Tag Archives: kids outdoor gear reviews

Gear Review: Salomon Synapse J Kids Hiking Shoes

May 9, 2014  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , ,   |   1 Comment
Salomon Synapse J

Salomon Synapse J

Kids Hiking Shoes
Salomon Synapse J
$75, 1 lb. 2 oz. (youth size 4.5)
Sizes: unisex kids 13 to youth 6
salomon.com

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 →

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 →

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