Over time we’ve found we needed gear or equipment for many of our trips or adventures.  And after some trial and error, we found what worked best for us, so we thought we’d share in case it might help you in planning your next trip.  You can simply click on any of the images below if you want more information on that item.

Disclaimer:  We do receive commissions from some of the links (if you click on the images) and sites below which we hope will help offset some of the costs of running and hosting this site.  The price is the same for you but we get a small fee for referring you through the link.  However, we have used all of these products ourselves and only post items we believe in and have found useful for our family.  Thank you.

Water Backpacks for Kids

We use these backpacks for every hike we take and our girls love them. It’s very small and can hold just over one liter of water and a small snack or camera for the kids. It includes the water reservoir as well. And when we are done, we can fit two of these easily into our backpack to save space when flying.

Backpacks and Water for Us

I’ll admit I made fun of my husband when he bought two of these. Although, we typically only take one with us for trips as it will hold all we need for water (reservoir has to be purchased separately and we use the 3L size), food, Band-Aids, sunscreen, camera lens, snacks and more. We also try to take a bottle or two of extra water to give to people who didn’t plan to bring enough. You’d be surprised how many you find on long trails – and early on, we were the recipients of the same kindness when we didn’t plan very well. (Thank you to that sweet couple on San Jacinto Mountain for the bottle of water.)

Camera, Lens, Battery

This is a hot topic so feel free to spend $10K to $100 on whatever works best for you. But we do use the camera below and have been very pleased with the quality. We also recommend adding on the telephoto lens which is great for wildlife shots and getting intimate shots of family during an activity. We end up doing a post on our rudimentary knowledge of how to get good photos during a vacation. And, of course, a back-up battery is a great idea so you don’t wind up at the top of mountain with no way to take some photos.

Ginger Candy – Sea Sickness, Nausea

Not sure how your family will take to a boat ride or helicopter tour. This is an old trick that has been used for hundreds of years. Pack a few ginger candies just in case. They don’t take up much room – and while I’m not the biggest fan of straight ginger – it can be a mess-saver if your children or you start to feel a little queasy on an excursion.

Sandwich Containers

It’s silly but if you want to bring sandwiches to enjoy at the waterfalls, mountain top or canyon bottom, it’s tough to keep your bread from squishing. Above is the trick we have found. Pre-make your sandwiches and grab a few mustard or mayonnaise packets at your next fast food stop.

Clif ZBars

These are great for mid-way through a five mile hike and will fit easily into the kids backpacks if they need a snack.

Trail Mix Packs, Granola

Same as the Zbars a small pack of trail mix or granola is easy to fit into the backpacks as well.

Wine, Beer, Water

Your preference, but one of the advantages of a road trip is you have time to either pre-pack or stop and pick up your own wine and beer. We simply slip a bottle into our bag when needed. And at some hotels a single glass of wine will cost as much or more than an entire bottle you could have brought on your own.


Should the weather take a turn and you find yourselves like we did facing a hike down steep switchbacks with some snow and ice, we found these crampons worked very well and we were able to easily pack them up once we got down to a lower elevation and temperatures rose or the day became warmer.  Plus they make for some exciting trips with your children.