High altitude camping can be fun if you are geared up for it right. Now couple that with kids at an elevation of 3000-5000 ft. And high altitude camping with kids is an entirely different experience.
Planning and preparation have to be on point; you could ruin or make your trip. Whichever you prepare for will define that in the end. High elevation camping with kids is very exciting but extremely dangerous. Between altitude sickness, dehydration and sleeplessness the risks are high, but if prepared correctly it can be the best times of your life.
HIGH ALTITUDE CAMPING WITH KIDS
Camping at high altitude
This is very different from the usual camping methods scenarios, where the feeling of lush green leaves stick to your skin, insects swarming on you and breathing in the early morning dew. High altitude camping is entirely different from all that.
Picture yourself standing on a building over 5000 feet high. This can be like high altitude camping at least the visual aspect. The cold and icy feeling stinging your skin, the dirt in your eyes, slippery and uncomfortable footpaths on the mountain slopes, all come together when your high altitude camping.
You should not go high altitude camping with kids unless you have a very a precise preparation plan in place. You do not want one of the kids falling ill with High altitude sickness without having the provisions to treat it.
Some of these sicknesses may be;
- short breath
- lack of appetite
- short sleep
A study from the wilderness medical society shows that specific factors were likely to contribute to altitude sickness,
They include; dehydration, and ascending altitude, etc.
You as a guide or parent should also realize that kids have difficulties expressing how they feel in regards to altitude sickness, so you might have a hard time finding out exactly what is wrong with them.
High Elevation Warnings.
Due to this, some studies have recommended specific viable factors that you should note before heading out high altitude camping with kids.
- Kids between 1 day to 1-year-old should not be taken on altitude camping trips and locations between 5000 to 8000 feet, generally.
- You should monitor and supervise kids under the age of 3 very closely during altitude climbs for symptoms of high altitude sickness.
- Ascension for kids should be slow and gradual.
- You should monitor kids who have a problem communicating, after about 3000 feet, you should begin the descent.
The study has shown that some physical conditioning for kids can reduce the likelihood of altitude sickness in them. These include;
- Keeping them hydrated. You need to make sure that the kids have adequate amounts of water and fluid in their system before the ascent to the campsite.
- Make them eat meals with high carbohydrates regularly. It keeps them sharp and alert.
- Don’t make the kids climb to the location in one day; it should be at intervals. Preferably 1000 feet should be covered in a day. Any more is pushing their physical limits.
- Sleep at an altitude between 1000 feet to 5000
You should consider all this and do proper planning before thinking about going high altitude camping with kids.
So that you know, the only cure for altitude sickness is descent. For that reason, you have to avoid it in the first place.
All packed? What’s next?
I am hopeful with all this information, next time you plan on going high altitude camping with kids, you will have made sufficient plans for altitude sicknesses and all other factors that might trigger its likeliness.
This brings us to another critical factor.
Pick up your backpack; it’s going to be a crazy sweet ride.
Camp set up.
This is the next thing you should consider after tackling altitude sickness. I made it clear earlier that high altitude climbing with kids is not at all the same as camping on a lowland campsite; you need to take ample precautions for safety which will naturally increase the amount of fun you will want the kids to enjoy.
Here are some things to note:
Pick a shelter out of the wind and possible falling rocks
During ascent, avoid camping on mountain passes that can be wind tunnels.
Make use of established campsites.
The reasoning for this is not that far fetched. Established campsites have been used multiple times, so there are safer and more reliable and most likely have provisions in them.
Hold your gear down with massive stones to avoid them from being blown away by gusts of wind.
It can get super crazy windy on a mountain. You need to make sure that your gear is solidly held down by heavy objects or you might find yourself running after your belongings, one after the other.
Picture one of your kids having his snacks all packed into a bag which happens to get blown away by the heavy wind, that kid is not going to be very happy. That kid is going to create all the trouble he can; he might cry, pout and be generally inactive during the rest of the camping trip.
If you still don’t get the picture, think about your maps and camping gear being blown away, all your preparations gone. You would be left with nothing but to improvise for the rest of the camping trip and probably need to turn downhill. You wouldn’t want that. So stay smart and stay geared down.
Avoid ridges and exposed ground.
The primary reason why you should avoid types of places when going high altitude camping with kids is that they are usually a hot zone for lightning strikes. So it’s best to stay as far away from them as you can.
. Be sure the kids have shanks boots. You never know what part of the mountain might have ice on it. Boots with crampons are explicitly built for ice gripping.
Use an altimeter.
Make sure you have an altimeter in your gear. It is used to measure the altitude and changes in the atmospheric pressure. Very important.
Your kid’s high altitude sleeping bag is key to the success and survival for a high altitude camping experience. The right sleeping bag can enhance a good night sleep for a kid camping at high altitude.
Camping and cooking.
We all know how vital the right food is to kids. The importance of this increase by 200% especially with kids going high altitude camping. You need to keep their spirit up and their energy high. So, for cooking, eating and drinking at high altitudes, here are some things you should take into consideration.
- Bring your own wood. Finding dry wood can be hard at the peak or mountain pass as you To be on the safer side, pack your own dry wood.
- Sometimes wood can be stressful. Carrying that much load while climbing over 3000 feet can be worse. To ease the stress, you may substitute wood for stoves and camping gas.
- Make sure the kids drink a lot of water. During high altitude camping, it is found that adults urinate more and so do kids. To keep them hydrated, make sure they take in as much water as they can.
- To reiterate my earlier point, stuff them full of carbohydrates. It will help the kids remain energetic.
Sanitation guide for altitude camping.
It may come across as common sense. However, most of these tips will steadily affect the success of your kid’s camping experience, sanitation included. You sure would not want the wind blowing back towards you as you urinate or an already used item not put away correctly, or still, kids coming in contact with the already decomposing material used days earlier, it can be traumatic for the kid. So, here are some things to take note of:
- Make sure the kids have a portable WAG bag. Waste Alleviation Gelling (WAG) bag is a biodegradable bag which contains a powder that gels waste, neutralizes odor and starts the decay process immediately. It is also puncture resistant, so you have nothing to worry about carrying it along with you on your ascent.
- Make sure the kids do not carry extra stuff they don’t need. This reduces the amount of trash they may need to dispose of.
- Try to bury any trash by digging the ground with a small shovel.
Kids are unpredictable, so no matter how much planning you have made, they can surprise you. Therefore, it always advisable to have extra items just in case something goes wrong.
Kids want to have fun; they love to run around and jump. When you are up in a high elevation zone, try as much as possible to control the pace of the kids, so they don’t tire out before the main ascent begins. You should have a set target for each day of rising; you don’t want to carry some of the kids on your back, that will be too tiresome. So, ensure moderate elevation changes.
Since this is high altitude climbing with kids, you are going to be super close to the sun. Having good UV rated protective sunglasses will surely help your eyes and those of the kids as well.
Ensure the kids carry along SPF sunscreen to avoid sunburns.
There is so much fun you can have on the mountaintop, explore. There is never a dull moment with kids
Get set and off you go!!!
High Altitude climbing with kids can is a daunting task for sure. It will blow your mind away; adventuring with kids will give you double the fun. So fly on, enjoy the view, take pictures and have a blast. Do not forget to share your experience. We can’t wait to read your story.
Hi, Dennis and Shelly Jackson here, we are the faces behind Campsite Planning. We are parents of 4 great kids and a little dog. And we are sharing some of our experiences with the site. I hope you enjoy and please do not hesitate to contact us for any reason.
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