Bringing a Baby to the Huts: A Survival Guide
Having a baby changes everything, and outdoor adventures are no exception. With a little one on board, an easy day hike can quickly unravel if not everyone (looking at you, baby) is happy. At Maine Huts & Trails, we think people of all ages, and families of all sizes can enjoy an outing together- especially if you do a little preparation before your trip. Here are a few things to keep in mind when traveling with the one and under crowd:
Make sure your baby likes being outside:
Most babies do! But you don’t want to find out yours doesn’t when you’re a mile into your hike. Maybe the wind feels funny. Maybe they hate their hat. Whatever the reason, you might have an indoor baby. Don’t worry; this, like everything else, is probably a phase. Just be patient, and try gently encouraging their love of nature. Take them outside for a few minutes at a time when they’re happy, fed, and well-rested, and before you know it they’ll be climbing all the mountains. Until then, find a great babysitter and hit the trails with the grown-ups.
Don’t be a hero – leave the cloth diapers home:
Usually, cloth diapers are the best choice for the environment. But when you consider the water you’ll need to wash and the space needed to repack cloth diapers on the trail, this might be a time when it makes more sense to use disposables. You’ll still need to pack-in, pack-out, so plan accordingly with an extra trash bag.
Even if your baby’s nursing, it’s a good idea to bring an emergency stash of formula just in case. If bottles are already part of your routine, consider using a system with removable liners. That way you can prefill liners with dry formula at home and just pack one or two bottles. Every hut has potable water, so just bring what you need on the trail and refill when you arrive.
Invest in a quality carrier:
A good external framed backpack is the best way to get your baby to the huts. For adventurous families, it makes sense to invest in a high quality carrier made by a backpack company, since they’ll often have better storage and are usually more comfortable for parents and kids. Like any piece of gear, you’ll want to make sure it’s comfortable before striking out into the wilderness, so use your carrier as much as you can before your trip. Don’t forget to book a gear shuttle when you make your reservation- that way you can use the carrier as your trail pack and have your other bags delivered to the hut.
Bring a first aid kit:
Hopefully you won’t need it, but don’t forget the basics: Baby Benadryl and Tylenol, antibiotic/rash/bite cream, and an aspirator. If you’re worried about being too far from civilization in an emergency, Stratton Brook and Flagstaff Huts are the easiest to get in and out of if needed.
Plan ahead with our reservationists:
Lots of people have happily brought babies to the huts, some as young as one month. Our reservationists will make sure you have everything you need to keep your whole family comfortable. Every hut has a pack n’ play available at no extra charge that you can reserve in advance, and you can reserve a private bunk room for your family. Bottom line- it’s not crazy to bring a baby to a hut, and it can actually be really fun. It just takes a little extra planning, just like anything else.