There comes a time in many men’s lives to journey to dad-hood. My partner and I know the outdoors well but aren’t too knowledgeable with babies in the outdoors. Day hikes will happen after about 3 months and for sure a car camp trip within a year.

We have a hand-me-down Osprey kid-carrier backpack but other than that what are some must-brings?

I am sure babies aren’t too aware of what’s going on around then outdoors so what are some ways to make the hike more simulating or engaging?

Thank you all for any advice! 


Welcome to dad-hood.  Newborn infants are structurally inferior until about 6 months old when they develop better neck strength and they can hold their bobble heads up.  Tummy time is good for building up neck strength.  So for at least the first 3-6 months, you can't really put them in the pack and expect their feeble little necks to support their heads.  Once you hold your newborn for the first time, this becomes pretty apparent.  There are front packs and wraps for newborn infants that keep their heads supported against your body, and the best you can hope for is they fall asleep and you get in a little hike amidst all the turmoil of life with a newborn.  At least they are really light in these early days.

Once they turn one, then they are more fun.  Their necks are stronger and can handle being in the pack, and once they start chatting it is way more interesting.  Both my son and daughter liked to point out birds, airplanes, flowers and water, so they seemed to enjoy observing stuff on hikes. 

Babies love water, so we found camping near a lake or small creek would be good fun for the babies.  You can sit in shallow water with them, watching them splash with this marvelous fluid that we take for granted.  They are very amused experimenting with water, which actually has some amazing responsive properties for creatures just learning about the world.  Kids are really good at reminding you that the world is full of amazing stuff.  My two year old daughter can spend hours watching ants, and both her and my 5 year old son can be entertained throwing rocks, pine cones and sticks in water for a long time.  Another popular activity these days is looking for beetles and bugs under rocks and walking on logs like balance beams.

Good luck, enjoy the ride.