Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Planning Pieterpad I - early thoughts

Well, it's time to kick off this blog and what better way than to start it with an item that this blog is for, recording the outdoors aspect of my life.

Lande and I got exited by the TGO challenge but realised that it was not possible for us to do it this year as we've just had a baby, and that it would probably be a good idea to get some practice and exercise in before we tried it. Therefore we've decided to section-hike the Pieterpad as it's here in the Netherlands where we currently live, and it's even something we can do with Ingrid, our little girl.

So far we're still in the early stages of planning, just looking at options and starting to think of how to do it practically. Fortunately the public transport links are good along the Pieterpad so we can park at the end of each stage and get transport to the beginning. As we're only thinking of doing weekends (at least mostly) it's going to be quite a few weekends spent on it.

Our plan is to hike it from south to north, hoping that we can get the tiniest of advantage in following the spring up through the country. Another advantage is that we'll have the sun more or less at our backs most of time.

We're also hoping to be able to do some wild camping along the way, but we're going to have to look quite closely at the route and hopefully also get some advice from some locals. This brings me to the "in" for other posts I hope to make about hiking with infants. I'm going to have to think really hard about shelter, packs and sleeping arrangements for Ingrid.
  •  Obviously we want to make sure she's warm enough, but with an infant we're also going to have to make sure she's not too warm. Another issue is that she's going to grow out of things very quickly, so we don't want to get something too expensive.
  •  Since we have to carry her I want to try to find the lightest possible carry pack which can still take some kit and while the UL community has a lot of information available there seems to be little information about this kind of kit. Again I hope to be able to take advantage of advice from other hikers with children.
  • In terms of shelter we're going to want something with quite a lot of space. I'm thinking that maybe the Hogback from Tarptent might be a viable option, however I want to talk to others who have tried that to see what they think.

Unfortunately we're not in possessions of any proper sleeping bags at the moment and Lande has very little gear so we're going to have to do some very careful investments in the coming months. We have a pair of pads, and even though they're not to heavy and easy to inflate, neither of us like them and I'd like to replace them both. Our current tent weighs in just below 3kg, which I now think is way too heavy and it's also not of a good size for Ingrid as well. I might see if I can modify it to lighten it and make do for now.

Stay tuned to more thoughts on gear and planning as we move towards the start of the walk which we hope to be early in spring.


  1. Interesting subject and I'll follow it with keenly as it develops. We have two small kids (19 months and 3.5 years)and we know just how difficult it is to keep active after little ones arive on the scene. I have limited experience of walking/camping with kids (only short day walks and car camping so far)so I can't help very much with you gear selection and planning butI do wish you all the best in this endever!

  2. I can only imagine that 2 kids are twice the trouble... :)
    We're actually aiming to be more active now that we have Ingrid, partly because we want her to be active and also because we keep feeling that we're missing opportunities by not doing more.

    We aim to start with some medium to long day walks and car camping as well, just to see how it works. I plan to post the results here too so one can see how we've progressed and what worked (and didn't).

    Once we feel that it's safe we'll try our first walk and camp.

    I also want to try out some cold weather gear on her (and us for that matter) during Easter when we go to our cabin in Rondane.

    Have you had a go at Pieterpad yet yourself? Do you use a carry pack for either of the kids?

  3. Twice the fun sometimes. Twice the trouble the rest of the time :-)

    Cabin in Rondane? Sounds idilic!

    Not done any long walks in holland at all. Here I take to the water.

    Yes we used a kid carrier with both kids. Emily, our oldest, was a little too impatient and wasn't happy for very long. The best we managed was a low level walk in Scotland where we timed it just right and she fell asleep for an hour. Benjamin our youngest started wlaking very early and just wasn't interested in being carried after that time.

    We used a Deuter Kid Confort III which at the time we purchased it seemed to be the best available. The thing is already about 3kg empty though! Teh only tips I have are 1) a mirror is realy useful for checking on your child 2) some sort of foot rest/stirrup would be useful as I think dangling legs geo dead after a while.

    Cold weather gear: the best I know of can be found here all-in-one waterproofs and all-in-one down suits have two functions. They keep the child warm and stop the parents from worrying.

  4. I'm being threatened with having another one. And to be honest I think two is a good number.

    I did read you latest post and it seemed really nice. Those canoes aren't cheap though! There are way too many water crafts I want to get. I'd quite like the Hobie Island Adventure, an Alpacka, and one of those canoes. If you happen to be a man down, feel free to tell me! :)

    Thanks for the tips. I really like the spottyotter products. Will probably go for some of those. I also found a nice comparison of carriers (in Norwegian) which I've posted on the Kit List page.