How does taking a 16-day road trip with a baby sound to you? Tara Sliwkanich makes it sound like a whole lot of fun, mixed with hiking, biking, tenting, and of course, nursery rhymes on repeat!! Learn from one of KWE’s Explorer Families about how to make road tripping very do-able, and fun for the whole family!
Tara Sliwkanich, along with her spouse, Dustin, and their baby explorer, J, who will be 15-months soon, love to explore the trails, slopes, and the water around Alberta, especially around Edmonton, where they live. They love to hike, bike, stand-up paddle board, kayak, camp, downhill ski and cross-country ski as a family. Living in Edmonton means that they are 4 hours away from the mountains, so they have always loved road tripping, notably road tripping down the Oregon and California coasts in a rooftop tent for their honeymoon! Now, they are making their road trips more exciting with little J in tow!
Small adventures are big adventures for babies; Tara loves taking baby J along on any outdoor time.
Where Tara Road Tripped for 16 days near Alberta:
- Christina Lake
Tips for Planning a Road Trip:
- Make a skeleton plan, and then wing the rest
- Book as you go, so you can adjust as needed; allows flexibility to stay longer in certain areas if you’re having a great time!
- Trip pattern was – beach day, bike day, hike day
- Pack as much as you can the night before leaving
- When packing up camp site, pack while baby is “contained” in a seat or carrier
- Each day, plan ‘who is going to do what’ the following day, and what you’re going to make for meals
Tips for the Car:
- Time limit in car before breaks for baby is about 2-3 hours (or earlier, if baby wakes and needs a stretch!)
- When baby is awake, someone riding in the back with them is very handy
- Manage your expectations for the drive – take it in bits, do what you can, and sing all the songs!!
- Again, pack as much as you can in the car the night before
Tips for Tenting:
- Do a trial run of tenting with baby at home
- Recommends: KidCo PeaPod Travel Bed (Can also find at West Coast Kids, or possibly secondhand on Facebook Marketplace)
Tips for Biking:
- Recommends: Thule Chariot Sport 2, with infant sling (attaches to adult bike)
- Babies must wear a helmet (even in chariot and sling), so baby should be over 1-year-old, have strong neck strength, and be able to sit up unassisted
- Again, practice close to home!
- Biking App: Trailforks
Tips for Hiking:
- Choose not too challenging of hikes with big pay offs, like ones with amazing views
- Hiking App: AllTrails
Tips for Food While Travelling:
- Pre-plan meals, so you can have some groceries ready
- Make what food you can ahead of time
- Some food ideas they had for baby J: Iron-rich muffins, bread or wraps with hummus, tofu with spices, kiwi, bananas, berries, and nursing (mama’s milk!)
Tara is on KWE’s Inclusion Committee. She continually tries to learn from the lived experiences of BIPOC and LBGTQ+ communities in the outdoors. She encourages others to learn how to act in allyship when they are in the outdoors, so that it can be a safe space for all who are out exploring. Let’s use our privilege to break down barriers and welcome more people into the outdoors!
iLids – lids that fit on mason jars, to turn them into cups with straws or for storage (BPA-free)
Book: Braiding Sweetgrass [Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teach