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#109053 - 10/18/07 11:12 PM Another attempt at a kid's hiking kit.
digimark Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 01/28/07
Posts: 70
Loc: Chesapeake Beach, MD
Well, here's my latest try to put together a decent kid's hiking kit. As you'll see from the picture, I've put everything into a $10 fanny pack, and it barely fits. Any advice on presenting this to an 8-year old? We're going camping tomorrow night and I plan to go through the kit and explain it to him then.

Small towel.
Small bubble compass and thermometer attached to pack zipper.
MXZ folding saw I picked up at BJ's (Like Costco).
The whistle we bought him at the Columbus OH American Whistle Co.
A Swedish Firesteel Scout. (Should I add some kind of tinder?)
A Gerber Clutch mini-tool.
Emergency Poncho.
Hand warmer packet.
Mylar emergency blanket.

FAK contains Moleskin, small roll duct tape, the other usuals, but
I added (3) chewable Benedryl and an Albuteryl inhaler (he has asthma).

A Nite-Ize-modified Mini-Maglite.
25' of paracord.

Unfortunately the fanny pack is full, but I will also try to squeeze in a granola bar. He also has a Petzl LED headlamp and a 32oz Nalgene drink bottle he'll be carrying, and I expect he'll have his camera on his belt also. Are Micropur tablets too dangerous for him to carry? How do I explain that he has to treat or boil any water he comes across?

Thanks in advance. -Gary



Edited by digimark (10/18/07 11:55 PM)
Edit Reason: More additions.

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#109059 - 10/19/07 12:11 AM Re: Another attempt at a kid's hiking kit. [Re: digimark]
KevinB Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 08/17/06
Posts: 91
I suppose a lot of it has to do with what he knows how to do. For example, what do you intend for him to do with the paracord? It's useful stuff, but I wouldn't expect him to be able to build a shelter or rappel down a cliff in an emergency at his age. I'd say extra food would be a higher priority. Tell him not to snack on his emergency rations (vbg).

Ditto the saw and the firesteel. He can break small stuff with his hands and feet, so he doesn't really need the saw. And a Bic lighter is easier for anyone to start a fire with. Your idea of adding tinder is a good one.

I'd add spare batteries for the flashlight. Make sure he wears a hat with a brim. Also, depending on the weather you may want to add a small tube of sunscreen. I'd think he's old enough to learn not to eat the Micropur tabs. Other than that they're safe. After all, you're supposed to drink them. He can probably also understand about the nasty bugs in the water.

I've never really carried a towel hiking. I do carry a bandana, though. You might save some space by substituting.

If there's any spare room, an extra pair of socks are very, very important.

Sounds like a great trip. You guys have fun.

Kevin B.

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#109064 - 10/19/07 12:42 AM Re: Another attempt at a kid's hiking kit. [Re: digimark]
Blast Offline
INTERCEPTOR
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3630
Loc: TX
I'd say lose the MXZ saw, unless both of you have tried to cut wood with it an found it acceptable. I'd also replace both space blanket and emergency poncho with one better quality poncho. The higher quality poncho will be a much better/longer lasting/warmer shelter than the space blanket and cheap poncho.

-Blast
_________________________
Foraging Texas
Medicine Man Plant Co.
DrMerriwether on YouTube
Radio Call Sign: KI5BOG
*As an Amazon Influencer, I may earn a sales commission on Amazon links in my posts.

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#109065 - 10/19/07 12:50 AM Re: Another attempt at a kid's hiking kit. [Re: KevinB]
SoarnEagle Offline
Stranger

Registered: 10/17/07
Posts: 13
Digimark...

Awesome Kit for an 8 Yr old! I think you have thought it out well and put it together nicely.

I do, however, agree with Kevin on a few points.

#1 - Lose the saw. It is too dangerous. If it slips while he is using it he will probably get hurt. At 8, however, he could probably begin to use and carry a small knife.

#2 - The thermometer and compass, while nice, are probably not a necessity. If you DO decide to keep them, I would put them inside the pack. You and I understand equipment, but an 8 yr old will throw his pack down and break them quickly.

#3 - If he isn't proficient with the fire steel (ie: can find wild tinder, throw the spark, and get it to flame 3 times out of 4), exchange it for a lighter or windproof matches. If he is old enough to use fire I would add a "Pink Lady Candle" where the saw used to be. Light, security, warmth.

#4 - I would love to see a laminated "cheat sheet" on what to do and how to use the kit. Especially on the usage of the meds included. Remember, in an emergency sometimes it is hard to think clearly.

#5 - A family picture... This would give comfort and encouragement in an emergency. Write "We Love you" on the picture and laminate it.

#6 - I would drop the towel and add a white, yellow, or orange bandana. We teach our own children and younger students that if lost.. they should tie the bandana/ or their T-Shirt to a long stick, hoist it in the air, and sit down under the nearest tree (preferrably coniferous). The towel (yellow I see) could be used the same, but the bandana would be easier to tie on and would take less space. They should then blow their whistle 3 times every few mins. This is imparative advice for any youngster lost in the "Woods".

Above all things Gary, make sure that you take the time to explain all of the items and their usage to your son. Make that one of the goals of your trip. You sound like an awesome dad, and I am sure you will both have a wonderful time!

- Soarn

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#109095 - 10/19/07 02:21 AM Re: Another attempt at a kid's hiking kit. [Re: SoarnEagle]
DaveT Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/15/03
Posts: 208
Loc: NE Ohio
I think the kit looks good, and I'd agree with the advice I've seen so far.

My first suggestion would be to find out what you can about the Hug-a-Tree program. Hug-a-Tree page
They've been working on updating their program for more than a year now, and to the best of my knowledge, they don't yet have the new version up and running, but the basics are very simple to acquaint yourself with. Google searches will come up with other sites with a better overview of the program.

Basically, they tell the child that when you realize you're lost, you should stop, find a nice tree (or boulder, other large unmoving object), and stay there. Shelter yourself as needed, use your whistle to blow series of three blasts, answer when you hear people calling for you. Stay in place. You have hundreds of friends looking for you, and no one will be mad you got lost. Grownups get lost every day. Stay in place.

For gear, they go very simple. They suggest a large garbage bag or two, and a whistle. Stop hypothermia, get found. Water is a good step, a flashlight too.

Some additional suggestions. Many have noted how frequently adults deceive themselves and rationalize to avoid admitting they are lost. Cody Lundin had a great way to explain to a child how you know you're lost. He said, "You should tell Junior, 'if you look up and you realize that you want to come back to mommy or daddy, and you don't know how to do that, that means you're lost.' "

Fear of being alone is totally natural, even among adults. Lundin went on to say "I think it's psychologically important for a kid to know that he's going to have people looking for him -- not at the end of the three-day camping trip, but that night, before it's dark, and that it's been agreed upon by the family."

Another suggestion from Lundin (and Doug Ritter) is to let children know that when they're in the woods and need help, the usual "stranger danger" rules do not apply. Even adults lost in the woods can get disoriented and frightened, and there are examples of adults not responding to searchers, and even hiding from them out of fear. If children hear their name being called, they should respond.

I think the fact that you've talked this over with your son, and hopefully practiced, put him way ahead of the curve. Reinforcing that he will be found and that he has a job to do to help it happen helps keep him focused. On a recent camping trip, my 5-year-old's first, I had him carrying a very similar fanny pack, his "Hug-a-Tree Pack." The pack stayed on a short branch near the fire pit, and his job was to put it on every time he was walking away from the central fire pit area. Repetition made it a habit for him.

Have a great trip

Dave

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#109102 - 10/19/07 02:45 AM Re: Another attempt at a kid's hiking kit. [Re: digimark]
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
First thoughts:

The MXZ saw has received less than wonderful reviews, particularly in wood. If you're going to give him a saw, let him have a real one, not one that makes adults cry and stomp and say naughty words. (Or in the case of my brother, take it to the firing range for summery execution.)

He's eight? Does he know how to safely start a fire? Learning that should be rewarded with the firesteel. Red poncho + whistle + heat pack should get him found fast enough.

Water tablets and little kids... Not knowing him, I'll err on the side of caution and say that this is one of the few times were one of the filter straws might come in handy. Or better, set him up with one of the bottles with the filter built into it.

And from the way you said it, the whistle is probably special to him. So I'm going to reluctantly go into ogre mode, and say that he should have something pealess.

If you have the time and the green, the mylar sheet upgrades well to a Heatsheet. Normally I'd recommend the bivy version, but it doesn't breath so well if he curls up at the bottom of it.

A family picture, with names, address and telephone number on the back of it.

Also, do you know how the buttpack rides on him? Does it feel comfortable, and not migrate to his ankles? A small day pack might be better.
_________________________
-IronRaven

When a man dare not speak without malice for fear of giving insult, that is when truth starts to die. Truth is the truest freedom.

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#109121 - 10/19/07 06:26 AM Re: Another attempt at a kid's hiking kit. [Re: ironraven]
aloha Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/16/05
Posts: 1054
Loc: Hawaii, USA
When I put together the kits for the 4H group that we started, I used a small kids sized backpack instead of a fanny pack. The kids were 5 when they were presented to them, and they have used it for almost 1 1/2 to 2 years now. They "personalize" it by adding their own stuff and you may find the fanny pack might not expand with their needs.

I agree with my fellow ETSers. I purposely left out all chemicals and meds and left the for the parents of each child to deal with. I also left out fire starting materials.

If I may, I would suggest a signal mirror in addition to the whistle. For sharps, I gave them each a rounded tip scissors and a nail clipper. I have found that the kids use the flashlight, magnifying glass, and pen & pad the most plus the personal stuff they take. The second tier usage items have been the first aid kit, hand cleaner, sun screen, compass, bandana and whistle. They have used the poncho once or twice. And I agree with Blast, get something better. I went the cheap route because I was outfitting a group and trying not to go broke. For our group, they each have a little illustrated instruction booklet that also has each parents' names and phone numbers on it.

In my opinion, it is more important to teach them the right stuff than to give them the right stuff, but both are good. Congratulations on your efforts so far and good luck on the never ending quest to improve your kit (and knowledge).
_________________________
---------
http://hanzosoutdoors.blogspot.com/

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#109125 - 10/19/07 10:27 AM Re: Another attempt at a kid's hiking kit. [Re: aloha]
frenchy Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/18/02
Posts: 1320
Loc: France
I do agree with other's comments about removing the saw and firesteel (except if he really knows how to use it to make a fire ; then add tinder !);
AFAIK, the main idea when a kid gets lost is for him to STAY PUT !
Then he will need whistle and possibly mirror to signal his position and shelter to stay warm while waiting for rescue. IMHO, a cheap poncho and a cheap space blanket do not fit the bill.
I second Ironraven idea to replace the space blanket by a Heatsheet blanket or Bivvy (hope he is old enough to use it correctly and not suffocate inside it !).
_________________________
Alain

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#109145 - 10/19/07 01:41 PM Re: Another attempt at a kid's hiking kit. [Re: digimark]
lifeview Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 05/09/06
Posts: 80
Loc: Nashville,TN USA
Hi Gary,

Here's a link to our children's survival kit with some commentary and instruction in the right column. Many of the items and concepts have already been brought up but you still might find something useful.

Children's Survival Kit
_________________________
Mike
LifeView Outdoors

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#109248 - 10/20/07 12:00 AM Re: Another attempt at a kid's hiking kit. [Re: lifeview]
Grant Offline
Stranger

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 17
The pack strikes me as more appropriate for an adult (or at least a teenager). I would eliminate the paracord, compass/thermometer, fire starter, and multi-tool, and focus on the basics: water, food, warmth. Paracord just doesn't seem like something that should be on the must list for an eight year old's small waistpack.

I would pack:
Water.
Food (when my son was small we packed his waistpack with a couple of kid's snack bars, a package of peanut butter crackers or a packet of nuts, and some comfort food such as gummy bears)
Warmth: fleece cap, poncho or the ever reliable large plastic bag, and gloves if there is room
Light: flashlight
Whistle

The idea of laminating some "Hug-a-Tree" directions and adding a family photo with "We love you" is great.


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