The good news is that yes, it’s safe to trek with kids! There are some modifications we make to treks with kids and some pre planning to do.
We’ve run many treks with kids, our very own little Mr O was out trekking from the time he was 5 months old.
To give everyone the best chance at loving your trek, some things to consider are:
Have the kids trekked before and did they like it?
We find that kids who know what to expect are great with trekking in the Himalaya. And conversely, we find that kids who haven’t done much hiking find multi-day trekking in the Himalayas really hard. We strongly recommend getting your kids out hiking before taking on a trek to see how they (and you!) go. These hikes are also a great opportunity to wear in trekking boot and make sure their gear is right.
Do they have appropriate gear?
Make sure your kids have good fitting, well worn-in and comfortable trekking boots/shoes. Trekking with ill-fitting shoes is just the worst and it’s hard to enjoy where you are when you’re in pain! We encourage everyone in a group to carry their own appropriately-sized day pack that includes water.
Can your kids communicate how they’re feeling?
Children going to altitude need to be of an age where they can clearly tell you if they aren’t feeling well, and precisely what the problem is. Just like adults, there’s no way to tell how kids will react to being at altitude and it’s possible to feel the effects as low as 2500m. Hence, above this altitude, everyone needs to be able to communicate to their guide (or parent in the case of kids), if they’re not feeling good. Usually there’s nothing to worry about and by keeping the conversation open, your guide can monitor the situation and will let you know what the best plan of attack is.
As a general rule, we recommend kids under 5 don’t go above 2500m in altitude. This is of course open for discussion, based on your family.
Kids who are well prepared for trekking love coming to Nepal! Trekking in a group with the crew is really fun, it’s quite a novelty to have people around for multiple days that are there to entertain and interact. Most of our crew have kids or live with extended family and have nieces/nephews around the house. Kids aren’t seen as an inconvenience in this region but they’re nurtured and part of the community.
Being flexible – it’s important for everyone on a trek with kids to be flexible. We know that kids sometimes need something different than what’s on an itinerary and that’s just fine with us! Need a day off trekking or maybe your lunch break becomes your overnight stop? Sure, you’ve got it! Ultimately, this is your trip so you get to choose how your trip goes, we’re just here to make it happen!
Here are some trek ideas that work really well with kids because there are options to modify your trek along the way:
Link to Balthali – this is an excellent low altitude trek (it stays well below 2500m), has short trekking days, access to roads each night and is just lovely trekking!
Link to Muldai – this trek takes you a little higher and is super flexible, a great option for kids who have some hiking experience and are over 5 years old.
Porters for the littlies
Children under 4 years old may not be able to keep up with the amount of walking required for even short treks so we do have an option to have them carried. The carrying style might not look the most comfortable to you, but the forehead strap is the traditional way to carry goods in the Himalayas, you’ll see commercial porters carrying up to 100kg this way! Our porters can take a maximum load of 30kg.
You’re also welcome to bring a hiking carrier from home if you would like to carry your child yourself.
Here’s what a previous guest, Anna from New Zealand had to say about her family trek:
“… we were extremely grateful to our fantastic guide Chhiri. He was both very professional and knowledgeable and good company. He and the two porters, Sam and Siri made our hike all the more special. They did far more than meet the minimum requirements of a guide/porting service, they became good friends and went out of their way to share their culture, country and themselves with us.
17 days hiking with 3 generations couldn’t have been done in a more special place. The days walking were well mixed with some longer and others shorter, when altitude became a factor. The weather was perfect which always is a bonus and the Tsum valley was probably the highlight (just ahead of Larke Pass) – The mix of monasteries and walking through ancient villages was very special. Chhiri was also very caring and conscientious with the responsibility of taking my 10yr old daughter on such a long hike. While she had done long hikes before, she’d never been to this altitude at 5100m – she loved the experience and Chhiri again took great care with all of us.”
Insert photos of kids being carried in a basket by porters.