Trekking Poles Can Help Your Hike

Trekking Poles Can Help Your Hike!

Trekking poles, which look similar to ski poles, add balance and stability while you hike. They move the hiking workout to the upper body and take the impact off your knees; especially when you have the added weight of carrying a child. They can help keep you balanced while fording streams and can even serve as a shelter pole. Kids can benefit from trekking poles too. You will need to teach your children how to use the poles safely. You will need to set the pole height so that your child can comfortably grip the handles while extending his arm out at a 90-degree angle.  The poles can easily be adjusted using modern flip lock technology.

Trekking pole recommendations:

Black Diamond’s Ergo Cork (Paid Link) is an excellent choice

Leki Women’s (Paid Link) is designed especially for women

Trail Buddy (Paid Link) is priced right and your kids will enjoy picking out their own color

Protect You and Your family from diseases associated with Ticks and Mosquitos — Prevention is the Key!

The benefits of spending time with family in nature far out way the risks of acquiring an illness from a bug bite. That said, the last thing you want is for your child to get eaten alive by insects or a disease from an infected tick or mosquito. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is warning of an increased risk of disease from tick and mosquito bites. Mosquitos can transmit the Zika virus along with other viruses and ticks can transmit many diseases such as Lyme Disease and now, the Powassan virus (POW). But, by taking a few simple precautions, you can help keep your kids safe on your camping and hiking adventures.

Use a Multipronged Strategy:

  1. Before heading outside, apply insect repellant containing Picardin (such as Natrapel) or DEET (N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) (such as OFF or BENZ). These are the most effective repellents for both ticks and mosquitos and they are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) as safe for children two months and older. Follow package instructions and wash the repellent off when you return indoors.
  2. Pretreat your clothing and gear with Permethrin. Permethrin is an insecticide that was approved by the EPA for use on clothing, packs, tents, and shoes. It is not for use on skin. It is considered safe by the CDC and EPA for use on children’s clothing. You can apply it yourself. Follow package instructions. Several clothing and gear supplier’s factory-treat items with Permethrin.
  3. For infants under two months of age, avoid buggy situations for the first few months, and/or cover your infant carrier with bug netting and check your child for ticks and bites frequently.
  4. Wear long-sleeved shirts & pants when tolerable.
  5. Stay on the trail and avoid brushing up against trees and plants.
  6. Check everyone for ticks: scalp, underarms, legs, and in and behind ears.
  7. Carry a pair of tweezers and brush up on how to safely remove a tick.  Remove ticks immediately.

Make bug bite prevention part of your routine.  It’s not a 100% guarantee that you will eliminate the risk of a bug borne disease.  But, if you take these steps, you will help to keep everyone safe and healthy on you outdoor adventures.

Jeff Alt is a family camping and hiking expert. He is the author of Get Your Kids Hiking: How to Start Them Young and Keep it Fun and several other award-winning outdoor books, A Walk for Sunshine (Appalachian Trail), Four Boots One Journey (John Muir Trail), and The Adventures of Bubba Jones (National Park your series). For more information, visit:

Applying Bug Repellent
Pretreating clothing and gear with Permethrin

Finally a DEET free bug repellent that works!

Have you tried out picaridin based bug repellent? We’ve been using picaridin based bug sprays on our entire family (kids and adults) for quite a while and we are completely satisfied. Picaridin is safe on kids over 6 months, if applied properly. It doesn’t ruin clothing and gear or have the odor like DEET and the 20% strength lasts all day. Natrapel makes the all-day strength, but it is available in other brands of varying strength (see Amazon for more)

Which hiking water treatment option is right for you?

I filmed this video exploring three modern water treatment options for hiking. You will only live for a few days without water. In the US, even the cleanest streams and lakes are contaminated with protozoa such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia which our eyes can’t see. Untreated water can make you very sick. There are more methods of treating water then I discuss in this video. But, the treatment options discussed are proven, easy to use methods that will help keep you safe from waterborne illness.