Spring is coming...
It's true! Any day now we'll be outside, hitting the trail, swatting at mosquitoes, sweating buckets in the humidity. It will be great! In the mean time, some ways to get ready:
Check your kids boots and shoes
If you do a lot of hiking, you've probably bought your kids hiking boots. This is absolutely not necessary -- kids are resilient and can really hike in any type of sturdy shoe from sneakers to sandals. If your child hasn't put the boots on in a few months, make sure they still fit. If they live in their sneakers, it's a good time to check the fit on those, too, and take advantage of spring sales to get the next size up.
Populate your first aid kit
You always carry a first aid kit when you hike, right? And you have one in your car, too? Of course you do! If you "forgot" I won't tell, but now is the perfect time to start. It's easy. Get a zip lock bag and throw in some antibiotic ointment, bandages, cortisone for itchiness and bug bites, and aspirin or ibuprofen. I recommend finding boxes of individual medicine doses on line. Don't forget tweezers for ticks.
Treat your gear with permethrin
Speaking of ticks, the best way to keep them off is to use a spray on your clothes and boots that contains a neurotoxin that repels ticks. You can get permethrin spray on line or in any store that sells outdoor gear.