As much as I know it can be hard to swallow because of how fast they grow, kids do benefit from proper hiking gear just like adults. Here’s a list of some of our favorites that we have used and loved this summer. Many of these links are affiliates. Thank you so much for clicking through them to purchase. They simply help offset the cost (time and energy) of running this blog in a very (VERY) small way. We appreciate it!
As always, we want to know YOUR top gear picks too. Feel free to comment on this post with them!
Sometimes I just get TIRED of having to douse my kids in sunscreen (and so do they.) This summer we decided to go ahead and buy some long-sleeve hiking shirts to keep both the sun and the bugs at bay. My boys wear them hiking, biking, playing in the river and everything in between. I will be buying them a second (or third) one for next summer since we use them so often. The sleeves can be fastened in the rolled-up position, so they are easy to buy big and grow into them.
New for this fall, the Pagosa Lows are perfect for some hardcore kid adventures. They have been mountain biking, hiking, bouldering, hiking some more and around the block again and again and again. They are a little stiffer because they are hiking shoes, but therefore add the perfect amount of support for playing in the mountains. Their aggressive traction means no slipping on the trail, rocks or the playground. They are also easy to get on thanks to their toggle-pull lacing system (three cheers for kids getting their OWN shoes on!) These breathe a bit better than the Altitude boots above because of a breathable membrane (while still keeping feet dry.) They also come in a “high” version and are available in three different colors.
Also available at Amazon
Columbia Kids’ Bora Bora Jr. hat $30
I am a stickler about hats living at a high altitude. The air is thinner and the sun is intense. We’ve been strict about them from the beginning (just like helmets) so the kids don’t put up TOO much of a fight usually. However, this year J was embarrassed by the hat he had and wanted something different. We agreed on the Bora Bora (me to buy it, him to wear it) and we’ve both been impressed. It has a cinch on it that keeps it on even in the wind (and means no annoying chin strap) and keeps him covered and cool (another pet peeve for the kids – hot heads!) If you have a kid that doesn’t like that chin strap, this is one to look into. It fits kids ~ age 3-7?? (that’s an educated guess.)
**Note, the Fossil color doesn’t actually have an orange band like the photo shows.**
Available at Amazon
Sunday Afternoons Fun Bucket Hat $25
We’ve had this hat for 3 years now and it was passed down to P after J grew out of it this year (he has a big head.) We highly recommend any and all Sunday Afternoon hats, and this one is no exception. The chin strap connects with an easy-for-little-fingers clip (instead of velcro), it is lightweight, protects from the sun and dries quickly. It comes in sizes for a better fit and a bunch of colors. Great, great hat!
Available at Amazon
REI Sahara Convertible Pants (for the whole family at REI):
I don’t know why it is SO hard to find hiking pants for little kids (these are available in sizes 12 month – 4 T), but not too many companies make them. Hopefully in the near future more will. But these zip-offs from REI are used on a daily basis around here (either in the pants or shorts form). They are light and breathable, have a cinch-up waist for growing kids (or parents who buy big so they can grow into them) and wash fairly well. The zip-off legs are color coded which makes putting them on and off so much easier. The Sahara also comes in a toddler girl pant, but it is a roll-up instead of a convertible. Personally, I’ll be just be buying the “boy” pant for my daughter so she can convert hers too. Another hiking staple in our home and yet another item that comes in kid AND adult sizes.
Deuter Kids’ Packs:
We love Deuter packs for kids because they fit little bodies, have a sternum strap to keep them on, are full of pockets for little treasures and are comfortable. Ours will be passed down again and again. They are built incredibly well and withstand the abuse of some serious trail (and school) time. The Kikki ($45) is our current favorite. It fits even a 2 year old, but the 5 year old can use it too (though he has lately been opting for a larger one they don’t make anymore.) The smaller side pockets are perfect for small rocks or sunscreen and it just FITS well.
Available at Amazon
Per our request, Hi-Tec, KEEN and Deuter generously provided some of this gear in order to facilitate this review. However, as always, the opinions expressed here are completely and honestly our own. You can find my full disclosure here.
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