Recently we came across great pictures of a family hiking with SOURCE Hydration Systems. Realizing that John Soltys who posted the picture is a inspiring family-hiking-adventurer-blogger, we invited him to share his experience with hydration and his kids in our blog – and we love what he came up with …
“Kids hike their own hike. Their earliest hikes are more about splashing in puddles and throwing rocks than making the miles or summiting a mountain. When they’re young and figuring out who they are they chafe at parental direction.
Don’t touch that! (More interest in touching that.)
Stay away from the edge! (Stepping *toward* the edge to look over.)
Drink some water! (NO! I’m NOT THIRSTY!)
If kids don’t hydrate they won’t go far and they won’t have fun. If they’re not having fun nobody is having fun. The solution is to convince the little ones drinking is *their* idea. This is no easy task. The best approach is not one of trickery, but ownership.
When a child has control of their own water they come to understand the importance of it. They can feel the weight in their pack and the effort to purify water when they fill it up. Plus, they’re not constantly asking for a bottle of water.
My kids carry two liter Widepac Hydration bladders. They’re easy to fill in the woods without spilling and let the kids drink whenever they want. I’ve found they tend to drink so much my concern is not dehydration but finding a place for them to pee on the trail.
Each summer I spend a few nights in the wilderness with each of my kids. On our first trips, when they were four years old, they carried only their water and their stuffed animals. (Water or no water, they need their buddies.)
This year both trips were dry and hot. In the Goat Rocks Wilderness my 11 year old daughter hiked 20 miles and climbed 4,000 feet mostly above tree line. She carried two liters of water that we refilled twice on the first day alone. In North Cascades National Park, my nine year old son and I hiked 15 miles with 4,500 feet of gain and the only time he wasn’t guzzling was when we were casually fleeing from the bear that wanted to use our trail.
Stop telling kids to drink and put them in control. They’ll stay hydrated and you won’t have to carry their water any more!”
John Soltys is a father, husband, adventurer, and (good guy) hacker and insists the order of those titles is important. He and his family (wife Amy; three kids Clara, Lillian, and Henry; and dog Treen) live in the mountains east of Seattle where they are surrounded by nature and have easy access to both the wet and dry sides of Washington. John spends 100 days a year adventuring, half of that with the family. The kids are now at an age where they can tackle serious terrain and carry their own gear. Hiking, mountaineering, backpacking, snowshoeing and fly fishing just got a lot more adventurous. John writes at moosefish.com and spends his days reducing IT security risk in Seattle.