Just as you would never run a few miles without proper footwear, or tackle a home repair project without the necessary tools and supplies, you should not expect a successful nature walk without the appropriate gear.
This can mean different things for different folks, but in general, certain items are highly recommended for long term nature walk success. Other items may not be necessary per se, but will certainly add to the enjoyment and value of your walks.
If you want to be well prepared for long term success in family nature explorations, read on for a list of my own family’s favorite Nature Gear…
Did you catch the first three posts in this Nature Walk series?
Tip #4. Gear Up
Necessary Nature Walk Gear
Every nature walker in your crew should own at least one of the following items…
- “Play” sneakers
At our house, each child has a designated pair of “play” sneakers that are used for nature walks and outdoor play time. These are the shoes that can get dirty, wet, scuffed up, etc.
- Rain boots
I didn’t know about rain boots until we moved from Texas to Northern Virginia. They’re pretty much a necessity in our neck of the woods! I can’t imagine attempting regular nature excursions without them.
- Snow boots
While winter isn’t exactly prime time for nature walks, we’ve enjoyed some pretty cool (ha!) explorations on snowy days. Animal tracks, winter trees, berries, birds, etc. are excellent topics for winter observation. But nothing ruins a walk in the snow like wet, cold toes, so be sure that your children’s snow boots are warm and waterproof.
- Rain coats
- Waterproof snow clothes
- warm hat
- scarf or neck warmer, etc.
- Ball caps or visors
4. Insect Repellent
For frequent nature explorations, a good insect repellent is a must. We love this non-toxic DIY spray.
5. Water Bottles
They should be durable and easy to transport. My boys use Nalgene bottles.
Helpful Nature Walk Gear
Generally just for mom or older kids. It’s nice to have a way to bring along water bottles, nature guides, tissues, etc. Ours hangs on a hook near the back door, ready for nature adventures on a moment’s notice.
We’ve used a bunch of random packs over the years, but my current favorite is this Eddie Bauer RipPac Packable Daypack. I bought it for just $5 at the Eddie Bauer outlet near my home! It’s the perfect size, with multiple compartments, water bottle pockets and durable construction.
2. Nature Guides
- On-the-Go: Our favorites for easy transport and little hands are these laminated pocket guides. We currently own at least ten: Birds, Trees, Bugs, Weather, Reptiles, Mushrooms, Beetles, Butterflies, etc. They’re fantastic!
- At Home: We have quite a variety of more detailed nature guides that live at home. They’re too big and heavy to tote along on our adventures, but are helpful to have on hand for more detailed identification and further reading.
Our favorite at-home nature guide series for kids:
3. Bug Gear
My guys absolutely love catching critters! Our bug boxes have housed countless bugs, frogs and more. We also love to catch butterflies with our sturdy nets, which can double as water nets as well.
These magnifying glasses are absolutely perfect for kids–so sturdy and well sized for little hands. We’ve had ours for several years; they’ve held up well to regular abuse from two little explorers.
5. Buckets or Baskets
It’s always nice to have a way to carry all the little treasures the children are sure to find on your nature walks!
Ready to get started? Check out this list:
8 Great Ideas for Fall Nature Walks.
Happy exploring! What would you add to our list?
Check out the rest of the series 5 Tips for a Successful Nature Walk with Kids:
- #1 Find a Buddy
- #2 Make it a Habit
- #3 Choose the Right Spot
- #4 Gear Up
- #5 Keep it Simple
- Bonus Tip: Read Up