Living in Cumbria means that our walks don’t stop because of a bit of rain!

Hiking with children can feel like a mammoth task at times and this isn’t made any easier during the winter months. The cold, wet, dark days can make getting out for a hike feel a little too overwhelming, at times. However, unless there are severe weather warnings out there, the weather really doesn’t have to stop your family days out. Some of our best days out hiking have been in the more extreme weather. Below I have listed a few tips that help me get to the top of those fells with my four small children, even in torrential rain!


categories: girl with umbrella on a wet weather walk
  • Prepare: it sounds cliché but it really is so vital that you are fully prepared before heading out for a winter hike. The weather changes very quickly and you can loose light much earlier than you expect. The dark nights, and shorter days, often mean we start our hikes early morning so that we are all done before the darkness rolls in. I would highly recommend carrying some emergency torches with you if you are planning a longer hike in the winter months. My children all have head torches, which they absolutely love, that help to preoccupy them when their legs are starting to tire!                                   
  •  Equipment: when the cold, wet weather sets in it is more crucial than ever to invest in the correct equipment:

    layers, layers, layers! The weather is always changing up here in the Lake District and even more so during the winter months. We are always sure to have plenty of warm clothes on and we always carry emergency hats and gloves with us – it can get cold as you head up the mountains. Always wear too many layers, remember you can always take layers off but you can’t add them if you haven’t got them! My children always wear thermal clothing under their clothes. This not only allows them to keep warm but also helps when you get back to the car when their outer layers are dripping wet! You can soon pop all of the wet gear off and drive home with them sat in their thermals – happy and dry! Always take a spare bag to put all wet clothes in! 
    Raincoats: every winter I seem to spend so much time searching for the best raincoat for my children. If you are wanting to take your children out on hikes during the winter months then it is absolutely essential that you invest in good waterproofs. If children are dry and warm then they will most likely enjoy their hike! We currently have full body waterproof suits that the children wear during the colder months. They provide a great amount of warmth and keep them dry, no matter how much rain!
    Footwear: the most essential piece of equipment that you will need. While my children wear their wellies, my husband and I wouldn’t be without our Vango walking boots. We are regularly heard saying how much we wish Vango did children’s footwear! There hasn’t been a trail that I’ve completed where I haven’t felt steady, supported and most importantly dry!
  • Distraction: 
    Don’t forget, sometimes no amount of preparation can change the mood of our children. If you find yourself in a position where your children are not feeling the walk, and the whinging is starting, then the key is to use the art of distraction. There have been many a walk where we have had to play eye spy  in an attempt to stop a few of our children crying, or begin a game of  ‘who am I’ to get the children thinking of something other than the fact they are walking in the pouring rain ? As adults we really must try to remain happy, even if inside you’re not feeling too chirpy yourself!

There you have it! A few of The Hiking Household’s top tips on remaining calm, and happy, even when the heavens open half way through your family walk! Trust me our favourite walks have always been in the rain. I understand that it feels like an effort to get out there at first but children LOVE puddles, let them play and splash, chase the running water down the hill, look out for waterfalls. Why not catch raindrops with your tongue, make paper boats and sail them in a really big puddle. There are so many exciting activities to do with children in the rain, as long as they are dry and warm you really will have the best wet weather adventures! 

hiking household