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You used to enjoy the solitude of backpacking in the wilderness. Back then, you found contentment camping beside a stream or lake deep in the mountains. But now you have a new family - a baby, toddler or an older child or two, and you think you have to give that all up until they are old enough to learn an appreciation of the outdoors for themselves.

Think again. Children are never too young to learn to love camping and packing, and to appreciate the natural world first-hand. Stroll throughThe Family Backpacker and learn how your whole family can become Family Packpackers.

Check out the latest NEWS, from Family Backpacker: tips and stories from readers, events and picture galleries.

TIPS on backpacking with children of all ages.

INFANT (age 0-1) is a challenging proposition, but can be a very special experience. The baby is essentially just another item in your pack, along with a lot of other items (diapers!).

TODDLERS (age 1-3) are generally still too young to hike, and they're heavier. This is probably the most difficult stage for the parents, but also the most formative for the budding backpacker.

WALKERS (age 3-5) are too big to carry, but not yet old enough to hike on their own. Special measures are required.

HIKER. They can't carry much of a pack, but they can usually hike all the way to camp.

Finally, at age 8-11, your child is a PACKER, and they can start hauling their own stuff - but don't overdo it.

Go to the LINKS page to find out where you can buy the equipment, find camp recipes, maps and more.

Have a comment or tip to offer? Share an interesting or funny story? Pictures of you and your kids in the wilderness? Why not email them to We'll post as many as we can in our gallery (coming soon).

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Copyright 2005 Family Backpacker

Email Gary Newman