The Best Hiking Gear For Kids [2024 Guide]

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Are you looking for the best hiking gear for kids? When it comes to venturing outdoors, you want everyone to be comfortable – kids included since unhappy kids = unhappy parents!

This is the ultimate guide of essential hiking gear for kids, with recommendations for kids’ hiking gear to suit different seasons and ages.

After all, you want your small adventurers to head into the great outdoors, equipped with gear that ensures their comfort and safety. The right hiking gear can make or break your trip!

From durable and protective kids’ clothing to essential accessories like reliable water bottles, sunscreen, insect repellent, and medical kits, we’ve got your family’s next hiking trail needs sorted.

two kids dressed in hiking gear with hiking poles.

Hiking With Kids: What Do You Need?

When hiking with kids, ensuring their comfort is the most essential thing. This means choosing hiking gear for kids that is suited to the type of trail you are doing, the weather and of course, suitable for their age and size.

Hiking gear that is suited to weather conditions and temperatures plays a crucial role in making the experience enjoyable.

Lightweight, moisture-wicking clothing keeps them cool in warmer weather, while thermal layers and insulated jackets provide warmth in colder weather.

In addition to the right seasonal gear, having kids wear clothing and shoes that aren’t a perfect fit can have disastrous consequences, like blisters or rolled ankles.

Then there’s the protective gear, such as hats, sunscreen and bug spray!

Hiking Kit For Kids Checklist

To fully equip your children for a hiking adventure, here’s a list of essential hiking gear for kids:

  • Hiking boots or hiking sandals
  • Hiking pants or shorts
  • Hiking shirt
  • Hiking jacket
  • Hat
  • Socks
  • Hiking poles
  • Backpack
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Waterbottle
  • Hiking meals and snacks
  • First aid kit
  • Optional: cold weather hiking layers, gloves, beanie

Best Hiking Shoes For Kids

Choosing the best hiking shoes for your child can often depend on the type of hike you’re doing. If you’re doing a long trail or hiking in cooler weather, hiking boots or good-quality sneakers are going to be your best option.

However, for shorter hikes or warmer weather, lightweight kids’ hiking sandals are also a great option.

Look for shoes that have good grip and traction – especially if the terrain is mostly rocky.

And as mentioned above, you really want to make sure it’s a great fit. A hiking boot that’s too big will slide up and down the heel with every step, resulting in blisters. There is no faster way to ruin a trip!

Hiking Boots

For hiking boots for kids, check out these great options:

Merrell Unisex-Child Trail Chaser Jr Hiking Sneaker

  • Size Options: Toddler to 12 years
  • Where To Buy: Get it on AMAZON

With an easy hook and loop closure to make the Merrell Trail Chaser kid-friendly, along with a velcro strap for a snug fit. They have durable suede and a mesh upper to make them more breathable. The flexible base gives extra grip and the EVA footbed adds comfort for long days spent hiking.

Merrell Unisex-Child Chameleon 7 (Waterproof)

  • Size Options: Toddler and up to size 13.5 for big kids
  • Where To Buy: Get it on AMAZON

If you want a waterproof hiking boot for kids, the Merrell Chameleon 7 is a great option for avoiding wet feet during a trek. It has a durable rubber sole with a combination of leather and mesh for breathability and durability.

KEEN Unisex-Child Chandler CNX Comfortable Sneakers

  • Size Options: Toddler to size 7 big kid
  • Where To Buy: Get it on AMAZON

The best thing about these KEEN Chandler sneakers is that they work for day hikes but can also be worn for everyday play. This is a good option if you don’t hike often and don’t want to spend a lot on a shoe they won’t hardly wear. They give good traction without the bulk.

Hiking Sandals

If you want something more lightweight, these kids and toddler hiking sandals are great options:

HOBIBEAR Sport Water Sandals 

  • Size Options: From toddler to size 6 big kid
  • Where To Buy: Get it on AMAZON

These lightweight HOBIBEAR Sport Water sandals will take them from swimming to hiking during summer with a flexible outsole and breathability. They are also easy for kids to put on and off.

Weestep Closed Toe Quick Dry Beach Hiking Sandal

  • Size Options: From toddler to size 13
  • Where To Buy: Get it on AMAZON

These Weestep Quick Dry Hiking sandals are easy to put on and off with a hook and loop clasp, quick drying and rubber front to toes protected. They can go from hike to beach.

Hiking Clothes For Kids

When it comes to dressing your young adventurers for hiking, the right hiking clothes can make all the difference in their comfort and enjoyment.

Hiking Pants For Kids

Choose hiking pants for kids that will be comfortable and suit the conditions of your day hike:

Quick Dry Waterproof Hiking Cargo Pants

  • Size Options: 5 to 16 years
  • Where To Buy: Get it on AMAZON

These quick dry kids cargo pants are a convertible option with zip-off removable lets to go from pants to shorts as they warm up. UPF 50 fabric for sun protection and water repellant.

CQR Kids UPF 50+ Quick Dry Convertible Hiking Cargo Pants

  • Size Options: From 4 to adult sizes
  • Where To Buy: Get it on AMAZON

These CQR quick dry kids pants for hiking are another great convertible option to take you through different temperatures, from early morning starts to warmer days. There are adjustable tabs on the waistband and plenty of pockets.

Hiking Shorts For Kids

When doing summer hikes or in warmer climates, having some great shorts in your kids’ outdoor gear is essential:

BASSDASH Youth UPF 50+ Quick Dry Cargo Shorts 

  • Size Options: x-small to x-large
  • Where To Buy: Get it on AMAZON

These Bassdash cargo shorts are perfect for outdoor activities, including hiking, fishing and boating. They are water resistant and quick-dry, with pockets and sun protection.

CQR Kids Youth Pull-On Cargo Shorts

  • Size Options: XX-Small to X Large
  • Where To Buy: Get it on AMAZON

These CQR youth cargo pants have pockets, are lightweight with a comfortable elastic waistband and are made from a breathable, quick-dry fabric.

Hiking Shirts For Kids 

Keep shoulders protected from the sun with these lightweight kids’ hiking shirts:

Performance UPF 50+ Protection Hoodie T-Shirt

  • Size Options: XS to XL
  • Where To Buy: Get it on AMAZON

This long-sleeve t-shirt has a hoodie and pockets and UV protection to keep your child protected from the harsh sun. This lightweight shirt is breathable and soft and can be worn as an extra layer under winter hiking gear or ski gear during winter too. Kids will love all the different colour options.

INGEAR Long Sleeve Rash Guard Sports Shirt

  • Size Options: X small to X large
  • Where To Buy: Get it on AMAZON

The Ingear long-sleeved rash guard shirts are great multipurpose outdoor shirts for swimming, hiking, boating or fishing with lightweight UV protection and quick dry fabric.

Hiking Jacket for Kids

For cold weather hikes, a good quality jacket is essential for keeping your child warm!

Columbia Boys’ Steens Mt II Fleece

  • Size Options: Baby to big kids
  • Where To Buy: Get it on AMAZON

The Columbia Steens Fleece jacket is made of soft fabric with MTR filament fleece for extra warmth. It has a full zip-up collar for keeping the cold out and cozy fleece on the inside too.

Columbia Girls’ Switchback II Jacket

  • Size Options: Toddler to X large
  • Where To Buy: Get it on AMAZON

This Columbia Switchback jacket comes in a load of vibrant colours, has a hood and is waterproof for wet weather. It has elastic cuffs and a drop tail to keep your child warm

Winter Hiking Clothes for Kids

Ready to hit the outdoors during the cold winter days? These extra clothing and accessories are suitable for cold winters and hiking in the snow:

32 DEGREES Kid’s Heat Base Layer Set

  • Size Options:
  • Where To Buy: Get it on AMAZON

These kids’ base layer sets are designed to provide exceptional warmth and comfort for your little ones. They are perfect for keeping your kids cozy during outdoor activities with an extra layer underneath.

JAN & JUL Kids’ Waterproof Cozy-Dry Pants

  • Size Options:
  • Where To Buy: Get it on AMAZON

These JAN & JUL waterproof fleece-lined pants are fantastic for rainy days and snow hiking. They are an absolute game-changer when it comes to keeping your kids comfortable and dry in wet weather conditions.

Home Prefer Toddler Beanie

  • Size Options: Toddler
  • Where To Buy: Get it on AMAZON

The Home Prefer toddler beanies are the perfect accessory to keep your little hiker warm during the chilly winter months. This knitted beanie features a skull design with ear covers that provide excellent coverage for your child’s head and ears. The hat is made with double layers of knitted fabric for maximum warmth.

Slouchy Beanie For Kids

  • Size Options: One size for 5 to 14
  • Where To Buy: Get it on AMAZON

This slouchy winter beanie for kids has a soft fleece lining to make it windproof for extra warmth.

YukiniYa Kids Water Repellant Winter Gloves

  • Size Options: 3 to 15 years
  • Where To Buy: Get it on AMAZON

These YukiniYa water-repellent gloves are anti-slip with warm fleece lining. They are the perfect companion for your child’s winter outdoor activities.

Other Hiking Clothes For Children

For the other essential kids hiking gear, check out these essentials:

Kids’ Hats For Hiking

A good hat is definitely essential hiking gear. Keep faces and necks protected from the sun during your family hikes:

Connectyle Outdoor UV Sun Hat 

  • Size Options: 2 to 6 years
  • Where To Buy: Get it on AMAZON

This quick-drying, lightweight Connectyle sun hat is oh-so-comfy with an adjustable chin cord that keeps it secure. It has an adjustable pull-cord feature and wide brim with UPF 50+ sun protection.

GearTOP Sun Hats for Kids

  • Size Options: 5 to 13 years
  • Where To Buy: Get it on AMAZON

Worried about sunburn on the back of the neck? The GearTop sun hat is here to save the day. With its neck cover, it shields your child’s neck from harmful sun rays. It also has breathable mesh to keep the head cool and water-resistant fabric for rainy days too.

Kids’ Socks For Hiking

Good quality socks are essential for keeping feet warm and adding an extra layer of comfort to hiking shoes:

ANTSANG Kids Wool Hiking Socks

  • Size Options: Toddler to 12 years
  • Where To Buy: Get it on AMAZON

The ANTSANG Kids Wool socks are a thick thermal crew sock with 55% wool for added warmth. Plus they come in some seriously cute designs!

Anlisim Kids Merino Wool Hiking Socks

  • Size Options:
  • Where To Buy: Get it on AMAZON

These Anlisim kids’ socks are a versatile addition to their winter wardrobe, made from 70% merino wool, with arch support.

Best Hiking Gear For Kids

Now that we’ve covered the essential hiking clothes for kids, let’s look at the essential hiking gear and accessories:

Best Hiking Backpacks For Kids

A Kids’ hiking backpack should be lightweight and durable. Here are some great hiking backpacks for kids to take on a family hike:

Ivygreen Kids Hydration Backpack

  • Size Options: One size
  • Where To Buy: Get it on AMAZON

This Ivygreen kids backpack for hiking provides comfort and functionality. Its design is specific to the needs of young adventurers, providing the perfect fit for their activities. With adjustable straps and a 1.5L water bladder, it’s made from water-resistant fabric and is lightweight.

CamelBak Mini M.U.L.E. Kids Hydration Backpack

  • Size Options: One size
  • Where To Buy: Get it on AMAZON

This CamelBak Mini M.U.L.E. Kids Hydration Backpack has a 1.5L water reservoir to keep your kids hydrated during all their outdoor activities. With reflective stripes, zippered compartments and even a bike tool organiser pocket.

Hiking Poles For Kids

If you are planning some serious family hiking trails, investing in some trekking poles for your child might be an essential for you.

High Stream Kids Hiking Poles

  • Size Options: One size
  • Where To Buy: Get it on AMAZON

These telescopic trekking poles are more than just handy, they’re designed for kids’ height at 40″ (100cm) in length and lightweight. They come in a few fun colours too.

Anti Shock Adjustable Hiking Poles

  • Size Options: One size
  • Where To Buy: Get it on AMAZON

Elevate your outdoor experience with the Anti-Shock Adjustable Hiking Poles. From beginners to experienced explorers, these poles can extend from 26.5″ to 53.25″ which makes them suitable for people 3’6″ to 6’4″ in height – kids and adults alike.

Hiking Waterbottle For Kids

Every family hike needs good hydration and it’s important to teach kids to keep their hydration up on hiking trails. If they don’t have a water backpack, these reusable water bottles are great for day hikes:

MAKERSLAND Collapsible Folding Water Bottles

  • Size Options: One size
  • Where To Buy: Get it on AMAZON

These collapsible folding water bottles are fun and compact. Their silicone construction allows them to shrink down, saving space in your backpack.

Collapsible Water Bottle

  • Size Options: One size
  • Where To Buy: Get it on AMAZON

These collapsible Water Bottles are made of BPA-free silicone and are dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning. They are lightweight, durable, leakproof plus you can fold it down when not in use.

Other Hiking Essentials For Families

Then there are the rest of the things you need that don’t quite fit into the general kids’ hiking gear categories but are essential for safety and comfort for the whole family:

Sunscreen

Shield your family from harmful UV rays and ensure they can enjoy the great outdoors without worrying about sunburn. Go for a UV 50+ as a minimum.

Insect Repellent

Nature’s beauty comes with some tiny pesky companions, but you can keep them at bay with a child-friendly bug repellent.

First Aid Kit

Safety comes first, and a well-stocked first aid kit is your safety net. From minor scrapes, and blisters to unexpected bumps, having a compact first aid kit will help you be ready to handle any minor mishap.

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Tips For Choosing Kids’ Hiking Gear

As a parent, you want to choose the best hiking gear for kids to ensure your kids can enjoy their outdoor adventures. You don’t want them to dread your next hiking with kids adventure!

These tips will help you with choosing kids’ hiking gear that makes it fun for everyone:

  • Prioritise Comfort: Little kids love to move and explore, so opt for gear that allows them to do so comfortably. Look for lightweight and breathable fabrics that won’t restrict their movement.
  • Weather-Appropriate Clothing: Dressing for the weather is key. Layering is your secret weapon. Choose moisture-wicking and quick-drying materials that adapt to changing conditions.
  • Proper Footwear: Invest in sturdy hiking boots or sandals with good traction. Proper footwear supports their feet and ankles on uneven terrain and provides a comfortable hiking experience.
  • Hydration: Staying hydrated is crucial. Choose backpacks with hydration reservoirs or pockets for water bottles. Dealing with dehydration is no fun for anyone!
  • Let Them Choose: Involve your kids in the hiking gear selection process. Letting them choose their colours or patterns can make them more excited and invested in the adventure.
  • Have Fun: Hiking with kids is all about fun and enjoying the great outdoors. Let your kids’ curiosity guide them and encourage them to observe nature, ask questions, and investigate.

Conclusion: Kids’ Hiking Gear

Make sure that every outdoor adventure is memorable and comfortable by preparing your kids with the best hiking gear. From closed-toe hiking sandals that provide traction and support to durable clothing that shields them from the weather, the right gear lays the foundation for memorable family outdoor adventures. 

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