Voksi had a chat with nature enthusiastic toddler parents Hilde and Jo Hoff Nordskar about outdoor experiences with young children, sleeping bags, finding the motivation to leaving the comfort of your own home… and the importance of candy. Get inspired by the family behind the Instagram account @firepahjul.
– Who do we meet in the @firepahjul account?
– You meet two sometimes tired toddler parents that say “yes” to what life have to offer a bit to often. Both work in the outdoor sports industry and are enthusiastic about health and high pulse. At @firepahjul you also meet Maximillian (1 1/2 years old) and Isabella (almost five years old). They are happy to join us in pulks or sleeping bags as long as there is candy close by. A few years ago, we chose to settle in Harestua, Norway, a little closer to both the forest and grandparents, hoping for better odds of snow in winter.
– What is essential for you to communicate through @firepahjul?
– We believe many people want to spend more time outside in nature. In a busy toddler period, it can be extra demanding to do so. It’s the same for us. From visioning to accomplishing, the threshold can be very high. So we want to inspire people to pass that threshold by creating small everyday adventures in their local area and by using our beautiful country for slightly bigger adventures during the holidays. Ideally in a tent… That’s totally free.
– What is your best advice for getting over this threshold? And last but not least … What does it take to say “no, today we are definitely staying indoors”?
– We also have days where it can be challenging getting outside, and many of the attempts end up on the couch. The weather can be miserable, and the mood low. The most important thing then is not to give up. Some of the methods we use are to convince ourselves that this will be a nice experience, at least refreshing. Most people smile when they return home after a walk, even if the trip itself was without sun, song and laughter.
– As an adult, you need to know that it is okay to struggle a bit occasionally. We have both competed as athletes for many years, and that teaches you, among other things, that patience and hard work win over luck in the long run. And you rarely are lucky with weather, kids, mood and similar all at once. That’s why we think you should give the outside a try. And if you decide to give it a try, you are already pulling out equipment and dressing the children in the hallway.
– Also, talk about going for hikes well in advance. Include the kids and tell them that “in two days we’re going to sleep in a hammock – won’t that be fun?”. Let them be part of the decision process and tell them what to expect. If you have been on an enjoyable excursion before, the memories awaken good feelings in both adults and children. Lower your ambitions and start with experiences close to home. We slept under the open sky in a hammock the other day. We walked 150 meters over the ice with the car parked so we could see it on the other side. That kind of experience gives us memories and experiences just as strong as if we had gone deep into the woods.
– What do outdoor experiences in nature give you as both family and individuals?
– The weekdays are about practical tasks that most people recognize. There is not always time for a joint dinner. Nature and hikes create the foundation for good conversations and shared experiences with the children. Explore. Be curious. Be present. The outdoors makes things simpler. The focus becomes more apparent.
– What is the most important thing to bring with you when going on nature hikes in winter with children?
– A really warm and sturdy sleeping bag is the most important thing and plays a vital role in creating enjoyable experiences outside in the wintertime. We’ve heard of several people being frightened the first time around due to a poor sleeping bag or sleeping pad. Then it’s not very tempting to do it over again. The second most important is at least two sleeping pads between yourself and the ground. The frozen ground can rob you of a good nights sleep, even with a good bag. Prioritize large backpacks for parents, use a pulk for packing if you can, and bring a few extra sheepskins, blankets or similar for cold nights.
– How did you discover Voksi?
– When we had our first child, the search for great outdoor products began. We wanted to continue to be outdoors a lot, both for hikes and workouts. Children are no obstacle. The Urban bag from Voksi was the “best in test” so we decided to buy it. It has warmed our young adventurers for over five years now, still in use. When we eventually needed a bag for Maximillian, Voksi had introduced the Active. That one fits our use even better.
– What should you look for when choosing a sleeping bag for active days hiking?
– The first thing to do is to evaluate your needs. The bag that suits others may not be suitable for your use. When we dress for winter, we use an inner layer of wool and an outer layer of down. How we see it, that it is also the best strategy for protecting a child in a sleeping bag. It is also important that the outer fabric is repellent against wind and water. It can also be relevant where the zippers are located.
– What do you as a family get out of the Active bag?
– It is essential to be able to rely on our equipment. It makes us feel safe. The Active bag is made of wool and down, so we are always confident that the children are comfortable and warm. We like the front zipper and the soft fleece material on the inside. The front pockets are handy to keep track of equipment when outside.