Just getting out the door with kids can be an adventure in and of itself, but it needn’t be. The adventures can be reserved for the trail. How, you ask? Here are some tips and tricks that I’ve learned over the years to get them out the door quickly. Now, if you’re looking for ways to get your kids to get dressed, brush their teeth, and all of the stuff that they are responsible for, I can’t help you. However, if you have strategies for that, I am all ears! My tips and tricks only apply to the stuff that you need to do. They work great for both the last-minute adventures as well as your epic adventure that you have spent days (or even weeks) planning.
We all know that hydration is important, but did you know that hydration doesn’t start on the trail? It really should start several days before your adventure. Everyone should be well hydrated before you even leave the house. This can be tough, but I have discovered that when I fill up a water bottle at night (instead of in the morning), we tend to drink way more water. It’s usually empty before too long once they wake up and it’s refilled several times throughout the day. We have made this part of our post-dinner cleanup – everyone fills up their own water bottle. Another key to making this work is finding a water bottle that your kids want to use. My kids like the Camelbak water bottles and we have found some fun designs so that everybody has one to fit their own unique style. I’ve had to go through several to find the one that works best for me. I’ve found that I drink more with a straw, so my go-to is a Hydroflask with a straw lid. I have a Yeti Rumbler that I like as well. If your family finds a water bottle that they like, they are more likely to drink out of it and stay hydrated. Don’t forget to bring along a sports drink for everyone on those especially hot days to replace electrolytes as well.
I don’t know what it is about being outside, but my kids eat much more than they normally do when we’re out on an adventure. I would love to say I’m one of those moms who only lets her kids eat healthy snacks, but I’m not. When we’re out doing fun things, I keep it simple. My kids like the snacks that are in those little pouches, so that’s what I bring. I put 3-4 pouches for each person, including myself, in a large gallon size zipper bag and keep it in the pantry. When it’s time to go, I just grab the bag and throw it in my pack. I don’t have to spend time figuring out which snacks to get and making sure that I have enough.
When it comes to adventure backpacks, I’m covered. I literally have a backpack ready to go for every type of adventure. If we’re all going, I have a “family” pack. If I’m going solo or with other adults, I have my solo pack. If we’re going biking, I even have a pack for that. Each of my packs contain some basics: a first aid kit (slightly bigger and more comprehensive for the family pack), a safety whistle, sunscreen, bug spray, hand sanitizer, wet wipes, and some kind of trash bag. These bags are always ready, so when it’s time to head out, I grab the appropriate pack, throw in my wallet and sunglasses, grab the snack bag and water, and out the door we go. The kids have their packs too. They carry their water bottles and whatever extras they want to bring along. Packs can be expensive, but over the years, I’ve accumulated several – school packs that didn’t quite work for my kids, packs found at the local thrift store, and even one or two that I purchased new. Of course, organizing and storing theses pack can be an issue, but the savings in time and frustration makes it more than worth it.
How to make it work for you
You’re probably thinking that these are great tips, but how do I make it work – and keep it working – for me? The biggest hurdle is figuring out what you need and setting it up. Once that’s done, take care of everything as soon as you get home. My husband and kids know that when we get home, we unload the car and immediately go through all the bags. Emptying your bags allows you to get rid of trash and any stuff you don’t want or need for next time. While everything is out of the bag, refill any necessary supplies like band aids and hand sanitizer and replace your trash bag. This way, the bag is full of supplies and ready to go the next time you need it. Do the same thing with the snacks by adding snack pouches before putting it back in the pantry so that it’s all set for your next outing. Don’t forget to keep filling a water bottle every night so it’s always ready to grab and go too.
Hopefully some of these tips will allow you to save your sanity, get out the door quickly, and save the adventure for the trail.