We love to go hiking. Hiking stays in the boundary of the frugal shoestring budget. it doesn’t cost anything but a park entry fee. Every year we used to go hiking with our kids. I have always taken my children to the woods. There is something so peaceful in nature. If I am stressed, a day in the woods is relaxing. Nothing seems challenging after hiking long trails.
Hiking is a reminder that God made everything around us and it is beautiful. So, that is why I take my kids hiking. Not to mention it is very cost efficient. Supplies are minimal to what you can carry, and clothing doesn’t matter. Nature doesn’t care about name brand shoes.
My hope is you will give hiking a try with your family. If you do, leave a comment below on what you loved about the hike.
Hiking is Good Exercise
Walking is the best shoestring budget exercise on this planet. It is free. High end shoes aren’t necessary to enjoy a long walk. I do use hiking boots to support my ankles, but to tell the truth, my tennis shoes work best for longevity. We cross creeks, rocks and gorges all of the time. Tennis shoes hold up great.
Setting a beginning hiking goal for the summer and then allotting a designated time at a park is a good first start. Several years ago we started when our kids were small. One was always in the backpack on my husband’s back, for a mile. Now, they all carry their own backpacks, and we can make it five miles.
Each year we add a mile or a new goal for our hiking to do’s. This past year we have tried to make it a point to hike once a month. That hasn’t always worked out, but we hit pretty close in the summer months.
Family Hikes Teach Children Map Skills
Next, hiking is great to teach kids a sense of direction. In addition to teaching map skills hands on it is a great for those who struggle with direction. I love this part of hiking. They need to learn survival skills in case they get lost in the woods someday. My husband always gets each one of them a map, and reads to them the trails. They all decide on which trail is best to take. He includes them in all of the twists and turns each trail makes as we approach markers.
Map skills are a trait to be acquired and most people would hire a guide so they did not get lost. I myself am not very good at map skills so that is why it is important for them to learn. GPS doesn’t always work in the woods. Good map skills are perfect for shoestring budget educational opportunities.
Shoestring Budget Supplies and Cost
Hiking is very low budget activity. We usually buy a state park pass for the year. This is great way to save at the gate. National parks are a little more expensive, so we pay as go to those or look for free hiking trails. On thing we love about this shoestring budget activity is the spontaneity. No reservations or up front payments. It is great for an afternoon, early morning or late evening event with kids. Hiking does not cost us an arm and a leg.
Clothing is going to get muddy, wet and stinky. We wear our old clothes hiking and then trash them if one of us misses a step and hits the mud. Not really, but we don’t mind going home with mud all over us. Our second hand clothes that are almost outgrown work well for this activity. Old shoes are good too because that way they are broken in. Supplies are minimal for a shoestring budget hike. For us, the most expensive part of winter hiking is the long johns we have to supply to all of us. Those are hard to find on sale. Most of our clothing is something that is on the outgrown list.
Finally, backpacks, snacks and other supplies. I keep extra water bottles in our cabinet so that if we need them for a hike they can grab them. I wait until they go on sale. We go through a lot of water bottles. Also, backpacks are something we have a lot of, but we use them. When one goes bad we have a backup. I don’t believe in clutter so I keep two backpacks per kid. They can grab one and pack it for when we leave on a hike. Backpacks don’t last super long anyway, and I buy those at the beginning of the school year on sale.
Snacks are minimal. Our snacks are trail mix, apples, oranges, peanuts or dried fruit. Food that can be eaten on the go works best with our boys’. So If I have convinced you to try this great budget conscious activity let me know in the comments below. Happy trails!
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