Outdoor Babies and Kids are Happy Babies and Kids
We know this, of course, but how often do we shudder (or, well, I did) at the thought of one more day in wet cold weather with little ones? Snowsuit on, snowsuit off. “My hands are cold!” “My socks are wet!”
And that was just my feet and hands 🙂 With up to 8 more little hands and 8 more little feet at any given time, I’d often wish for a winter weather fairy to help me navigate inclement weather and kids.
Enter Judy Banfield of Mountain Baby
As in so many other areas, the Nelson Kootenay Lake area has an outdoor baby expert who has dedicated her career to educating parents about the joy of taking babies and kids outdoors on adventures of all sorts.
When my kids were younger, Judy owned a shop called Comfort & Joy, which educated and informed parents about all sorts of wonderful clothes and toys for little ones. It was through Judy that I discovered a wonderful baby carrier, and warm booties and socks. It is Comfort & Joy which entertained many a young child at the train table as parents tackled downtown errands.
Keeping Warm and Happy, Even in the Great Outdoors
A train table is one thing, but Judy has now expanded to offer a wide selection of real outdoor gear for babies and kids. If you’re not in the Nelson Kootenay Lake area, Mountain Baby has a great online store, with stuff you need to take kids outside and keep everyone warm, dry — and happy. As Judy puts it so well, “I often say to parents, buy fewer toys and get great outdoor gear.” It’s such a great way to frame things. The last thing many kids need is more toys. But to be outdoors and comfortable? Priceless.
And, of course, we think you’ll love this area for camping and touring with your kids. There are so many places to go, so many adventures to be had. Parents have regaled me with stories of camping at Drinnon Pass, for example. The image above shows how glorious camping with a little one at Drinnon Pass can be. Judy recommends investing in good quality baby carriers, and reminds parents that babies do loose heat quickly, even in summer. So making sure your little one is warm is a priority. But beyond that, as outdoor mom Savina Kelly said of camping with her daughter, “it’s simplicity. It’s like hitting the reset button.” I think I understand completely.
Outdoors Away from Homemade Stresses
One of the healthiest parts of being outdoors and on an adventure with your little ones is that you can focus on what’s important. The relationship between you is all there is, and all that matters, even for just those few days. Quieting down and focusing on the simple things, like simply being together, is a rare treat in our busy modern world.
Mom of two boys Susan Noppe said this about kids in nature: “kids especially will notice things like the sounds of forest animals or the smell of the earth and trees,” which I think speaks to what everyone I spoke with mentioned at some point. It’s a part of being human, to be out in nature. Kids get this from the start.
Important Tips for Longer Outdoor Adventures
Susan Noppe is not only a stellar mom to her two boys, but an accomplished outdoors person and adventure tour guide herself. Her tips for keeping kids happy outdoors come from years of experience, so you can thank me for the following tips 🙂
- Bring good food. In fact, in Susan’s words, “I think it’s important to bring great food along.” Specifically, food that the kids may not normally get everyday. I’m thinking here about little chocolates, or maybe a certain kind of dried fruit (my kids always loved dried mango).
- Dehydrate food and then cook in the alpine.
- Make sure to have waterproof outer layers and quick dry (not cotton) under layers.
- Invest in a quality, warm sleeping bag and underlayer. Make sure you have a good quality wind resistant tent.
- First Aid! Spoken like a pro, and definitely important. Make sure you not only bring along a good first aid kit, but that you know how to use it.
- Make sure that the adults are well within their comfort range. Don’t do things with kids that you aren’t completely, 150% comfortable doing on your own.
Here are a few highlights of places you might want to try out next time you visit us with kids in tow (But of course, having kids with you isn’t necessary — These places are great for the big kids, too.
- Kokanee Glacier Cabin — It could take small children as much as four to five hours to get there with lunch and snack breaks but it is not a strenuous hike as most of the elevation is gained by car. For an adult or teen it probably only takes 2 1/2 hours with snack stops.
- Pilot Bay — Easy backpacking and the trail that leads south from there along the east shore of Kootenay Lake.
- Kokanee Creek Campground and hikes around Kootenay Lake
- Kaslo Campground with lake and mountain hikes
- For winter snowshoeing or ski touring, Ripple Ridge Cabin is only an hour away.
And, of course, if you want to stay in other accommodations, or dine at some of the many restaurant, keep a link to our website close at hand.
Top Photo courtesy of Mountain Baby.