Our ground is still covered in snow. It is still winter. But, maybe not for long…. People are obviously starting to think spring, which really surprises me. And then I remember it is March. It’s supposed to start to warm up right about now (depending on where you are.)
However, we aren’t giving up yet and are determined to still have our snow fun, even if I am dreaming about days that don’t require 30 minutes of getting gear on.
I couldn’t wait to show you three different products that we LOVE to help get kids/families outdoors in the winter AND summer. So, even if you are starting to think spring, don’t count these out!
Tube in a Box
There is really nothing better than using tubes to sled. The bummer is that most of the vinyl ones around don’t last very long. In fact, our local sledding hill is littered with popped ones that the kids still insist on keeping and riding down the hill…flat. Enter Tube in a Box (think those big black tire tubes you always see on the hills and are jealous of.) They are super durable, last forever, can definitely hold more than one person (depending on the tube) and make going off the inevitable jump a much more pleasant experience.
We had the chance to review their full line (listed below.) The large tube (45″) easily holds an adult and two young kids, and J (at almost 4) still fits (though has to hold his feet up) on the small one – 32″ inches. The small is definitely JUST for kids and really just one kid, but great for keeping the line-up moving on the hill. However, our kids (and all the rest in the neighborhood) tended to prefer the larger tube just because it is fun to go down with company. While I certainly wouldn’t recommend doing it with heavier loads, our two littles ones barely fit in the “hole” of the tube together and their heads just peek over the edge. They love it!
Products Available from Tube in a Box:
- Small tube $26.00 *120 pound limit*
- Small tube Winter Tube Jacket $54.21
- Large Tube $34.99 *280 pound limit*
- Large Tube Winter Tube Jacket $72.99
- Tube Bag $9.99
- GotAir Pump (sold at Amazon)
What we love:
- Very durable
- Makes sledding super fun
- The Large tube fits numerous family members; the small is perfect for kids who love to tube alone (and much easier for them to carry on their own.)
- The pump is incredibly quick and works off a cigarette lighter in your car (so tubes are ready where ever you drive to!) **GREAT thing just to have for so much more than just tubing!**
- Great for “spring” conditions when the snow is really packed and the hills really fast.
- The “creativity” is endless: Make a train; pile as many people as you can (within the weight limits); “surf” on your hands and knees; spin them; go off jumps, etc.
- They can be deflated and stored in a tube bag when not in use so they don’t take up very much room in storage (which is a big deal for those of us limited on space!)
What we aren’t so crazy about:
- This is totally our mistake, but we blew up the smaller tube too much (in an effort to make sure it adequately filled its 32″ cover.) Now, the valve is completely lost in the folds of the tube and we can’t even get to it to deflate it. We were sort of hoping it would deflate a bit on its own, but I think we are out of luck. Guess we learned our lesson… We’re still hoping the changing temperatures will help us out a bit…
- Tubes in general can be a little more bulky to carry that other sleds (but we think it is totally worth it.)
- They aren’t cheap. BUT, they can totally be used year round (think floating rivers/lakes/down waterfalls in the summer) and hold up. You are going to spend that much money in the vinyl ones that pop in just one season.
Some great tips from Tube in a Box:
1. Tubes not inflated inside of a tire have no PSI measurement; however, using a tape measure, you’ll know you’ve inflated the tube to its full potential based on your purchase size. So keep filling tube until you get to 32″/45″ inches across or if it’s firm to the touch, it’s probably full.
2. Winter tubing is best on snow packed surfaces. Imagine trying to sled on a foot of new powder, it’s not happening, not on a sled, toboggan or tube.
3. Having trouble making it down a hill? Is your tube fully inflated? Is the snow packed well? Are you using the correct size for you weight?? If the answer is yes, then try a little car/ski wax or cooking oil on the bottom of the tube.
4. As with anything new, including skis, some items need time to get “seasoned”, but before you know it, you will be the envy of the hill!
We want you to have the best tubing experience, if you don’t, please contact us prior to leaving unfavorable feedback so we can try everything in our power to make it right. Thanks so much! Happy tubing!
Bottom Line: Absolutely worth your money. Fun, fun, fun!
Definitely Wear your (Nutcase Little Nutty Snow/Bike) Helmet
I had no idea something like this even existed – that you could get one helmet for your child and have it work all year long. We’re pretty psyched about the Little Nutty Snow and Bike Helmet. Certified for use with all winter sports AND biking, this may be the best $80 you spend on a helmet for your kid. Each helmet comes with interchangeable fleece liners and removable ear pads for snow and foam pads for cycling. The only thing we found that was a little annoying were the ear pads would slip down a bit on their ears. Otherwise, the helmet is GREAT. It also has a magnetic closure much like the Lazer helmets we reviewed last summer which means super easy on and off (that even kids can do.) Finally, the helmet is available in a bunch of different designs (we reviewed “Winter Wonderland”).
**We strictly enforce helmets around here for skiing, sledding and biking.**
Strider + Skis
We have been a HUGE fan of Strider for years now. While J actually didn’t learn to ride a balance bike on one (he has a Haro that we bought before we learned about Strider), we think they are some of the very best out there. They JUST came out with their new ST-4 model with the following upgrades (list taken direction from the Strider site):
- Sealed Cartridge Bearings are replacing the former cup and cone bearings previously found on the ST-2 and ST-3 models. The new sealed cartridge bearings roll smoothly and are maintenance- free for years of STRIDER riding.
- A New Tire Tread Pattern makes its debut this year. The tread is placed closer together for low rolling resistance on hard surfaces, while still providing multiple knobs for all terrain grip improving STRIDER bike handling and stability.
- A new Powder Coat Finish replaces last year’s baked enamel paint. The new coating is longer lasting and provides a more durable finish.
- Black electrodeposited paint on the ST-4 seat post adds scratch resistance, and the Quick Release clamps are finished with black anodization. Both enhance the sleek STRIDER look and uniform design.
- New graphics make their debut on the 2013 footrest and handlebar pad, complementing the racing style of the STRIDER ST-4 bike.
- Softer durometer grips for more comfortable feel on toddlers’ little hands.
- New Packaging – introducing the 2013 STRIDER brand and trade dress, created to match the clean and simple, updated STRIDER product design. This consistent packaging “look” will convey to the customer that they are buying a Genuine Strider product.
We love that the bike can be adjusted to fit both P (who is just starting to take some steps on it) AND J (who has been riding a balance bike for 2+ years now.) It’s incredibly well-made and one thing that I honestly think every toddler should have. Definitely a well-spent $109. Actually, we aren’t the only ones. **In case you missed it, Jen and Randy Charrette are using the donations made out to their son, Axel, they lost last month to help get kids on bikes that wouldn’t otherwise be able to. Strider is a key-player in the efforts and all donations will be well-used. Interested in donating? Find more information in our Tribute post from earlier this week. We will share more details of the program as we learn them.**
Even cooler with skis…
Now you can get a Snow Strider Ski Accessory kit for your Strider that allows kids to ride in the snow. At $29.99, it’s a fun way to get kids outside in the winter. While pushing the bike around with skis on isn’t nearly as easy as the wheels turning, the kids love it. J (who is an expert at balancing on the bikes) loves to ride down the sledding hill on the bike, which is where the skis shine best.
What we love about them:
- Super light and small (so easy to store)
- They hold up to a lot of abuse
- Open up a world of bike riding in the winter
What we aren’t so crazy about:
- Because they are strapped on the wheels, it does take a little time to get them on. They don’t just snap on and off quickly. While we have transitioned from bike to skis and back, it certainly isn’t quick.
Bottom Line: Yep, these skis are COOL!
Strider Bikes, Nutcase and Tube in a Box generously provided us 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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