We're back! And excited to share this new world with the addition to our tribe.
Mind you, with a mild trek on the trail with the tribe, we took a test run with Lucy and the dog … which was comprised of a low-impact hike in the national park. We decided that it was only fitting that the first official hike with the new member of the tribe would be our favorite place in the world, that being Big Meadows in Shenandoah National Park, VA.
And we're calling it a success with a few lessons learned -- mainly that being the timing of lunch for Mom and Dad. But we had plenty of snacks, so that wasn't the end of the world, but next time we'll be more prepared for timing and logistics around starting and ending the trek.
But overall and at the moment, we felt our approach to what needed to be worked out well. We'll continue to tune, but let's go through some of the items that were included in this adventure.
The Gear for the Infant
We took a page from my brother's playbook, well, a variation of his suggestion that sounded like, "take a diaper, put a couple of wipes in a ziplock bag, wrap it up, and stick it in your back pocket." We didn’t do this. I mean let’s be honest, to me, this seems like a form of extreme parenting where the parents are spinning around on the roulette table, banking that there is no blowout -- he’s hardcore. We’re not. But it did set our trajectory for minimalists to start.
So we included a few core items:
Portable Baby Changing Pad by Lil Fox with Wipes and Diapers (integrated changing pad)
Change of Clothes, Burp Cloth, Blanket, Hat
California Baby Natural Bug Blend™ Bug Repellent Spray and Sanitizing Wipes
Let's run down the list of each and our thoughts on how they worked out for us.
1 | Mindshift Travel Away
Of all the bags that I own, the Mindshift Travel Away seems to be the best for short hikes that require me to carry the gear for the infant plus the tribe. The great part of this bag is the rotational hip pack that tucks into the backpack AND the laptop sleeve that can be used for the Baby Changing Pad by Lil Fox.
Much like my favorite Mindshift Backpack the Trail 180, the Travel Away has also been discontinued, however, there are plenty of websites that sell the bag if you're interested in changing over.
As I stated, one of the primary benefits of this bag is the function of putting the Changing Pad in the bag where the laptop would have otherwise been stored.
2 | Portable Changing Pad with Wipes and Diapers (integrated changing pad)
The portable changing pad that we selected to test this go around was the Baby Changing Pad by Lil Fox: Portable Changing Pad for Baby Diaper Bag or Changing Table Pad. We selected this changing pad because the storage of the diapers and wipes folds out on the sides, while many have them that fold from the top, we found that will make the changing pad longer.
And the shorter length of the changing pad allows us to situate the baby in multiple places that might require a shorter length. That’s TBD, but where our head was.
Especially with changing the diapers on the tailgate of the truck before we headed out on the trail. As you can see, the pad fits great on the tailgate of a Jeep Gladiator.
So size was the main driver in deciding to go with this particular setup. Note to the manufacturer ... it would be nice if the diaper storage and wipes on the side were able to be detached.
3 | Change of Clothes, Burp Cloth, Blanket, Hat
While the specific items that you choose for clothing and stuff are individual dependent … you might consider getting a storage cube for packing the items on the trek.
We found that having the items all bundled into a single zip-up makes them pack easier and they aren't tumbling around in the bag with the other stuff.
This particular packing cube happens to be from Cotipaxi, however, REI has an entire wall of these items that can be used for this purpose - Packing Cubes | REI Co-op. If you happen to live in Northern Virginia, you can also pick up some great options at the Good Wolf Gear store in Reston.
Note: We dressed Lucy in layers - a onesie plus pants and a sweatshirt. Since temperature regulation is important, we wanted options. And it was important to cover her legs from the sun and bugs.
4 | Bug Spray and Sanitizing Wipes
For bug spray, this time around we soaked mom in the spray and made sure to cover up the little one with clothing (opted to not put spray on her and it worked great) -- however, we plan to use the California Baby Natural Bug Blend™ Bug Repellent Spray (californiababy.com).
The formula is Deet-free and if you look at the website is comprised of "citronella, lemongrass, and cedar essential oils that naturally repel annoying mosquitoes." All the woo-woo ingredients that my granola wife feels are safe for the baby. Happy mom, happy everyone else.
Since it was in the 60s yesterday and Lucy was dressed in layers, we didn’t need to use the bug spray. She had a onesie with a sweatshirt and little pants to go along. We didn't remove any of the layers and she was happy as calm in a carrier.
For the sanitizing wipes, we opted for 'wipes' and not just the liquid. The rationale was mainly driven by getting poop off of our hands, should we be in that situation. While towels and blankets are an option, our feeling is the towelette wipes are better when in the backcountry. Specifically, the HAND SANITIZING TRAVEL WIPES - Individually Packed Premium Hand Sanitizing Wipes.
And finally, we thought about bringing the Uppababy Ridge since the trail we selected was a fire road, we opted for the baby carrier and were glad we did. Because of such, we were able to go out into the meadow to hike around with the dog. For this particular adventure, the Baby Carrier Mini | BABYBJÖRN (babybjorn.com) was the mainstay.
As you can see, Lucy, who is roughly 8lbs at the moment, fits perfectly in the Carrier Mini. The hat for Lucy was wedged on top and blocked the sun and bugs from her.
Success! Hiking with an Infant - Keep it Simple
All and all, we had a great day and the core items that were selected for the trek worked out well. While there is significantly more testing that is needed. We are chalking up the day as a success.
We hope this helps. Now get outside and enjoy the almost fall weather!