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Walking with 12 year-old son

robelford

Robert Elford
Year of past OR future Camino
CF June 2017 with my 12 year-old son; CF May 2018 with a friend.
Hello, I am thankful for this forum and have learned much. My 12 year-old son and I plan to leave SJPDP on 29 May 2017, with 42 days available for walking. Does anyone have experience walking with a child about that age? Any lessons learned? We have been training regularly and he is very keen to go. I am overjoyed he will be joining me (my first Camino too) but I admit to a combination of excitement and concern. The main source of my concern comes from a place of wondering if this is too extreme for my son. Any tips from parents who have done this with similar aged children would be most appreciated. All the best from Halifax, Canada.
 
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You may be inundated with stories and links of people who have walked with kids. From 6 months old upwards!
Only you know your son ;)
My guess is that he will cope with the Physical element fine. But how will he go when he is hurting and tired in the rain, and still has 2 hours to walk? And there is nowhere to get a bus or taxi ahead..........
 
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I have walked with a four-year-old and observed numerous teenagers, so I don't quite fall in your category. However, I would say from my observations that you should "parent" as little as you can. Twelve is pretty young, but the Camino is a great opportunity to be self-reliant, so withing the limits of safety, let him cut loose. I think you are going to have a great time! I have done Philmont Scout Ranch with thirteen to seventeen year olds, and they hiked the adults into the ground...
 

waveprof

Enthusiast
Year of past OR future Camino
May-June 2013, Camino Frances
We did it with a 13 month old. By contrast, you are set lol

I think the biggest concern is personality. If he wants to do this, if he is excited, you'll be fine. If not, boredom is a concern.

Get him into collecting stamps. That should be a good motivator.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
We walked with my walking partner's 11 year old nephew, from St Jean PdePort to Santiago.
One thing that kept him very happy was to collect as many 'sellos' as possible (stamps) along the way. He went through several credentials! :)
His uncle made sure he drank A LOT of water (it was Summer), ate plenty and had a nap every afternoon. That didn't go down too well at first but invariably he was fast asleep within 5 minutes :D
We had a great Camino that year. Hope it goes well for you too.
 
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Jersey

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
July 2017
I'm no doctor
But I did stay in a Holiday Inn once ha ha
Seriously I would talk to an orthopedic doctor to make sure a walk like this won't hurt his still growing ligaments, tendons, bones etc.
To somewhat explain where I'm going with this & I believe only baseball fans from the US will understand. The rise in travel league play for young pitchers over the past 25 years has has lead to a drastic rise in the amount of Tommy John surgeries. ( replacement of the UC ligament in the elbow )
 

Gumba

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Hi Rob, I have no advice, just wanted to say that we are planning our Camino in March 2018 with our sons who will be 12 and 9. I am following your post and would love to hear about your and your son's experience.

I really like Jersey's suggestion to get your son's feet checked out.

Anyway, don't forget to come back and share your experiences traveling with your son :) Buen Camino
 
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Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
I've walked with my 6-18 year olds (eight of them). Over 1,500km on our longest walk (four kids aged 8-13 on that one).
We were advised to check with an orthopedic surgeon as you have been. We spoke with two, both of whom laughed at the suggestion that this could be detrimental and one warned I might have trouble keeping up with the kids. He was right!
Journals, watercolours, a pack of cards and a tennis ball were our free time activities (after the kids had done their own washing and helped prepare meals and do dishes). Only the journal was used every day.
I wouldn't worry too much about rain. Yes, it's miserable, especially if it lasts a week. But kids are resilient, and even when I offered to go on ahead and come back for them in a taxi (on a day that we had to detour and ended up doing 42km, the last ten or so in pain for my youngest), they insisted on walking the whole way. Here's my account of that day - https://charitywalking.wordpress.com/2016/05/09/8-may-castilblanco-to-almaden/ May it encourage you!
Of course, your child is different and may react differently, but he sounds enthusiastic and so you will both do well.
I am about to run a workshop at a homeshcooling conference entitled "Learning on the Road" and while many of the examples I'll be giving come from the fifteen months we spent travelling as a family, many more come from our recent caminos. I'll be giving the TIP don’t be scared of getting kids to do hard things. Followed up with: "Our twelve-year-old daughter told me the other day that the hikes taught her to take days as they come and to persevere. Of course you can learn that at home, but I probably wouldn’t make them walk for a week straight in the pouring rain at home!" I'll show these pictures:
IMG_7030.JPG IMG_7002.JPG
You and your son will learn so many things that you probably wouldn't learn at home. Have a buen camino!
PS We also had lots of really hot days too;-)
 

HeidiL

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2004-), Portugués, Madrid, 4/5 Plata, 1/8 Levante, 1/8 Lana, Augusta, hospitalera Grado.
Just have an extra look at his feet the week before you go - they grow so fast at that age and don't always notice when they've outgrown their shoes.

He'll outwalk you, but may need more sleep. Get several credenciales for extra stampseverywhere, and plenty of freshly squeezed orange juise.

(I walked with my son at 8,10,11,12,14,15,16,17,18 and 20...)
 
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waveprof

Enthusiast
Year of past OR future Camino
May-June 2013, Camino Frances
I'm no doctor
But I did stay in a Holiday Inn once ha ha
Seriously I would talk to an orthopedic doctor to make sure a walk like this won't hurt his still growing ligaments, tendons, bones etc.
To somewhat explain where I'm going with this & I believe only baseball fans from the US will understand. The rise in travel league play for young pitchers over the past 25 years has has lead to a drastic rise in the amount of Tommy John surgeries. ( replacement of the UC ligament in the elbow )
Walking is a natural motion. Throwing a baseball, especially pitching, is one of the most non-natural motions a body can make
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
The replies above are all outstanding. I do not have children, but have observed many families with pre-teens and teens on my several Caminos. So, my comments are from my observations.

I can second everything said above. In addition, I would suggest that you allow your son to set the pace each day. If he bounds ahead of you, that is not a cause for concern. He will be VERY safe.

I would recommend, if possible, that you each have even a simple mobile phone so you can text each other. These need not be expensive or complicated. Your son and you can likely use the mobile you currently have (I presume this) with some modification to your data-plan. Personally, I use t-Mobile for service in the US (Florida) they allow me free use of data and unlimited texting in 140 countries. Check with your provider.

My reason for suggesting this is that if you know your son is walking ahead of you, you can coordinate cafe / bar stops for refreshments, and where you will stop for the night, even if you become separated. Remember that, any group no matter how large or small, can only walk as fast as its slowest member. This is why I recommend to allow each of you to find the appropriate walking pace each day.

I hope this helps.
 
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HeidiL

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2004-), Portugués, Madrid, 4/5 Plata, 1/8 Levante, 1/8 Lana, Augusta, hospitalera Grado.
Good idea. We also had a fixed deal that whoever walked ahead would stop at the first bar in the next town, in case phone contact was bad.
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
6yo only carried water (which was usually consumed by the time she was tired!) By the time she was 8, she was carrying a couple of kilos plus her water bottle. Other family members took her sleeping bag and crocs, shared toiletries, medical supplies, plastic bowl. I can't remember what she weighed then, but I'm guessing 20-something so the rule could apply.
We walked extensively at home with loaded packs to work out what was possible before going. This included our "walking clothes" so when we got to Spain our packs were lighter! And the trails less demanding than what is in our back yard, so these two factors may have contributed to our positive experience.
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
Well.
I nearly want to take back everything I've previously written on this thread!
This morning I took a friend's 13yo foster child for a walk. He lasted 2km before he started asking when we'd be done!

So now I add the suggestion that if you don't walk at home, it might not be a good idea to undertake a camino - at least, not until you've done some walking at home first! Of course, it is far more interesting to walk in Spain (my kids insist on this every time I drag them out at home now), but do make sure you can cover 10 or 15km easily.

Just quietly, I'd love to be able to take this boy for a walk every week and watch his confidence grow as his stamina increases! But I might not survive because he talked non-stop!!!!
 
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Jersey

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
July 2017
Walking is a natural motion. Throwing a baseball, especially pitching, is one of the most non-natural motions a body can make

Without a doubt you are right on both accounts. I just thought an OK from an orthopedic doctor wouldn't hurt.
As far as throwing a baseball, I have a 4 inch scar on my elbow that reminds me that throwing a baseball is not natural lol
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
I just thought an OK from an orthopedic doctor wouldn't hurt.
You are not the first to express this concern and I addressed it with medical staff. They were adamant no damage could be done (they didn't realize my daughter would fall and break her arm!!) and insisted kids would do well to engage in this kind of activity on a regular basis.
Fear not!!
 

HeidiL

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2004-), Portugués, Madrid, 4/5 Plata, 1/8 Levante, 1/8 Lana, Augusta, hospitalera Grado.
But I might not survive because he talked non-stop!!!!

That was our "bribe" on the first walks. Our 8-year-old designed huge game systems in his head, and described them to us, hour after hour, and we'd only listen to this if he was actually walking...
 

robelford

Robert Elford
Year of past OR future Camino
CF June 2017 with my 12 year-old son; CF May 2018 with a friend.
Hi Rob, I have no advice, just wanted to say that we are planning our Camino in March 2018 with our sons who will be 12 and 9. I am following your post and would love to hear about your and your son's experience.

I really like Jersey's suggestion to get your son's feet checked out.

Anyway, don't forget to come back and share your experiences traveling with your son :) Buen Camino
I look forward to sharing our experiences with you. Only a month today and we leave for France! I will post "lessons learned" here.
 
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Gumba

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Good on you, Rob. That would be much appreciated. Only a month - you both must be getting excited!

I met a 10 year old French girl on her fourth Camino She did one at 6, 8, 9, and 10. It was her typical summer holiday.

Wow!!!! I bet she and her family would have been interesting to sit down and talk too! (as would be so many people!)
 

rebeccaryall

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016
Hello, I am thankful for this forum and have learned much. My 12 year-old son and I plan to leave SJPDP on 29 May 2017, with 42 days available for walking. Does anyone have experience walking with a child about that age? Any lessons learned? We have been training regularly and he is very keen to go. I am overjoyed he will be joining me (my first Camino too) but I admit to a combination of excitement and concern. The main source of my concern comes from a place of wondering if this is too extreme for my son. Any tips from parents who have done this with similar aged children would be most appreciated. All the best from Halifax, Canada.

hi there
i walked this time last year with my two daughters aged 9 and 13 from SJPDP to Fisterra. we took 41 days with two rest days in santiago and 4 other rest days along the way. kids were fine....amazing....it was hands down the best thing i could have done for them and it has bonded us together so incredibly. it has opened all of our eyes and we have all grown from the experience. i highly recommend this. and most of the things you may be worrying about either won't happen, or have already happened to someone else and there are solutions in place. seriously, it was wonderful!
as per previous post, stamps in the credentials are a great daily goal. we took journals and read books on iPods and phones. we did a lot of singing, and yes they talked non stop!!
buen camino!
 

gollygolly

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2000, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
The main source of my concern comes from a place of wondering if this is too extreme for my son. Any tips from parents who have done this with similar aged children would be most appreciated.

I have the privilege of my daughter having willingly been up for walking together on several caminos, choosing to walk her first one at age 7, and walking at least one further camino in each of the years that followed.

She has, I believe, benefited from so much that each of these caminos has brought her, and this summer, which will be her 12th year, we will be back walking.

It is not, nor ever has been, forced or impressed on her, but she has got caminoites, and the only cure is to put on the walking gear and sling on the back-pack.

My personal advice is to ensure that you son has the desire for the experience, and if he has make sure that he has good footwear and a very comfortably fitting back-pack. And once walking, protect against the sun, drink lots of water and ensure that you walk at his pace.

Buen camino !!
 
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robelford

Robert Elford
Year of past OR future Camino
CF June 2017 with my 12 year-old son; CF May 2018 with a friend.
hi there
i walked this time last year with my two daughters aged 9 and 13 from SJPDP to Fisterra. we took 41 days with two rest days in santiago and 4 other rest days along the way. kids were fine....amazing....it was hands down the best thing i could have done for them and it has bonded us together so incredibly. it has opened all of our eyes and we have all grown from the experience. i highly recommend this. and most of the things you may be worrying about either won't happen, or have already happened to someone else and there are solutions in place. seriously, it was wonderful!
as per previous post, stamps in the credentials are a great daily goal. we took journals and read books on iPods and phones. we did a lot of singing, and yes they talked non stop!!
buen camino!
Thank you for sharing this encouraging experience. The excitement of leaving is building!
 

Gumba

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
gollygolly and rebeccaryall plus others who have walked with children, how far on average did you walk each day? Did you stay in albergues? private family rooms? hotels? Did you struggle to make sure your children ate enough so as not to lose weight? Did you find this an issue at all?

Rob, I hope you dont mind my taking over your post by asking these questions.
 
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robelford

Robert Elford
Year of past OR future Camino
CF June 2017 with my 12 year-old son; CF May 2018 with a friend.
Rob, I hope you dont mind my taking over your post by asking these questions.[/QUOTE]

Not at all! Great questions.
 

gollygolly

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2000, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
gollygolly and rebeccaryall plus others who have walked with children, how far on average did you walk each day? Did you stay in albergues? private family rooms? hotels? Did you struggle to make sure your children ate enough so as not to lose weight? Did you find this an issue at all?

Rob, I hope you dont mind my taking over your post by asking these questions.

Apologies for delay in responding , a result of not looking at this site that frequently. Distances per day walked have been quite variable with some quite extreme days, but probably an average of 25 - 28 kms per day. The distance may not be the factor to worry about, but the conditions of the day, and especially how hot - or cold - it is. Our hardest day walking ever was not that many kms, but through deep snow while walking the Camino San Salvador. Our overnight accommodation is almost always in albergues, though our walk last year on the Camino de Inverno had us staying mostly in small hotels, as that route has very little camino infrastructure. The personal preference of both of us is to stay in albergues. Food !!! I try to always carry small self sealing bags containing dried fruit and nuts ; figs/apricots/prunes and especially dates as well as peanuts and other nuts. Remember that salted nuts bring on thirst, so only eat when water supply can quench the thirst that will come on. I try and avoid too many biscuits, thinking that they are not going to be giving that much in the way of energy, though magdalenas frequently get carried, but that is probably more for me in my hope that they will accompany the all too frequently allusive morning coffee. Not sure that any weight has ever been lost by my daughter while on a Camino - she can eat amazing quantities at any hour of the day !

Bon camino !
 

robelford

Robert Elford
Year of past OR future Camino
CF June 2017 with my 12 year-old son; CF May 2018 with a friend.
Hello from Burgos. Our first rest day after 12 days of walking. My son is having no trouble. He is carrying his own water in a camelback. This is keeping him well hydrated. This is an incredible experience for both of us. My boy is becoming a man, loving the Camino family and genuinely embracing the experience. I am overwhelmed with gratitude.
 
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Majellacamino

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
June17
Hello from CF. Already thinking of coming back next year... with my daughter who will then be 11. I am very interested in practicalities of each day such as whether albergues all accept children and any issues that you have come across not mentioned here
 

robelford

Robert Elford
Year of past OR future Camino
CF June 2017 with my 12 year-old son; CF May 2018 with a friend.
I have not had any trouble with any albergue. In fact, I often cross paths with a couple and their 9 month old daughter. They too have had no trouble with any albergue.
Practically, I want to emphasize the camelback; it is easy, accessible for him and most importantly keeps him well hydrated. What really keeps his spirits high is the genuine embrace he has received from the other, younger pilgrims(18 - 25yrs). He is feeding off their energy and embrace of him.
Also, practically speaking, I overpacked for him. He really only needs two pairs of socks, underwear and shirts with a fleece that he wears just about every morning. I hope that helps.
 

Gumba

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Hello from Burgos. Our first rest day after 12 days of walking. My son is having no trouble. He is carrying his own water in a camelback. This is keeping him well hydrated. This is an incredible experience for both of us. My boy is becoming a man, loving the Camino family and genuinely embracing the experience. I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

Rob, thanks so much for coming back for an update. Glad to hear it has been such an amazing experience for you both. Our eldest will be a month shy of 12 when we start our Camino next year so I am very interested in all you have to say. Off to google camelbacks!
 

MKalcolm M

Solvitur ambulando - It is solved by walking
Year of past OR future Camino
north route spring 2013
Most of what I've written below was on another post which asked a similar question, so apologies for repeating myself.

I recently walked the Portugese camino with my 12 year old daughter, who walked far longer each day than I thought she would. We had a great experience and are planning to walk the Primitivo together next year. A few tips from our trip.
Involve your son in the planning of each day, then they are involved in the trip and quickly get to know what to expect. My daughter (Faith) hates getting up early, but soon realised that this was preferable to walking in the heat of the day, so agreed to early starts. Keep him involved in the process, Faith looked for yellow arrows, and counted them as we went along, posing for photos at key numbers. She counted 1350 arrows between Porto and the Spanish border. Get him to collect the stamps on your credencials, this will create an interest in your progress.
Make friends with fellow walkers. The best part of this was the camaraderie and friendship, we met some lovely people and had great times together. We shared meals at alberges and Faith got a lot of encouragement from fellow pilgrims, she would often walk with other people for short parts of the day. It was April the 1st, so Faith put a clothes peg on my hat brim without my knowledge and giggled every time someone noticed it. This became a joke with our camino friends, and we all took to pranking each other by putting clothes pegs on each others packs.
Keep well fueled with drinks, ice cream and chocolate, this is great for morale, and allows for rests when tired or needing a break. Agreeing to stop at the next cafe is good incentive to push on over the next hill.
Get him a camera, so he can record his trip. Encourage him to pick up a few words of Spanish, and use them, Faith really liked learning new words, and would write down new vocabulary each day. If she saw a sign, she would write it down and google it that evening so she knew what it meant.
Don't be nervous of alberges, the opportunities for meeting other people are great, and he has the chance to make friends with them.
Depending on how you both feel about electronics, an MP3 player with music on it, to help with the long slogs. Faith took her phone with her and send photos to her friends via Instagram and Snapchat, which really helped her motivation and also let her keep in contact with her pals. This also gave her something that was truly hers on the camino, I am an IT dinosaur so this let her have something that was original to her.
It sounds obvious, but talk to each other... Faith told me lots of details of her school life, her friends, her pleasures, etc., the kind of details we don't get time to share during our normal daily routine. We also played lots of games such as "tell me a secret about that pilgrim we met last night", which lets you make up all kinds of fictitious nonsense.
Encourage a desire to make it to Santiago, then celebrate when you get there.
Best of all, enjoy yourselves!
 
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Gumba

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Mkalcolm M, your advice has been invaluable. Have cut and paste to my Camino folder! Thank you for taking the time to post here. I particularly love the arrow counting (hadn't thought of that!), the pranking and the 'tell me a secret'. Bribery is a must! Have started learning a bit of Spanish - love the idea of writing things down too.

I had planned to get them to collect as many stamps as they can/want. Do you think I should get two passports for them (other child will be 9)
Thank you :)
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
gollygolly and rebeccaryall plus others who have walked with children, how far on average did you walk each day? Did you stay in albergues? private family rooms? hotels? Did you struggle to make sure your children ate enough so as not to lose weight? Did you find this an issue at all?.
I'll answer a question with a question- how do you STOP your child from eating? My kids eat like horses at home and like elephants when walking. Even if yours is a reluctant eater now, she may put away a massive bowl of pasta and salad after a day in the fresh air. And people will buy her icecreams.
Many pilgrims set out each day without eating, planning on stopping at a bar. With kids I felt it more prudent to purchase supplies the night before (yoghurt, fruit, chocolate muesli, oats, bread, cheese, salami, eggs, nuts, dried fruit or any combo) and eat something before walking anywhere. On occasions (not on the Frances) where this was not possible, they actually did fine and even walked 17km on an emergency muesli bar one day. In addition to that "first breakfast" i think we know every chocolate pastry place in Spain - the best is on the outskirts of Oviedo!

As for your other questions, albergues all the way for us.
And as has already been said, distance is not so much the issue as conditions. If I told you my ten year old walked 42km one day (which is true) it might cause you to think yours should do the same. I would hate that! On our first camino when we hadn't walked so much (Max 15km at home with the kids) our then-ten-year-old had to do 29km one day (the group he was with got lost - i spent the day in hospital with my daughter's broken arm!) and he was crying in agony that night. Remembering that experience gave him huge respect for his baby sister who managed the 42km at the same age as he had been! But we had done many longer distances in between. My advice is to walk with your child at home and see what you find comfortable.
 

Gumba

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Thanks Rachael, lots of great advice. Luckily not fussy eaters, just tall and skinny, I want to make sure they at least maintain their weight with all the walking. We have started walking and will increase the distance over the next few months. Thanks again for the advice.
 
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Femke8

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2017

Hi i was just going to ask the same question to the kiwi family and other families who walked with kids.. I'm walking part of the camino with my ten year old son from Leon to Santiago de Compostela started on the 29th of Sept.. I can't figure out what rucksack to buy for him. He is strong and able but not used yet to walking miles and miles with a heavy pack. I'm sure he will get used to it and we intend to train also in coming months. A youth pack is usually 40lt plus but smaller bags don't seem to have hip support straps. How much can children carry? What is reasonable to expect? Obviously no more or less than 10% is the rule but more support seems equally important. Any suggestions or tips would be much appreciated.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Where are you located @Femke8? It is just that Aldi in Australia next Saturday have hiking backpacks in store, including 30 litre ones, for $30. At that price they are worth a look.

I think the issue is more one of weight than size. As you say, the usual rule of thumb is that the pack should weight (when packed) about 10 percent of body-weight. But my 6 yo grand-daughter regularly carries far more than that in her school pack - which horrifies me as it does not even have a proper waist band.

Rachael - of @Kiwi-family - has experience. Try a PM to her.
 
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Kiwi-family

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Year of past OR future Camino
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
Camino 2014 2014-05-07 003.JPG Camino 2014 2014-05-14 005.JPG Camino 2014 2014-06-05 008.JPG Camino 2014 2014-06-09 018.JPG Camino 2014 2014-06-09 027.JPG
On this camino the girls were 8 and 10 and the boys 12 and 13.
Boys used Osprey Exposure 36 packs - the youth packs were not available in NZ back then. They liked them and have used them since - the girls have also used them more recently. (I used one for one hike only at home and found it to be very uncomfortable and would not touch it again!)
The girls used very light (190g) 15l day packs from Kathmandu. They had a waist strap but it certainly didn't carry any weight. We also added a chest strap to hold the packs in place better. The girls carried all their own gear except sleeping bags (the boys helped out) - clothes, crocs, towel, toothbrush, sleeping bag liner, journal, credencial, pens, water bottle - about 2-4kg. The boys opted for water bladders and their packs were heavier to start with - they carried 5 or 6kg. I took all the extras - bowls and sporks, toiletries, medical supplies, national passports etc. 9-10kg.
You can see they were comfortable enough with the packs to not even bother taking them off when playing along the way (catching tadpoles in that puddle in the picture) or when sitting down for a rest.
Most recently our youngest (then 10yo) used a different Osprey with a proper hip belt. It weighed much more but because the hip belt JUST fit (pulled as tight as possible) it was easy to carry. She tried both options at home on a number of hikes before deciding to switch to this one. Second daughter also upgraded to one of the Osprey36 packs and as we only have two of them the older boy carried a 50l equivalent pack but did not come anywhere close to filling it. He COULD have carried all our food in it, but as you can see, we shared that out amongst us. Daddy also carries a pack that is way too big but very comfy - he just doesn't fill it.
IMG_4577.JPG IMG_7646.JPG

It's a trade-off weight against comfort - although if you keep the contents light enough the girls insist the light packs were still comfortable to carry. They both developed a special way of packing their things to make sure the soft stuff was against their backs!
If at all possible, try out different options and see what suits each child.
 

Femke8

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2017
Where are you located @Femke8? It is just that Aldi in Australia next Saturday have hiking backpacks in store, including 30 litre ones, for $30. At that price they are worth a look.

I think the issue is more one of weight than size. As you say, the usual rule of thumb is that the pack should weight (when packed) about 10 percent of body-weight. But my 6 yo grand-daughter regularly carries far more than that in her school pack - which horrifies me as it does not even have a proper waist band.

Rachael - of @Kiwi-family - has experience. Try a PM to her.
Thanks very much for your suggestion Kanga. We're in Ireland but maybe the Aldi here has the same offers, i will check it out.
 

Femke8

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2017
View attachment 34758 View attachment 34759 View attachment 34760 View attachment 34761 View attachment 34762
On this camino the girls were 8 and 10 and the boys 12 and 13.
Boys used Osprey Exposure 36 packs - the youth packs were not available in NZ back then. They liked them and have used them since - the girls have also used them more recently. (I used one for one hike only at home and found it to be very uncomfortable and would not touch it again!)
The girls used very light (190g) 15l day packs from Kathmandu. They had a waist strap but it certainly didn't carry any weight. We also added a chest strap to hold the packs in place better. The girls carried all their own gear except sleeping bags (the boys helped out) - clothes, crocs, towel, toothbrush, sleeping bag liner, journal, credencial, pens, water bottle - about 2-4kg. The boys opted for water bladders and their packs were heavier to start with - they carried 5 or 6kg. I took all the extras - bowls and sporks, toiletries, medical supplies, national passports etc. 9-10kg.
You can see they were comfortable enough with the packs to not even bother taking them off when playing along the way (catching tadpoles in that puddle in the picture) or when sitting down for a rest.
Most recently our youngest (then 10yo) used a different Osprey with a proper hip belt. It weighed much more but because the hip belt JUST fit (pulled as tight as possible) it was easy to carry. She tried both options at home on a number of hikes before deciding to switch to this one. Second daughter also upgraded to one of the Osprey36 packs and as we only have two of them the older boy carried a 50l equivalent pack but did not come anywhere close to filling it. He COULD have carried all our food in it, but as you can see, we shared that out amongst us. Daddy also carries a pack that is way too big but very comfy - he just doesn't fill it.
View attachment 34763 View attachment 34764
It's a trade-off weight against comfort - although if you keep the contents light enough the girls insist the light packs were still comfortable to carry. They both developed a special way of packing their things to make sure the soft stuff was against their backs!
If at all possible, try out different options and see what suits each child.

Thanks Rachael for taking the time to tell me what worked for you and your family. It's a bit of a mine field, chosing the right one, as you probably figure out what works and not, when already using it. I expect to carry some of his stuff at some point and extra's like food etc but do want him to carry most of his own gear. He is strong and tall for a 10 year old and will be nearly 11. I guess the trick is to pack light and not bring too much and like you say if a bag is comfortable you can choose how much you put in. I would like him to have a proper back with hip straps though as i would be worried it's too much strain on his shoulders after a while. Would you think youth bag 42lt is too much or was 36lt just right in your experience? Also did your kids have all technical gear, like merino or quick drying tops and trousers, gore tex etc? And in terms of shoes did you find they need lots of ankle support when carrying a pack, or sturdy keen shoes for example be fine?
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I would have thought that heavy inflexible footwear is the last thing to put on a 10 year old.

Australia has some pretty arduous bushwalking. Here is an article from a local very experienced bushwalker that I think sums up the issues and is worth reading, particularly what he says about marketing claims and ankle support:

https://bushwalkingnsw.org.au/clubsites/FAQ/FAQ_Footwear.htm
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
My wife and then 11-year old daughter walked the 1400km from John O'Groats to Lands End while carrying camping gear. Their journey began in spring in northern Scotland and included snow and ice at times. Neither of them suffered any ill-effects along the way and my daughter even managed to avoid getting a single blister. The difficulties were far more psychological than physical. It can sometimes be difficult to motivate a child for one more km, one more day.... That may take a little imagination and tolerance.
JOGLE.jpg
 
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Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
Would you think youth bag 42lt is too much or was 36lt just right in your experience? Also did your kids have all technical gear, like merino or quick drying tops and trousers, gore tex etc? And in terms of shoes did you find they need lots of ankle support when carrying a pack, or sturdy keen shoes for example be fine?
See what @Kanga says about shoes. On various walks we have used Keens sandals or trail shoes.
On our first camino we had no technical gear - just shorts and shirts from our standard wardrobe. Some were even denim and we didn't die!!
For longer walks we switched to (mostly) second-hand lightweight gear.
We have tried a range of rainwear options. I love my Packa jacket. Kids used homemade ponchos a couple of times which were OK until no longer waterproof. Last time we got them waterproof sacks from Macpac which they put in their packs and despite days on end of constant rain, everything in their packs stayed dry. They wore rain jackets which were not fabulous but they knew they would have dry gear once we arrived each day, even if there were no hot showers.
Hope this helps.
 

Femke8

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2017
See what @Kanga says about shoes. On various walks we have used Keens sandals or trail shoes.
On our first camino we had no technical gear - just shorts and shirts from our standard wardrobe. Some were even denim and we didn't die!!
For longer walks we switched to (mostly) second-hand lightweight gear.
We have tried a range of rainwear options. I love my Packa jacket. Kids used homemade ponchos a couple of times which were OK until no longer waterproof. Last time we got them waterproof sacks from Macpac which they put in their packs and despite days on end of constant rain, everything in their packs stayed dry. They wore rain jackets which were not fabulous but they knew they would have dry gear once we arrived each day, even if there were no hot showers.
Hope this helps.

Thanks Rachael, it's a huge help and i'm getting a clearer picture now. I'm slowly gathering some gear for my son, i hope to borrow most but probably buy some too if necessary. It's like, ideally you want everything lightweight and not carry extra bulk but it's a huge expense if you have to buy it all, even in the sales.. Although it's reassuring to know that we be fine either way! He has Keen gore tex shoes but they don't have great grip (left) by look of the soles but he finds them comfortable and they still fit well so hopefully they be fine. May i ask what size rucksack you would use yourself, with carrying extra's and food etc? I'm considering 38+10, would that be big enough you think?
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
Thanks Rachael, it's a huge help and i'm getting a clearer picture now. I'm slowly gathering some gear for my son, i hope to borrow most but probably buy some too if necessary. It's like, ideally you want everything lightweight and not carry extra bulk but it's a huge expense if you have to buy it all, even in the sales.. Although it's reassuring to know that we be fine either way! He has Keen gore tex shoes but they don't have great grip (left) by look of the soles but he finds them comfortable and they still fit well so hopefully they be fine. May i ask what size rucksack you would use yourself, with carrying extra's and food etc? I'm considering 38+10, would that be big enough you think?
Mine is a 35+10 and I hardly ever had the +10 bit extended (never on the Frances).
Borrow as much gear as you can - and make do. Seriously, it's not an Everest expedition. I'm sure we could reduce our weight by buying technical gear, but we settled for "heavier than necessary but still comfortable". Second-hand stores are our first port of call if we can't borrow something.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
The 11 year-old we walked with carried all his own stuff, except water. Just make sure you don't overpack, just 2 of everything is fine (well, t-shirts/shorts/socks/underwear...not 2 fleeces for ex.). Keep it light.
His bag was a Quechua, from Decathlon.
 

Femke8

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2017
Mine is a 35+10 and I hardly ever had the +10 bit extended (never on the Frances).
Borrow as much gear as you can - and make do. Seriously, it's not an Everest expedition. I'm sure we could reduce our weight by buying technical gear, but we settled for "heavier than necessary but still comfortable". Second-hand stores are our first port of call if we can't borrow something.
Thanks for good suggestions Rachael. Shoes and rucksack are probably main thing to consider, rest will improvise. We have a good second hand shop here too and looking out for good deals..
 
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Femke8

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2017
TH
The 11 year-old we walked with carried all his own stuff, except water. Just make sure you don't overpack, just 2 of everything is fine (well, t-shirts/shorts/socks/underwear...not 2 fleeces for ex.). Keep it light.
His bag was a Quechua, from Decathlon.

Thanks Domigee for responding. Do you mean two of everything including what they wear or one set on, two sets in the bag? Also what size bag was the Quechua? What would you say is right size for 11 year old? I'm considering a 25 or 30 lt pack for him..
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
Everyone will tell you "wear one set, carry one set".
Having walked for consecutive days in non-stop rain, I would add three pairs of socks is not unwise and even four pairs is not excessive!
 

martin1ws

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Somport to Finisterre Jul-Aug 2018; Munich to Lindau (Germany) Sep 2020

Femke8

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2017
My wife and then 11-year old daughter walked the 1400km from John O'Groats to Lands End while carrying camping gear. Their journey began in spring in northern Scotland and included snow and ice at times. Neither of them suffered any ill-effects along the way and my daughter even managed to avoid getting a single blister. The difficulties were far more psychological than physical. It can sometimes be difficult to motivate a child for one more km, one more day.... That may take a little imagination and tolerance.
View attachment 34772
Thanks for sharing, it's very inspiring. I think children are often far more capable than we think and thus limit their experience which is such a shame. Lovely to hear about their journey. How long did it take?
 
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