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
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
A. Wild Camping and The Law in England, Scotland and Wales.
Tents cannot be pitched just anywhere because every piece of Britain is owned by some individual or some organisation and according to the strict letter of the law permission must be obtained prior to pitching tent and camping.
In practice however, this is often impractical and wild camping is usually tolerated in the more remote areas - typically, more than half a day's walk from an official campsite or other accommodation providing you:
- Keep groups small
- Camp as unobtrusively as possible
- Leave camp as you found it
- Remove all litter (even other people's)
- Carry out everything you carried in
- Carry out tampons and sanitary towels (burying them doesn't work as animals dig them up again)
- Choose a dry pitch rather than digging drainage ditches around a tent or moving boulders
- Toilet duties should be performed 30m (100ft) from water and the results buried using a trowel
- At all time, help preserve the environment
- And if you are in any doubt about what you're doing, find out more
In Scotland, the current access legislation (which came into effect in early 2005) is explicit about your right to wild camp on hill land. However, there are exceptions. Since March 2011 you are not permitted to wild camp between Dryman and Rowardennan on the shore of Loch Lomond. See Loch Lomond Wild Camping Ban for more information.
There appears to be an exception to this with respect to camping in Dartmoor National Park where the right to wild camping is actually enshrined in the National Parks & Access to the Countryside Act, 1949 amendment Dartmoor Commons Act, 1985 - see Wild Camping in the UK for more details.
For the definitive answer with respect to wild camping in Scotland see the answer supplied by the Scottish Natural Heritage
For a few (tongue in cheek) tips on wild camping see Some Wild Camping Tips.
NB. go4awalk.com cannot offer any advice on suitable locations for wild camping - but click here for walks from exisiting campsites.
Hope this helps