/ 11 year olds carrying exped packs
Sounds like an epic in the making.
I've not taken folk that young out overnight but have taken them up plenty of (wee) hills at work. Pre-teens tend to moan a bit less than teenagers and I've found that by the time they complain they really are broken. If you've got loads of big folk to share the weight I'd probably divvy it all up at the start to minimise blisters, demoralisation etc.
You could quite possibly end up having to split the group, with the worst case scenario of the wee ones turning back with competent adults.
The company who organised this could be setting them up to fail. On the other hand they could be little tigers and go on forever. Hard to say without meeting them.
Rather you than me though.
The problem I see is that if they are over loaded, you could end up putting them off for life.
Is it a possibility to get some one to provide some support with a van, moving the heaviest stuff - tents, matts, water etc so the kids still have to carry stuff, but aren't so overburdened that you end up with exhausted kids?
They'll certainly need smaller (not just lighter) rucksacks, and you'll need to plan escape routes and the possibility of adults having to escort them back to a road-head.
Sounds like a tough one, as others have said fitness/toughness of kids that age is hugely variable. But it doesn't sound like massive mileage, assuming you're not planning on bagging hills en-route?
I have experience of 14 year olds and wild camping and you have to be very strict on weight even at that age and the physical difference between 11 and 14 is huge, as is the variability of the kids. Some 11 year olds just won't be strong enough to carry that weight.
The problem is exacerbated because young kids don't tend to have expensive kit, so it's all heavier than yours too. On occasion, I've swapped my bag for the smallest member of the group or put lots of heavy, team gear in my bag, leaving them with lighter bags but retaining an expedition feel.
At that age I'd certainly think twice about 3 days and I'd consider transporting the tents/fuel by car. I'd also impose a weight limit on the bags (10kg absolute max inc water) and I'd have check them for fit and weight at least two weeks before to give them a chance to change things. You don't want them miserable. Miserable children walk even slower. If it's wet, shorten your days, rain saps the moral from kids faster than it gets them wet.
And carry chocolate.
Doesn't sound remotely practical to me, frankly.
That's rather a committing route with no easy opt outs. It might work better to do a short walk in to a base camp and then do a couple of walks with day packs from there?
I dont know the area but 11 year olds on expedition will need careful looking after, we work with many 13 year olds doing their bronze d of e and even at that age it is a shock having to do everything for themselves.
The best way to manage it sounds like splitting group gear amongst the adults/others and just getting the young ones to carry their own food/clothes. That should give them enough weight to not feel they are missing out.
i think a lot of it will depend on background/experience - if they are fit or not or used to walking.
Does sound like you could have an interesting few days :)
13 year olds tend to be a lot bigger than 11 year olds and even if not much taller, stronger. It would be a concern for me.
Don't be afraid to ask what sort you are getting - and have contingency plans to cope with a wide range of scenarios. Don't underestimate the drag of an under-fit adult being dragged along with a super fit child.
Bargin on their keeping packs light, carrying extra warm / dry clothes, doing the donkey work at camp and feeding frequently - NB this last point regardless of the toughness of the child an under-powered one is always hard work.
Find the biggest guy in the group , and put the guy with size 2 feet in his rucksack (he will never notice :)
Seriously. Sounds like, you will have to spread the wee guys share of the kit amongst the others.
Stupid question, but i'm pretty sure my self inflating sleeping mat is not only lighter than crappy foam ones but smaller to pack as well.
Oh no! And they won't have all the latest £300 Arc'teryx coats, La Sportiva Nepal boots or even the obligatory Haglofs trousers!
Bloody plebs... don't know how they'll possibly manage.
> Oh no! And they won't have all the latest £300 Arc'teryx coats, La Sportiva Nepal boots or even the obligatory Haglofs trousers!
> Bloody plebs... don't know how they'll possibly manage.
I think the point is that they're more likely to break and leak?
I'll never forget seeing a bunch of young mixed teenagers on a D of E trip coming off Lose Hill in the rain in cheap lilac waterproofs, kit hanging and banging off the huge backpacks. Wasn't encouraging. They all looked thoroughly pissed off.
Yes people may think they're more likely to break, but in my experience this is not the case.
As others have said it depends on the 11 yr olds. When one of my daughters was 11 I took her on a 2 day trip over the Carneds. However, she is built like a stick insect, so the only thing she carried was her sleeping bag, mat and some spare clothing. The first day was up from the A5 via the reservoir road and camping on Llewellyn. Day two was continuing along the ridge and down Pen yr Ole Wen. For her that was hard enough to be OK, but not so hard that she felt she couldn't cope. She definitely wouldn't have coped with a full three day exped.
Taking one 11 year old is completely different from taking a group, with one you can take a lot of the weight and pay a lot more attention to how they are coping.
Don't knock it - at this time of year most of us freelancers would kill for some last-minute bookings!
If you absolutely have to take them on a 3 day exped. can you cache some kit at strategic points? food/tentage/fuel etc.
Also how many adults are going? If you're on your own with 12 under 14's I'd say call it off or call in some favours.
I have a trainee with me and 2 youth leadery types, so we have go adults to share the load, and I have a revised shortened route, so hopefully will be fine
I'm sure you'll be fine if you have plenty of contingencies and everyone understands the need to work together and for flexibility. You just don't know what's coming, in terms of weather and their performance, but such is the joy of our profession!
I have experience of sending 11 year olds on two day expeditions with kit through scouts.We limit the load they carry at max 7kg for 11 - 12.5 years old. So they generally carry everything except the tent. I have had some very small 11 yearold girls/lads complete this in low level country ( edge of Peaks) very succesfully.They cook everything themsleves, put up tents, navigate etc in pairs.Done it forabout 4 years at this time of the year.We encourage them to get below 7Kg and it is possible.
So yes its feasiable provided you use common sense on the weight.
And use rucksacks that are actually designed for little people.
yes. also depending on the time of the year those small childrens sleeping bags are okish, about half the size of normal ones. As long as they have that silver foil stuff as well, then they are usually ok.
My concern is that they might manage 1 day, but 3 in a row might be too much.
Your route only takes a few hours on a bike and is on good paths all the way, so it won't exactly be a death march if done over 3 days.
Do Scouts not start at 11? I was certainly a Scout when in P7 and we did half the West Highland Way over 5 days while carrying cotton Force 10s, I was older then but the youngest in the party was probably 11 or maybe 12 and they coped.
> Yes people may think they're more likely to break, but in my experience this is not the case.
If they get leant against in a rucsac side pocket the lids pop open. If they get dropped the lids break off.
I tell my scouts to use 1 litre fizzy drink (coke) bottles - free, lightweight and more than tough enough. It doesn't take long to lose a litre of water through a faulty fliplid. Oh, camelbaks & dromedary bags are no good either, they either leak in the bag due to bad packing or lack of tightening the openings; or the lads drink the contents too quickly without realising 'cos they can't see them.
> The problem I see is that if they are over loaded, you could end up putting them off for life.
I agree. I did the South Downs Way with my two sons when they were 9 and 11. They only carried their own sleeping bags, karimats, waterproofs and water - about 15 lb each, and that was enough, particularly for the younger one. I carried my own gear plus the tent, cooking stuff and food - about 40 lb.
We were self supporting, and did 80 miles in 4 days which was great considering their ages. They were pretty tired but enjoyed it and both went on to doing serious long distance back packing as adults, including taking their old dad on the Fish River Canyon a few years ago, but I'm glad that I didn't overload or push them too hard risking putting them off for life.
From what I remember of DofE and Scout expeditions, they shouldn't be carrying more than 25% of their own bodyweight.
If they are over that, you'll need to make provision for either sharing out their kit among the stronger ones, or transporting the heavier items, like tents, for them.
And from what I remember from actually picking up DofE kids rucsacs, they're usually a whole lot more ;-)
But yes, well worth making efforts to reduce what they have to carry as far as possible. If it's only short distances, and there are enough competent adults, there's always the possibility of an adult doing an extra trip to ferry 3 tents to the next campsite or similar.
Exactly. My appreciation of light gear stems from all the misery of overloaded DofE expeditions.
Also my dislike of Trangia stoves
Hi, Let me start by saying I don't have an in depth of experience in taking out young groups in the UK.
Now in answer to your original question it seems your only worry is you have had at short notice some extra dimension added to your trip that could potentially upset your plans. Remember you made your plan on the original info you were given, so the ball is in your court when the client/group wants to change it! Perhaps a group meet at their expense in advance of the exped would give you a chance to gauge their abilities, try and let it be on the premiss that all are included and the plan goes ahead, despite what other comments people have suggested, you won't know the group until you meet them, or even until the end of the 3 days for that matter. if this is not possible perhaps technology, Skype video chat etc. The most important thing is that you establish yourself as the boss/leader and for you to know, Are They All a TEAM at the beginning and do they all want to be on the trip? If they are all a team including the young ones then you don't have a problem, as the stronger ones can be made to feel important by looking after the weaker ones. If they're all a bunch of couch potato individuals (unlikely) then you're well within your rights to change the plan, even exclude those who you feel unable to benefit from this trip.
You know sometimes you may be surprised, it may well be that those young ones are actually the one that make the trip a success. To summarize, speak too at least the youngers ones and make your thoughts known to the group organisers from the start. Only after that will you have the necessary info to plan accordingly
The 6-8kg limit seems sensible, with tents and stoves (for example) transported separately.. no-one should carry more than 1/3rd of their bodyweight because it may cause structural damage.
As has been alluded to, Scouts are a bit different because they do these sorts of activities all the time, but DofE is more in line with what you're suggesting and that doesn't start covering 3 day trips until participants are 15 - much bigger than typical 11 year olds.
You should also factor in a good number of water re-fill stops if they're carrying under 2 litres.
If kids aren't used to weight or this type of activity, then they won't cope.
Light training with packs in familiar terrain is a good idea before the trip, to build fitness and confidence. After one recent trip, one of the participants that struggled has been training with a rucksack full of bricks wrapped in towels, dropped by her parents in random places and told to walk home in time for dinner. It's map-reading training too.
Even if you obey the 1/3rd rule, you can still get issues - I recently had a participant (a ballet dancer, student, who is a very slight - 37kg - but unusually strong girl) aged 17 unable to cope with a 12kg bag after 2 days hillwalking in which her group covered around 10 miles. So always best to be safe than sorry.
Err on the side of caution and you'll be fine!
I'll echo what others have said about kids at 11 being very different to each other.
I started taking each of mine into the hills "proper" at about 6 (the age they each did Scafell Pike for the first time). By 11 they were all doing long wild-camping weekend trips with me, usually in mountainous terrain.
I did keep their personal loads down to 6-8 kg in total, by carrying everything but their sleeping bags, waterproofs, food and water myself, which was a heavy load for me with tent and overnight food.
I do remember carrying heavy loads with crap rucksacks at about that age in scouts, but I do also remember several friends at the time straining and injuring themselve....I think we know a bit more about the mechanics of growing bodies now than we did 50 years ago, so no need to repeat the mistakes of the past on an "it were good enough for me when I were a kid" basis.
But as you're aware of the situation now, you can plan for it, check the youngest's loads, be ruthless about knocking back unnecessary items and distribute necessary heavies amongst the others/ yourself.
I've taken the odd group of youngsters out myself, and I do recommend a FULL kit inspection....I've seen 12 year old girls with full makeup bags in their rucksacks....not to mention 2-3 pairs of "smart" trousers and tops for a wild camp weekend!
Yes, they still carried 2kg :)
Sorry, I say 'you' I guess I'm talking to the OP
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