Last Minute Hiking Mom and Toddler Wish List (2019)

I re-shared my last minute list from last year- but here’s one now that I have a toddler!

Base Layers!! Both mom and kids need them to stay warm during winter activities. They are also great for sleeping in on chilly summer nights. I love merino wool!

For mom I highly recommend the Kari Traa brand. They are made for women by women. The Rose set is their most popular and I love the pants! Just size up 1 size as these are thicker and don’t stretch like their others. I also have the Tikse bottoms which are thinner and paneled for when you are more active.

Wee man has 1 wool set by Simply Merino Kids and 1 polyester set by Odlo. I bought his current size in both and they fit well enough to wear now but should also last through next season too! If your kids hate tags just gently use a seam ripper to remove them and you are good to go!

And for proper wool care I highly recommend this wool wash by The Laundress!

SOCKS!! These will always be on my lists!

I still say Swiftwick for mom! This year they have their Vision FIVE socks in merino wool with some awesome winter designs! I’m totally rockin a pair and would love another! (wink wink) I get mine from my local running store RunnersRoostLakewood.com but they are available lots of places online too.

My favorite socks! The Aspire’s are my favorite for running! I use the Zero height for working out and road running and the One or Two height for trails. And I’m just in love with these fun winter Vision’s!

For wee man he needed warmer socks than just our standard what can we find at Target this year. @wasatchwildchild on IG recommended these by HowJoJo off Amazon. They are a wool blend, cheap enough to justify for a toddler, and keep wee man’s feet nice and toasty but not too sweaty. Only downside is they are a bit slippery with no grippers but he usually is wearing them with shoes.

Sunglasses! Well for mom at least (wee man never leaves his on)! Goodrs….

Not going to lie I used to HATE these….but they’ve grown on me. I have a pair from when the company very first started-they have been used as a teether, a baby toy, and have lots of scratches. The one thing I’ve always loved is the texture of the frames. I also keep my originals in my car as backups. I love that with them on I can still see my son in his car seat via the rear view mirror via the car seat mirror. Many other sunglasses block too much light for this. I also just got myself two more pairs! With their ever expanding collection of crazy colors and patterns I found one pair for night driving to cut the glare and one pair for indoor wear when I have a migraine. And then I found this cool pair that will be gifted to my Goodr lovin friend (I’m sure she knows who she is if she reads this but I couldn’t resist sharing because they match my socks above!). Of course I get these from my local running store – but they can also be found on their website Goodr.com.

Mittens – both my hands and wee man’s hands never seem to be warm….that is until I found these!!

Swany Toasters for mom. These have light gloves inside hefty mittens. You can unzip the mitten and get your whole hand out to use your fingers for fine things (zippers for one) and to use your phone. The touchscreen friendly finger tips REALLY DO WORK on these.

Polarin O.Pyret makes 100% merino wool mittens for babies and kids. They are double layered too. Wee man’s hands never get cold in these and they are super soft. Definitely use wool wash mentioned above. They will shrink on first wash but are true to size. If he wants to play in the snow or it’s going to be rainy – just put snow or rain mittens on top!

You can also always gift an REI Co-Op membership. It’s $20 ONE TIME and it’s good for life. This gives special access to sales, 365 day returns, and even dividends on full priced items!

Those are my top picks this year! Always will be more to come and many of these will always carry over year to year, so check out last year’s list too.

Cameras and Hiking – My Thoughts and Recommendations (repost from old page)

Once upon a time I used to hike with a big digital SLR camera. Then I downgraded to a little pocket Sony, which I still use on long trips, but now I just use my phone.

Unless you’re a photographer, or photography is seriously your thing, there is very little reason to carry a big camera and gear – especially when you’re already carrying a baby. Most cell phones today have very good cameras. They can take still shots, live shots, videos, panoramic pictures, and even have filters that can be applied while taking the photo. If you’re a social media sharer, it’s way easier to share directly from your cell phone than to download then upload photos on your computer. There are even extra zoom lenses that can be attached to cell phone cameras now. And cell phones are much easier to carry and fit in the hip pocket of most carriers and packs. Most smartphones are very water resistant as well.

If you’re thing is video check out Go Pros. They can be worn, so you don’t have to carry them. I don’t currently use them, but I think it could be cool.

If you really want a separate camera but to keep it small, little digital pocket cameras are great. My little Sony was $75 at a Black Friday sale when I was in middle school and I’m still using it. Downside is I must really watch it in the rain, and I have to pre-charge and carry and extra battery. My iPhone takes better video, but my Sony has better zoom.

And if you’re going to go big, talk to a professional who does photography in the middle of nowhere. Check over reviews on weight, special considerations, gear required, ability to hold up to weather, cost, and how much you’re willing to carry with a baby.

Cold Nipples Suck… My Tips for Successful Breastfeeding on Winter Hikes (repost from old site)

For those of you who breastfeed, know that it can be super easy and convenient to breastfeed while hiking because you don’t have to prep bottles. You don’t have to carry extra things. It makes hiking a lot easier. You can just whip your boob out when you’re ready, feed baby, and be on the go. That being said, it can be a little tricky in the winter. 

My very first time breastfeeding my son on a hike was actually in the winter. It was December 13, last year. So just over a year ago, and it was like 40 degrees out at the highest, If you were in the sun and there was no breeze. There was snow on the ground. So it wasn’t freezing cold, but it was pretty darn chilly. I made a very big mistake that time and I wore what I would normally wear to hike for that temperature. But I didn’t consider the fact that I would be freezing to death when I needed to feed my son. 

First time breastfeeding on the trail in the winter. I forgot that to feed him I’d have to take off all my layers! FREEZING

Since then I’ve learned a lot, and my favorite thing that I’ve learned is a different way of layering. I found sports bras that are easy to nurse in. I don’t have very big chest. I like one that I can just pull aside versus a snap-on-snap-off one, but there’s tons out there that are super great that snap on and snap off, if that’s what you prefer. I just like to wear a regular sports bra and pull it up. It’s more comfortable that way, and for me that’s more important long term. I also have one that’s more like a deep V-­neck sports bra, by Ice Breaker, and that one pulls off to the side very easily. I love it.

My Favorite Bras by Icebreaker Are:

To keep my body warm, I found Merino Wool, which is known for keeping you warm or cool without getting you too hot and sweaty. It’s great stuff. Definitely look into it if you have never heard of it. I like to wear a cami, which is just a really lightweight tank top. Camis don’t really provide a whole bunch of warmth by themselves, but they’re a great base layer. I like them because they’re easy to pull out of the way to nurse, but they don’t get overly hot or sweaty when you’re hiking and have all your stuff on. And then when you pull your shirt aside to nurse, you’re not freezing to death because there’s still a layer of clothing on your skin. The Siren Tank and the Siren Cami by Icebreaker are great merino wool base layer options.

So, what I’ve found is that if I wear something with a deep zipper, like a half zip sweater or athletic wear top that’s long sleeve, it works perfectly over top of a cami and sports bra. I just pull everything over to the side to nurse and pull it back on when I’m done. This way, pretty much all my clothes get to stay on, which is so much warmer than just pulling your shirt up the way I did the very first time, wherein I literally sat there shivering while feeding my son. 

Much warmer! Ok yes in this picture I’m in the car but this is the set up that worked so much better on the trail 😉

So, don’t be afraid of winter if you’re nursing. Yes, it can be a little tricky. And, yes, cold nipples suck. But it’s totally worth it. You just have to figure out what kind of clothing works best for you to layer properly.

My favorite way to go is a merino wool cami tank top, over a comfortable sports bra that’s easy to pull to the side or pull up, underneath a long sleeve half zip, then topped with a full zip coat or jacket. I prefer a full zip coat or jacket because it makes it easy to keep my arms warm, but if I really have to I can take it all the way off, and I’ll still be warm because of all the layers I have on. Obviously, the colder it is the more you’re going to need to layer. Layers are always your best friend. 

Lions and Tigers and Moose…OH MY! (repost from old site)

I want to talk about what happens when you see a moose. Now everybody knows I’ve spent a shit ton of time in the mountains. I’ve lived in the mountains basically my whole life. I grew up in Colorado Rocky Mountains. We’ve got lions and tigers and bears oh my. But really what happens when you get close to a moose moose is scary. There’s only two things I’m afraid of. And that would be mountain lions/bobcats/big cats and moose. I don’t care about Bear. I don’t care about wolves. I don’t care about coyotes but moose and cats scare the crap out of me.

Even in the winter this guy loves hiking!

So yesterday up here in Breckenridge, I was going for a snow hike (was intended to be a snow shoeing but that didn’t happen). Anyway, I digress. Hiking in the snow with my son, I am a quarter of a mile away from getting back to the trailhead and come around the corner and there are two moose. At this point I can’t quite tell. Do we have two cows? Do you have a cow and a baby? Do you have a cow and a bull? What do we have? I couldn’t quite see it, but luckily at this point my son and I had already been babbling and yelling and making all sorts of noise for miles and we did not startle them at all, which is a good thing. You don’t want to startle a moose. That’s even worse.

It turns out that I had come across a cow, which is a female, and her baby. Baby is clearly less than a year old and was probably born this spring. Mom was off in the willows, a good good distance off the trail, so closer than I’d like to be but good distance from the trail, munching down on some willow bark. But baby was like two steps off the trail. Mind you, I’ve got my son on my back. We’re hiking almost back to the trailhead. I’m tired I’m exhausted. I’m sore. There’s snow. The trail itself is packed. But if you step off the trail it’s knee deep. And then the moose are standing in a little creek. I kept talking.

I decide to tell these moose, “Hey I’m here. We’re just passing by. I’m not going to hurt you.” I just keep talking to the Moose. I Show them my hands. You know a lot of people think I’m crazy for talking to animals, but I really think they can understand us. Body language means a lot to me. And so I talk to animals when I come across them because it helps keep yourself calm. It helps to make sure you’re not startling them, and I’m pretty sure it helps them know that you’re not there to hurt them. So I keep talking to these moose. I tell them how beautiful they are. I tell them we’re not going to hurt them, we’re just passing by.

Momma moose

We get past Mom no problem. But baby is really close to the trail. And when we get a little bit closer to baby he decides to take a couple steps towards us. Now even a baby moose, less than a year old, weighs more than I do. If he wanted to he could easily have charged me and hurt me very badly, and mom would have come to his rescue, and mom would have probably trampled me to death. That is usually what happens when there’s a moose incident. Somebody gets trampled because they get in between a mom and baby or a dog goes after the moose. That is how most accidents happen. They’re very rare, but that’s what happens. So baby Moose takes a couple steps forward. I take two steps backwards. And then I just stand still for a minute. I show the baby moves my hands. I tell them again, “I’m not here to hurt you. I’m just passing by. We’ll take our time.” He stops, stares at me for a couple of minutes and then takes a couple steps backwards and turns around. He doesn’t totally walk off, but he at least walks farther away from the trail. While he has his back to us we manage to pass him, always keeping my eyes on him. It’s kind of hard when you’re trying to watch your step in the snow but always make sure you know where you are relative to the moose. Get around him and then keep talking to him. Don’t just stop talking because you manage to pass them. They can move a lot faster than you can.

All in all, it was scary but it was also a really wonderful experience. I’ve actually never been that close to moose. I’ve had lots of close calls with a dog and moose before.

Like I said the number one incident with moose out here in Colorado is that a dog off leash goes after a moose and the moose charges. Most don’t typically run away. Most moose will turn around and charge. They know they are a big huge contraption. So what do you do when you come across the moose? You talk to them. You should never startle an animal. You should always be making sound on the trail. You talk, you sing, you babble with your baby. Always be making some sort of noise. Yeah it’s nice to listen to the birds and stuff, but especially if you’re alone in an area with animals, make some noise. If you do come across some, gauge the distance. The farther away you are, the safer you are. Do you have a dog? Get a hold of that dog immediately. It needs to be on a leash or very well held in your hand. And I really hope that dog is well trained to not chase animals. It’s really hard to do. It’s something you need to train from puppy hood. But get a hold of that dog before it goes after them as you could be in very very big trouble if that moose does decide to come at you. Don’t try to outrun it. You will not win. It will outrun you. It will trample you. That’s just the way it happens. That being said, there are a couple things you can do. You want to protect your vital organs. So if you can get behind a big tree, get behind a big tree, because Moose can run fast. They cannot slow down fast. They very well might run themselves into that tree trying to get to you.

Baby moose

The other thing is kind of curl up in a ball to protect your vital organs. Put your hands behind your neck, tuck your head down, curl up in a ball. You’re still going to get injured if you get trampled, but you’re less likely to die. And yeah that’s kind of scary to think about. But it’s something you really have to know, especially if you’re out there by yourself, and especially if you’re out there with a dog.

But the biggest thing is, again, moose incidents are rare. Being well informed, making sound, talking to them, telling them, “hey we’re not here to hurt you,” it makes a huge difference. So yeah, while it was kind of a little scary to be that close to some big moose mom and baby, it was a beautiful experience. I actually got pictures of the moose. I got to see them. My son got to see moose, so that was really awesome. Hey don’t be afraid of animals. Again, just be smart.