Ditch the Hassle of Car Seats

Ditch the car seats?

What?!?!? Did I seriously just say that?? I tend to be Miss Safety, but seriously this product is changing how we do car safety around here, especially for traveling. Because it is SO much easier than hauling car seats.

This past December we traveled with 5 kids aged 8 and under to Alaska to visit my family. That’s 4 kids in 5-point harnesses. I don’t care how pro of a parent you may think you are, that’s a LOT of car seats to lug through four airports (we go with the cheap seats, folks!) I was scrambling to find a way to get us all safely and sanely there.

I consulted my friend (and expert), Sarah at Alaska Baby Rentals (THE best as far as testing and knowing their gear) and was told about the Ride Safer Travel Vest, a booster replacement for kids aged 3+ and weighing 30-80 pounds.

The vest meets or exceeds all Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, is simple to use after a slight learning curve, is comfortable for the kids AND fits in a carry-on.

How Does it Work?

This was my first question, of course. Basically boosters are there to get kids higher so the seat belt hits them in the correct spot on their body. The vest just brings that seatbelt down to THEM and gets it in the correct spot.

The child puts the vest on (it does not need to fit tight like a 5-point harness), and then attaches the seat belt to it once they are in the car.

Ditch the Hassle of Car Seats Ditch the Hassle of Car Seats Ditch the Hassle of Car Seats

Ditch the Hassle of Car Seats

The vest comes in two different sizes, small and large. Both my boys are wearing a size large. J (almost 9) is about to max out the vest and P (age 6) has it cinched down as far as it will go. P is also wearing the optional crotch strap that helps keep it in place a bit better, especially for the littler ones.

Ditch the Hassle of Car Seats

Things to Know:

  • You’ll notice in the photos there is some gap at their shoulders. This is totally fine and doesn’t compromise their safety.
  • The vest itself doesn’t need to be super tight to be effective either. For a while J was velcroing his tight, and when he would sit down it would become uncomfortable. A little loosening totally fixed the problem.
  • To open the clasp at the front of the vest, if you squeeze it together, it brings the rings together and releases the hold on the belt. This video is helpful.
  • The bottom part of the vest should sit flat on their lap.
  • You can also leave the vest attached to the seatbelt and have the kid unbuckle and leave it in the car. This is slightly faster once they master it.

What we love:

  • Very easy to use
  • Comfortable for the kids when fitted properly
  • Very portable and easy to stuff in a bag for travel
  • Safe
  • Great for carpool/switching between many vehicles
  • A perfect second seat for much cheaper than most car seats
  • Helps fit three kids across safely in any car
  • Tether option available

What we aren’t so crazy about:

  • If the waist belt is velcroed too tight (which actually isn’t necessary to be safe), it’s uncomfortable for the kids since it pushes on their belly.
  • The buckles are made so they are hard for a kid to undo if you have one that would try to get out of it….and take a little bit to figure out for parents too!

Bottom Line:

Honestly, if I can keep my kid in a 5 point harness, I’ll do so until they just don’t fit it anymore. So, for my younger ones, this is a travel-only solution. However, for my oldest son who is too big for most boosters to fit him comfortably, but still isn’t quite in the perfect position for the seatbelt, this Ride Safer Travel Vest is a game-changer!

The vest is also perfect for people trying to fit three kids across in a car, especially helpful for rental cars when you really don’t know what you’re going to get!

Buy it on Amazon for $145 (affiliate link)

You can also buy it directly from their site!

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Ditch the Hassle of Car Seats

Safe Ride 4 Kids generously provided us this gear in order to facilitate this review.  However, as always, the opinions expressed here are completely and honestly our own. A few of these  links are affiliates.  Thank you so much for clicking through them to make your purchases – it helps offset the cost of this blog in a (VERY VERY) small way!

© 2018, Tales of a Mountain Mama. All rights reserved. Republication, in part or entirety, requires a link back to this original post and permission from the author.

Favorite Gear to Straddle the Seasons for Women

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but people are starting to make a bit of a switch to spring, at least in the gear world. Everything winter is on sale (so stock up, people!) and advertisements for spring are in full swing.

Yet, as I wade through sub zero temperatures and a couple feet of snow, I refuse to be fooled: It is still absolutely winter here in the west!

That said, spring comes suddenly after we are stuck for a while in a world oscillating between the seasons.

This round-up is my favorites to help that time of transition. Not quite winter (ha), not quite spring. Note: some of these links are affiliates. If you love what you see here, thanks for clicking through them to purchase. It helps us out a tiny bit and doesn’t cost you a dime.

Favorite Gear to Straddle the Seasons for Women


  1. Skhoop Skirt: My husband still makes a little fun of me for skiing in my skirt, but I seriously use it as an extra layer for almost everything I do in cold weather. Over the past month, I have worn in downhill skiing, XC skiing, walking, hiking, sledding and around my house when I didn’t want to turn up the heat. I love the look of it and the fact that my legs and bum are just warmer. Note: most of their skirts have no stretch, so I recommend sizing up for layering under!Favorite Gear to Straddle the Seasons for Women
  2. Hydroflask Oasis: This one is so great because it works for keeping food and drink hot OR cold (hence it easily straddles those seasons!) Think cold lemonade or ice cream in the summer, hot chocolate and soup in the winter. It has a dual-action lid for access to food or pouring liquids. Plus, available in 64 and 128 oz. sizes with an easy-carry handle so big enough to share!Favorite Gear to Straddle the Seasons for Women
  3. Nuu-Muu Dress: The ultimate in a layering dress, this one works for running, skiing, hiking, biking, etc. You can add as many layers as you need under and over it, and take them off when it warms up. Plus the dress is wicking and moves with you. I always size up in Nuu-Muu for added length and so it’s a little less fitted.Favorite Gear to Straddle the Seasons for Women
  4. Columbia Might Lite Mittens: I wear these mittens every single day. They are usually warm enough for what I need, but wick really well for walks in cold weather too. The Omni-Heat dots really do work to keep my hands warm. Best part? They’re light and supple enough for a full range in movement in a mitten. AND they keep the water and wind out!Favorite Gear to Straddle the Seasons for Women
  5. Sauce Ventilator Headband: I wear one of these constantly. So much more versatile for me than a hat and looks cute too. This one is wide enough to cover my ears, stays on perfectly well and has held up now to years of use. Of all the ones I have tried over the years, this one is my favorite.Favorite Gear to Straddle the Seasons for Women
  6. Toad & Co.Wildwood Sherpa Hoody: I wasn’t sure what to think of this one when I first got it, but it’s another that I wear every single day. Chalk it up to being a part of my “Adventure Mom Uniform”. It’s thick and super warm….a good alternative to a full-blown jacket on warmer days. It runs big enough to layer under, without looking frumpy. It’s a tiny bit on the “feels like wool” side, so I usually wear long sleeves under it, but seems to get better with wear! This has replaced all my other hoodies.Favorite Gear to Straddle the Seasons for Women
  7. Columbia Bangor Omni-Heat Michelin Boot: I tried a bunch of different boots this winter, but these are my go-to for warmth, and grip on ice (both of which are super important to me!) They’re the ones I wear when I know it’s going to be icy. I am not usually a “fur girl”, but the tops on these do keep the warmth in. The lacing means a perfect fit and ability to walk miles and miles in them (which I do!)Favorite Gear to Straddle the Seasons for Women
  8. Voormi Long Sleeve Merino Tech Tee (available at Garage Grown Gear): I’m all about the tech gear that actually looks good and can be layered up to go between seasons. This one is super soft and durable. Plus merino naturally protects you from UV rays, is anti-microbial and keeps you warm in winter and cool in the summer. It’s Merino magic 😉Favorite Gear to Straddle the Seasons for Women
  9. Calypso Wrap (available at Garage Grown Gear): A wrap skirt (fits sizes 2-14) with a wind-blocking fleece liner. It comes in three fun designs/colors and is a great layer for those of us that think leggings are not pants. Plus, perfect for peeling of snowpants after a ski and wearing something more comfortable for dinner.Favorite Gear to Straddle the Seasons for Women
  10. Big Agnes Willow Hooded Pullover: This one is SO cozy and perfect for layering or wearing on it’s own in a little warmer weather. I love the stretch of the sides for movement and the hood for when a storm kicks up. Plus it’s insulated with PrimaLoft Gold active stretch insulation so truly allows you to move when you need to! It’s my go-to for XC skiing.Favorite Gear to Straddle the Seasons for Women
  11. Haiku Repast Lunch Tote: Think picnics, solo lunches in the mountains, or a bite at the ski lodge. This lunch tote is fully lined and insulated and it’s Haiku…which means it will last forever 🙂 Not into bringing your lunch? It fits a 6-pack of whatever you want too…Favorite Gear to Straddle the Seasons for Women
  12. Mountain Khakis Ooo La La Vest: True to its name, this vest is SO cozy and light. It’s my preference when it warms up enough to ditch the jacket. I’ve also worn it under my shell for skiing often. Zippered pockets and a flattering shape!Favorite Gear to Straddle the Seasons for Women
  13. Liquid Hardware Insulated Coffee (etc.) Mugs and Sidewinder Water bottles: Keeps beverages hot or cold, guaranteed leak-proof and their magnetic lid sets them apart (so you never lose it!) Plus, I just love that melted earth design on the coffee mug and bison on the water bottle. Also available at Amazon.Favorite Gear to Straddle the Seasons for Women
  14. Smartwool PhD Socks: Warm, cute and functional for skiing, skirt-wearing, and yurt camping! Smartwool’s PhD line is my favorite for a great fit and comfort.Favorite Gear to Straddle the Seasons for Women
  15. Sunday Afternoons Northern Lights Trucker: I love this print so much. Throw a headband over it when you need to keep your ears warm, or wear on it’s own when the sun comes out! I get compliments on mine every single time I wear it. Their whole artist series is gorgeous!Favorite Gear to Straddle the Seasons for Women
  16. Toad & Co. Versatrail Tights: These are so great because they are durable (thanks to a woven panel on legs and bum), don’t chafe at all and are super stretchy and comfortable. They even have a zippered pocket at the thigh. Only downside? No waistband string to keep them in place just a little better.Favorite Gear to Straddle the Seasons for Women

© 2018, Tales of a Mountain Mama. All rights reserved. Republication, in part or entirety, requires a link back to this original post and permission from the author.

Live Wide Open: Finding Peace with the Process of Chronic Disease *Guest Post*

**Today I am so pleased to welcome Becky, whom I have had the pleasure of working with as a Deuter Ambassador for the past few years. Besides a Deuter ninja, she also happens to be a pretty amazing woman….despite her intense struggles. Please welcome her warmly!** 

Live Wide Open: Finding Peace with the Process of Chronic Disease *Guest Post*

I didn’t talk about it much for the longest time. 

For the past 9 years, I’ve battled the downs and unknowns of chronic disease. I have Sjogren’s Syndrome, Hasimoto’s Disease, and Biotoxin illness due to mold. The latter, most likely the cause of the others. For the most part I look fine, but the pages of my story scribe joint pain, eye infections, face rashes, weight gain, and exercise problems due to lack of oxygenation. Not to mention the emotional taunts of guilt, inferiority, and shame. I always felt that if I just exercised more or ate better, I’d feel better and look better. I was afraid deep down that this is 35…fat and slow. And while that holds some bits of truth, the problem was so much deeper than that. My doctors are still working on it and so the saga has continued on for years. 

I’ve always approached my health journey as a balance between accountability and acceptance. There are things that pose constant choice at every meal, every hour I stay late in the office, every time I go to put on my running shoes and want so badly to put them back on the shelf. And then there are things I can’t control like genetics, autoimmune confusion that for unknown reasons has gone haywire, and symptoms that creep in, in whichever sideways times and ways they want. But like most things in life, accountability and acceptance are two things worth keeping on an even teeter.


I didn’t talk about it much because I was afraid. 


I was afraid of the belief that sick meant being weird and gross. I was afraid of the judgement of not being strong enough, not able enough, not fit enough, not something enough. I was afraid of not being scheduled for work shifts or not invited to adventure with friends. I was afraid of what social media would do to my image as a badass woman in the wild. 


But, now I know better.


I understand the importance of being completely honest about who I am, because I’ve realized the value in the whole me; the whole struggling, imperfect, beautiful me. I’ve learned to appreciate the experiences that completely crumble me and help me rebuild a slightly better version of myself. 

My adventures have become much more micro these days. Bagging peaks and spending long days on the mountain bike are few and far between. I’ve come to accept that I have a new threshold and it’s not anywhere near the athlete I once was. And I’m learning to find peace with that through this slow and hard process of rebuilding. 

So, with chronic positivity, I truck on with resilience and strength as we uncover new potential ways to crack my case and find remission. In the meantime, I’m chronically able to overcome. I’m chronically able to endure. To progress. To Inspire others who may not feel at their peak either. To chronically love myself even when I’m not at mine. This rocky road has taught me a few things about the long haul and sheesh, I’m so chronically thankful for that.


Now I feel confident talking about it, everyone can know. 


It’s better this way. I’m thankful to continue my journey of healing with less fear, more sharing, and a greater spray of positivity. I am still a badass woman in the wild and no disease, ever, will take that from me. So, I live wide open with chronic gratitude… and as much strength and peace as I can muster on every given day.


Becky is an explorer, creator, do-er, and inspirer. She attributes her love of wilderness to her early days of playing in the forests of New Jersey with her family. Since then, she ventured on to Colorado for school, guided all across the West, rode her bicycle across America, and continues to find as many personal-growth opportunities as possible. She’s currently the Marketing Manager for Deuter backpacks: combining her love of gear, the outdoors, and human connection. She’s a strong believer in creating the life we each dream of.

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Live Wide Open: Finding Peace with the Process of Chronic Disease *Guest Post*

© 2018, Tales of a Mountain Mama. All rights reserved. Republication, in part or entirety, requires a link back to this original post and permission from the author.

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