Tag Archives: kids outdoor gear reviews

Gear Review: L.L. Bean Puff-n-Stuff Jacket

April 7, 2014  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
L.L. Bean Puff-n-Stuff Jacket

L.L. Bean Puff-n-Stuff Jacket.

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)
llbean.com

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 →

Gear Review: REI Passage 40 Kids Backpack

August 6, 2013  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
REI Passage 40

REI Passage 40

Kids Backpack
REI Passage 40
$100, 40L/2,441 c.i., 3 lbs. 4 oz.
One size, adjustable to fit torsos 12 to 15 inches
rei.com

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 →

Gear Review: Julbo Rookie and Tina Kids Sunglasses

July 16, 2013  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , ,   |   4 Comments
Julbo Rookie sunglasses

Julbo Rookie sunglasses

Kids Sunglasses
Julbo Rookie (boys) and Tina (girls) sunglasses
$40-$55
Ages: Rookie, eight to 12; Tina, 10 to 15
julbousa.com

My kids spend a lot of time outdoors, regularly at higher elevations, where there’s less atmosphere protecting them from the sun’s UV rays. Just as much as I try to keep sunblock on them to protect their skin, I want them wearing good-quality sunglasses to protect their eyes from the damage that can result from long-term UV exposure. That’s why my 12-year-old son has worn the Rookie sunglasses, and my 10-year-old daughter the Tina, on hiking and backpacking trips from southern Utah to Idaho’s White Clouds Mountains, and will wear them on all of our family adventures until they’re big enough for high-quality adult sunglasses. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Patagonia Kids Down Sweater

April 18, 2013  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Patagonia Kids Down Sweater

Patagonia Kids Down Sweater

Kids Down Jacket
Patagonia Girls/Boys Down Sweater
$99, 10 oz. (girls medium)
Sizes: boys and girls XS (5-6) to XXL (16-18)
patagonia.com

The first indicator that this kids’ down jacket was a good pick: My 10-year-old daughter didn’t want to take it off, wearing it daily to school and even around the house. Your kid loves it—that’s a plus. I like it for the performance. She wore this puffy while car camping and backpacking in late March in Utah’s Capitol Reef National Park and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, when low temperatures ranged from the mid-teens to the 40s, as well as resort skiing (under a shell jacket) and to school on many winter and spring days. While camping, temps in the low 20s were at the jacket’s limit, although you could layer a light insulation piece under it. Continue reading →

Gear Review: REI Sahara Convertible Pants For Kids

March 27, 2013  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , ,   |   1 Comment
REI Sahara Convertible Pants boys

REI Sahara Convertible Pants boys

Kids Hiking Pants
REI Sahara Convertible Pants
$45, 9 oz. (boys medium)
Sizes: boys and girls XXS (4-5) to XL (18)
rei.com

We parents face a conundrum regarding kids’ gear and outdoor clothing: We want our kids to have the same high-quality stuff we have—it’s worth it to help them enjoy the experience—but, well, they do outgrow it fast. These zip-off hiking pants soften the financial pain of outfitting your children without sacrificing quality. Moderately priced, they are made with the same fabric and features (six pockets!) as the adult version, with the added value of an adjustable waistband to help keep your son or daughter from busting out of them sooner than you’re ready to lay down plastic for another pair. Continue reading →

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