Two kids vs. one kid for outdoor adventuring

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you should choose the number of children you have based on how it impacts your outdoor adventure experience. But let’s just say you were going to allow the ease of outdoor adventure and travel to influence your procreation decisions, here are some pluses and concerns to consider.

I’m by no means an expert, as I happen to have two children at the moment (and while we may stay at two, three is only a “oopsie” away).  This past weekend, I was inspired to write down the difference between climbing with one vs. two children when Ryan and I went climbing at Governor Stable on Sunday with only our youngest child (C, age 2).

The upside of one kid.  First of all, C is a lightweight.  She probably weighs less than 30 lbs which is about 10 pounds less than R.  She’s shorter.  She drinks and eats less.  She rides comfortably in the back pack.  R does not.   Now don’t get me wrong, he will usually walk which is a plus over C. But every now and then he just refuses to take another step.  So either way, one child to carry is probably enough.  Particularly when you add in food, crash pads and/or sport racks, rope, shoes etc.  Carrying two kids and all of that gear means that someone is exhausted by the time they get to the crag.

One kid also means you only have one child to worry about with regard to mood, comfort, potty, sleep and entertainment.  Chances are pretty good with two that you are going to spend a lot of time seeing to their needs.  This one is hungry, that one needs to pee.  That one is silly, this one is cranky.  This one wants to be held, that one has a boo boo.  And on and on.

All in all, one kid makes climbing a focus while two kids make climbing an afterthought – even when you’ve driven hours and hiked a few miles to get there.  Still, the benefit of having two kids along is clear. . . They play together, entertain one another, and spend all of their time figuring out fun things to do to make the excursion an adventure.

And, after all isn’t adventure much more fun with a partner?

New River Gorge with Kids

New River Gorge Climbing Trip We finally made our way back to the New River Gorge in West Virginia for a weekend of climbing.  It has been years (pre kids) since we had been to this area as it seemed to be a bit less kid friendly than other areas that we had been to.  Our app was showing predictions of snow on Friday night - and it wasn't far off.  The drive took us eons, especially in the Appalachians with the travel trailer.  We … [Read More...]

Hiking in a Creek

Have you ever started out on a day hike with children only to have it turn into something completely different that what you planned?  Ha. Of course you have. Many of our adventures start out as one thing ("I want to climb X route" or "sleep at X campground". . . "I want to relax in a tube on the water", or "I want to sleep in the sand") and end up as something completely different ("The route had a group staked out on it for the day" or "I couldn't … [Read More...]

Climbing Gym Etiquette With Kids

Tips for taking kids to the climbing gym. There are few things more troublesome than going to a new place and not knowing the spoken and unspoken rules.  Add to the uncertainty the presence of children, and it can be quite intimidating to enter into unknown territory.   For those new to indoor climbing and/or new to indoor climbing with kids, here are a few tips for bringing your kids to the gym. Those that know me will laugh at the irony. . . My … [Read More...]

Stand Up Paddleboarding

The best rock climbing areas tend to be located in or near wilderness, national parks, mountains, and forests.  There are exceptions, of course!  Still, when we took a family trip to the jersey shore this summer, there was no rock to be found.  As usual, my husband and I sought out something both "active" and "family friendly" to try with the kids. Surfing, Kite Surfing, Kayaking Ryan has wanted to try surfing for years, but that's a solo endeavor, as … [Read More...]

The Mount Rushmore Dilemma

Visiting Mount Rushmore with Kids Our summer trip to Wyoming and South Dakota was amazing.  We combined climbing with family time, history, geography, science and more.  When we planned the trip, climbing was the main focus, but hitting some of the National Parks and National Monuments were also a must.  Mount Rushmore is one of those locations that combines both.  There are amazing climbing opportunities in the shadow of the National Monument.  There are … [Read More...]

About Laura Boniello Miller

Laura Miller is a internet marketing professional and a mother of two. Her interests include sport climbing, bouldering, reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. She believes that playing outdoors is integral to health and well being, and that if your kids aren't dirty, they haven't had enough fun.


  1. kaztx says:

    You make some excellent points here but I think this probably changes with the age of the kids. When we've gone camping with both our girls (3 and 5) they've kept each other entertained whereas on the trip I just went on with only the 5-year-old she really needed some kid company. I think as they get older it will be better to go with two than with one. Their need for constant supervision and parental attention will decline but their need for the company of peer probably wont

  2. Totally agree! It's more fun for the kids and more enjoyable for the adults as well because of that. On our recent road trip we were able to stay with another only-child family, and it made all the difference in the world for all of us. Tigger can get a little whiny when we hike by ourselves, but when we're with another kid he can almost go forever.