Backpacks for Children?

Q. Can anyone suggest suitable backpacks for children (aged 7) that are big enough for them to carry their own sleeping-bags so we can go backpacking as a family? We recently had a great time walking the West Mendip Way (over 4 days - not too strenuous!) but my husband had to bring the tent etc to each campsite by car. It would be great to be able to go all together. Has anyone else experience of backpacking with small children?

Alison Cannon, Bristol



A. I bought a Karrimor Wind 25 for my six year old. It is a fairly good technical daypack, and with everything pulled tight fits him snugly with the waist belt in the right position. It is fairly comfortable, and he is very proud to have his own bag and carry his own stuff, but even 25 litres packed with clothes is too much weight for him to carry more then a mile or so - he quickly gets to the stage of, "are we nearly there yet?"

Mark Case, London


A. Look at the Deuter Fox. Not the lightest but good support. A 7 year old should only carry bag/mat and rain coat

Darryl


A. I used to take my sproglings wild camping or, in really good weather, bivvying - from, around the age of five or six, up to age about 11 or 12ish. For camping, I'd only take one or two, but for bivvying, I've taken up to four(including a friend or two) They would carry their own sleeping bags in a small 35 ltr rucksack - (get proper ones or they'll notice...) but I'd carry all the food, tent, stoves, and whatever else. I never went very far - Red tarn at Helvellyn, Stickle Tarn, Small Water, that sort of thing. The reasons for this were: I couldnt carry all that stuff any further! The kids were supposed to enjoy the camping, watching the stars all night, catching sticklebacks, falling in the water, eating blackened sausages on disintegrating bread, scaring each other with torches and telling ghost stories - stuff like that rather than getting exhausted by long walks and It wasnt very far back to the car if anything went wrong (which it never did) Leave the personal ambitions at home, have fun and it ought to work out really well...

Mike Knipe, Crook



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