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Hiking with kids. Safety harness/leash

Going to Yosemite in a few weeks with a 4.5yr old, 3.5yr old, and a 1.5yr old. The youngest will be carried in a pack. The other 2 boys have no fear and like to try to run ahead. Looking for some kind of harness or toddler leash to keep them close but still let them hike on their own. Looking for recommendations. Thought about the chest harness by Camp USA with a carabiner and dog leash..... haven’t seen anything heavy duty that could actually hold a kid if they stumble. 

6 Replies

Hey I have the same issue. Hiking with a three year old and worried about falls. Did you figure out a good solution? Thanks!


On the path to permanent scarring, but emotional instead of scraped knees.


Make a suitably strong leash with a climbing grade carabiner and a suitable length of rope, about 8mm diameter

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what @hikermor said.

as a parent of now grown-up boys, on many adventures, I found it best to try to get verbal control, although much easier said than done.

My goal was to get them to at least respond to a "stop" command, so they didn't walk into the street...or over a cliff, lol.  btw...still working on that!

REI Member Since 1979

Ok but what secures the line to the child and myself? Climbing harness seems excessive. 


Well, back in the Dark Ages of climbing, we tied in with a single strand of rope around the waist, later using multiple wrapped strands.  You could also fashion a swami seat from 1" tubular webbing and tie in to that, somewhat more comfortable, but looks sort of dorky.  Same problem with a diaper sling.  The single strand around the waist should be more than adequate for the relatively low impact situations you are describing.

I would tie a loop in the rope leading to you and hold that in your hand, although you could also tie in with a single strand (shades of 50s era climbing technology!).  I would go with the hand held loop, somewhat less confining....

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.