Saturday, December 10, 2011

Carry multi-purpose tool on hike with kids

Image courtesy of 9comeback /
Though rarely used on day hikes, a multi-purpose tool (a Swiss Army knife is a type of one) is indispensable. It has a number of gizmos on it, such as scissors, awl, cork-screw, bottle cap opener and wire cutters, any of which could prove useful should you end up spending the night in the wilds. When buying a multipurpose tool, look for a multi-purpose tool that as a minimum has a small knife, scissors and screwdriver. Try to find one that is small and lightweight.

A number of parent hikers say a knife also is a must, and it is indeed a handy tool in case of an emergency. With a multi-purpose tool, however, you won't really need a knife. Other parents like to carry a knife for whittling. That's not a great idea, though, as a knife can slip, leaving a gash in a palm or finger. In the past, use of a knife may have been one of those unofficial rites of passages into manhood, but today different attitudes prevail. Writes Scott O., of Portland, Maine: "I carry a very small pocketknife on my multipurpose tool and never make a show of it in front of my son, who is only a preschooler. Kids shouldn't play with them lest they injure themselves."

If you do carry a large knife, making sure it has a locking blade.

Read more about day hiking with children in the guidebook Hikes with Tykes.