Nov 17 2015

Great Outdoor Kid Gear

I receive a lot of messages from parents asking me what gear we use for Theo in the great outdoors to transport and entertain him, as well as keep him warm, dry and protected. I know that I could have benefited from having a concise list of some great, vetted items, and not just for kids too, like a sun or hiking hat – something that is necessary for sun protection for example. We relied mostly on our friends for suggestions, and were fortunate enough to receive a lot of these as hand-me-downs or gifts (bonus that these hold up extremely well). And while I can’t promise that this gear will work to prevent the inevitable meltdown at the crag or boulders, I can say that each one of these items has been useful when bringing Theo outside with us. Some of these are pricey, but we’ve found it was worth it to spend the extra money on a few good quality items that don’t wear out and work extremely well. If you’re looking to buy gear for the outdoors, Bass Pro Shops is definitely worth checking out, especially if you plan on using Raise discounts as well to make further savings on your purchases. Also, a happy, warm dry kid always is more pleasant out at the crag. I’ll write another more in depth post about clothing, but the ones below were our go to items. This list was what we used from infant to a year and a half. As he is gets older, I’m sure we’ll have yet another list 🙂 With the gift-giving season right around the corner as well, feel free to pass along this list to any family that might have a kiddo coming!

Ergo Baby Carrier
I cannot say enough good things about this carrier. We got it as a hand-me-down, and it’s easily the most useful thing I have to date. It’s lightweight, and has a pocket for a sun hat, a crammed up diaper, or your phone. It’s perfect for when they are teeny tiny and can’t hold up their own heads. And we still use it now. Seriously the best.

Exploring with Theo and the Ergo.

Exploring with Theo and the Ergo.

Osprey Poco Plus
When Theo got basic head control and was old enough to ride in the backpack, we bought one of these and it has been incredible. Our friends from Norway had one when they brought their two-year-old over to Yosemite, and since then it’s been on my radar. It has storage underneath and a little on the back. The best part is the sun shade and rain protector that goes over Theo, meaning that we can take him out when most sane parents would just stay inside! 🙂 Osprey has a few in the series, but the Plus seemed to be the best compromise for us. One of us carries Theo and all of his stuff, plus the water and food, while the other carries the climbing gear.

Hiking with the Poco Plus in Yosemite

Hiking with the Poco Plus in Yosemite

Outdoor Research Kids Helios Sun Hat
Babies need sun protection, especially California babies. After trying many different hats, we found this is the best one. It stays on, has an ample brim for tons of protection, and on top of all that, I think it’s pretty cute! Theo fit into this one for about 10 months, but he always has had a big head.

Theo and the amazing Helios hat

Theo and the amazing Helios hat

Climb On! Sunscreen
I’m one of those people, and moms, who doesn’t like to ingest or spread a lot of chemicals on my body. So, when it came to getting a sunscreen, I was baffled by how many sunscreens there are out there that claim to be safe and baby-friendly, but whose ingredients I didn’t recognize, let along be able to pronounce. Since Theo tends to eat anything and everything (including his own hands) I wanted to find something that was safe for him. This SPF is awesome and honestly safe for babies and adults alike. Just remember to re-apply and get enough on their skin.

Nosterbarn Wool Onesie

Once again, our Norwegian friends came through with this great suggestion and gift. I can’t believe more American companies don’t sell them. Simple and classic, wool comes through for being water-resistant and a great insulator. We had one for Theo on our trip to France last winter and he wore it almost everyday. They are a little pricey, but are super durable and you will be so psyched you had one. Much better than a down bunting when they are crawling – as the down one just tears. We also had hand me downs of two fleece buntings and by far and away the wool was our favorite. A bigger size is on my Christmas list for Theo for this year, as I know we’ll be in wet and cold environments.


Theo loving his Nosterbarn suit and booties in France

Carhartt Overalls

These are incredible, especially for the kiddos that love to crawl, scamper and romp through the forest and on the boulders. They are durable and hold up incredibly well to all the wear and tear kids put on clothes.

Theo rocking the overalls in Yosemite

Patagonia Capilene

Holy moly, you cannot have enough pairs of these! They are incredible. They size really quite big (Theo is still wearing his six-month size), but they are incredibly durable hold up well to a lot of wear and tear. Theo can be outside playing in the dirt, rocks and rivers of Yosemite all day, and he has yet to wear one out. Kids always get wet and it’s nice to know that they won’t freeze when they have this on. A must have. Definitely pricey, but we’ve found worth it.

Fitz and Theo modeling the Capilene :)

Fitz and Theo modeling the Capilene 🙂

Patagonia Nano Puff
Along with the Capilene, the Nano Puff is at the top of our list. I went back and forth between listing a bigger down jacket or the Nano Puff, but settled on this one. Theo gets things dirty and it’s nice to be able to toss something in with the normal wash and not have to use the special down soap. We do have a down jacket as well for the really cold days, but the Nano Puff is our go to for the majority of his time outside. (For tips on layering, Becca Caldwell wrote a really good blog about what they use as well.)

Exploring in Yosemite in his Smurf outfit :)

Exploring in Yosemite in his Smurf outfit 🙂

Patagonia Booties
Before Theo could walk we wanted to make sure that his feet were warm enough, so we coupled these Booties with Smartwool socks and we have never had a problem! On top of that they are incredibly hard for the kiddos to take off, so you can spend more time climbing and less time roaming around the forest looking for lost booties.

Smartwool Baby Socks
These socks will actually STAY ON your kids’ feet! They are warm, wool, and cute. If their feet get wet (which, don’t worry, they will) you can rest assured that they have these socks on. Honestly, the best socks.

Keen Sandals
Once Theo started walking we knew we had to get him some shoes. The Keens stay on their feet and are perfect shoes for romping around in the mountains. They have a few different versions, but we found that these ones are the best and stay on his feet as well. We are just sizing up now in order to accommodate having socks underneath for the colder weather.

Slabbing it out in his Keens

Slabbing it out in his Keens

These are perfect for the rain and the snow, and really cute to boot! Not the best for scrambling on boulders, but really good for keeping their feet warm and dry. We’ve found that puddles are the most exciting thing in the world for a toddler, and these Bogs make it so he can enjoy the puddles as long as his heart desires.

Product testing the Bogs.

Product testing the Bogs.

Osprey Jet Pack

Theo has finally reached an age where I can stuff a bunch of his stuff into his OWN pack. This has been great to put his trucks, snacks, a book and shovel into when we head outside all day. Pretty darn adorable too 🙂

Theo and his Jet pack

Theo and his Jet pack

Strider Bike

Theo just got his first Strider bike, and while we are still working on just walking with it, we’ve seen all the bigger kids loving theirs. Granted this is a piece of gear only good for appropriate places. We saw a lot of them in Fontainebleau and I can imagine places like the Gunks or other crags that have areas of flat paths would work well. It gives them a great way to get around and be entertained.


Theo learning the balance of his Strider bike.

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  • Tara Calloway


    Thank you so much for the suggestions! Just in time for the holidays too. We have been trying out our systems with our 6 month old and this definitely helps! Is there a way to have the links open up in a separate page?

    December 1, 2015 at 7:54 pm