Tag Archives: kids outdoor gear reviews
Osprey Zip 25
$60, 25L/1,526 c.i., 1 lb. 8 oz.
One size, not adjustable (fits children age 8 to 13)
For my family’s seven-day, hut-to-hut trek through Italy’s Dolomite Mountains, I wanted a daypack for my 13-year-old son that’s comfortable, has the capacity and good organization for his water, clothes, and personal items, and that’s streamlined and stable so it wouldn’t encumber him too much. So I had him test-drive a Zip 25. Continue reading →
Vasque Breeze 2.0
$80, 1 lb. 10 oz. (youth 6)
Sizes: kids 10-13, youth 1-6
Finding boots for kids that not only look like adult boots, but are also really built like high-quality adults boots, can be like looking for an honest man in our nation’s capitol. So I was especially pleased with how well the kids’ Breeze 2.0 performed when my 13-year-old son wore them for more than a week of trekking hut to hut through Italy’s rugged Dolomite Mountains, encountering a full range of conditions: rain, mud, puddles, and snow. Continue reading →
Kids Hiking Shoes
Salomon Synapse J
$75, 1 lb. 2 oz. (youth size 4.5)
Sizes: unisex kids 13 to youth 6
If there’s a dayhike that will beat up a flimsy pair of kids hiking shoes, it’s going up and down Mount St. Helens, a 10-mile, 4,500-vertical-foot slog over sharp-edged, volcanic rocks and highly abrasive, fine-grained pumice. But my 13-year-old son wore the Synapse J on that big day, and on dayhikes at Mount Rainier National Park, Arches and Canyonlands national parks, Idaho’s City of Rocks National Reserve, and elsewhere. He’s also worn them to school and playing outside for most of the past year, and these low-cut hiking shoes not only have the support and protection for a hike as hard as St. Helens, but they’re still going strong. Continue reading →
Kids Puffy Jacket
L.L. Bean Puff-n-Stuff Jacket
$59, 13.5 oz. (boys large/14-16)
Sizes: boys’ and girls’ S-XL (8-18), little boys’ and girls’ S-L (4-7)
From wearing it as a layering piece under a shell when skiing, to backpacking in late March in Utah’s Canyonlands National Park when the temperature dropped below freezing, to innumerable school days, my son has worn this hooded, insulated jacket so much it has hardly seen a hanger (partly because he doesn’t appear to know how to use a hanger). When buying outdoor apparel for kids, you sometimes have to choose between high quality and affordability. I’m a believer that, like adults, kids enjoy the outdoors more when they’re comfortable—but it’s hard pulling the trigger on an expensive item, given how few seasons a kid wears something before outgrowing it. At 59 bucks, the Puff-n-Stuff Jacket is a steal. Continue reading →
REI Passage 40
$100, 40L/2,441 c.i., 3 lbs. 4 oz.
One size, adjustable to fit torsos 12 to 15 inches
What should you look for in a backpack for a young kid? For starters, a good fit, with a wide range of adjustability to accommodate growth. But also quality construction that ensures the pack will be comfortable for your son or daughter and durable—because it will assuredly be treated roughly. Lastly, a set of features designed with a kid’s preferences in mind. REI’s Passage 40 measures up well by those standards.
My 12-year-old son hauled this pack on a couple of trips this summer (with another coming up): a three-day, roughly 26-mile hike into the Big Boulder Lakes basin of Idaho’s White Clouds Mountains—with a significant amount of off-trail hiking—and a five-day, 36-mile loop in Washington’s Glacier Peak Wilderness. As a kid who has accumulated a respectable quiver of packs in his short hiking career, he reported that the Passage 40 felt good even on days up to 10 miles long. Continue reading →