definitely adds to the enjoyment but there are two very important things you need to think about before hitting the trails - safety and rules.
Dogs Love Hiking
Photo: Ptarmigan Cirque, Kananaskis, Alberta
What’s more off-road than climbing? Maybe flying?! Climbing is so different from any activity I have tried. It pushes me to trust my strength and capability more than any sport. I find climbing addicting. We take our kids everywhere with us so making outdoor rock climbing a family affair was an easy decision. Taking young kids outdoors requires some preparation but is rewarding for everyone. One question I’m frequently asked is where to go climbing as a family, so I’ve compiled a list of 6 family-friendly climbing locations in the Canadian Rockies that are close to Calgary. Maps are included to make these areas a breeze to find!
“A day spent with you is my favorite day. So today is my new favorite day.” Winnie the Pooh
I didn’t start quoting Winnie the Pooh until we became parents. I love this quote and I love spending time as a family, it may not always be easy but it’s always worth it. To include our children in our outdoor pursuits we try to make the experiences enjoyable and appropriate for their abilities. One of these pursuits is rock climbing so to get our daughter involved we bought her a climbing harness and shoes when she was three. There are lots of safe and fun ways to include kids in climbing. Getting the right gear has been a big part of making the experience fun.
Geared Up and Ready to Climb
Kids seem to naturally climb everything; stairs, chairs, railings, fences, trees, and the list goes on. There is something universally fun and natural about climbing. Playgrounds wouldn’t be so popular if climbing stuff wasn’t fun!
3 year old rockin’ out
“How you climb a mountain is more important than reaching the top.” ― Yvon Chouinard, Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman
My husband and I started climbing in our 20’s and quickly developed a love for it. We are fortunate to have a close group of friends both with kids and without that enjoying climbing together. Most of the group has been climbing together for years and having kids has not stopped their dedication and enjoyment of the sport. Climbing with young kids is a challenge and as the old probverb says “it takes a village”, but if you can find your village, climbing with kids is an adventure worth pursuing.
Family climbing adventures
Adventuring with kids can look different everyday. We enjoy getting to remote back-country places but we also enjoy slow days at home. No matter where we end up playing we spend a large amount of time outside. We don’t incorporate structured play in all of our adventures but we try to have games to pull out for the kids if needed. They are also fun to share with new friends when camping. These games can keep a whole group of different aged kids engaged and working together.
Below are 3 easy games to engage kids in the nature. The games offer an opportunity to talk to kids about what they observe around them. Pull them out next time you are hiking or camping.
Kids love exploring nature and scavenger hunts provide an element of excitement
Family outdoor adventures are about enjoying experiences together. Kids love being outdoors and free play but they sometimes need to be given guidance or ideas. We want to share our love for nature with our kids and we also want to educate on the environment around them. We like to have some activities to pull out when camping or hiking to give the kids something to do if they need some re-direction (basically stop them from doing things we don’t want them to do).
Kids Love Trees
These are some favorite road trip ideas that hold kids attention the longest based on our experience. We have a 1 and 3 year old so keeping them happy in the car takes effort but it is possible! We have found that we need to entertain the kids more on the highway than back-country roads. The bumps and turns of the back-country are often entertainment enough; our kids like to add sound effects, sing or just relax and enjoy the ride. Use our list at your own discretion as they aren’t necessarily the most common or usual kid car activities.
Road Trip Ideas For Kids