Getting out on the trail systems with your small one can be a daunting thought if you have never hiked before. However, the reality is you really need very little to hike it like a pro. Here are a few tips to get started:

• Invest in a baby carrier or hiking carrier. You can locate them at local consignment sales or go all out and invest at local sporting goods stores. Stephanie Francis of Hike It Baby says, “The only equipment you really NEED is a baby carrier (if your child can’t walk yet). But like most things, the experience can be made more enjoyable with better gear. Waterproof hiking boots, a hiking stick or trekking poles, and non-cotton clothing are some of the simplest ways to improve the quality of your hike.”

• Sunscreen is a must for every member of the family. Along with some hats you and your baby will be protected from the sun and will avoid any sunburn discomfort later.

• Water and snacks for both you and your Little is essential. Babies of course need breastmilk or formula at the ready. Getting out and hiking is thirsty work and you want to carry plenty to rehydrate and refuel. Small portable snacks work the best unless you are participating in a long two or three-hour hike. Then you will want to bring more. For babies, on formula a good trick is to bring proportioned formula and enough eater to make up a quick bottle.

• A good sense of humor when trekking with Littles is essential. You won’t get left behind and everybody understands that kids are an adventure. “Research shows that spending time outdoors helps children learn how to mitigate risk, manage stress, build self-confidence, and foster creativity,” Francis says. “Nature has a calming effect on many people and can reduce much of the stress and anxiety that comes from having young children”

More:Hiking groups welcome parents with baby in tow

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