Our editors curated and personally tested some of the most exciting, innovative, stylish and just plain fun products that Summer 2017 has to offer. Here are our top picks for kids‘ gear.
Why we chose them: Patagonia is one those brands that you buy when you really want to treat yourself to some outdoor gear. Why should the gear you buy your kids be any different? We needed something that would keep our little toddlers legs safe from the elements while out on the trail, at the beach, or simply jamming through the farmers market.
Why we liked them: Because they did everything mentioned above, and more. They breathe so well that out little tyke never complained of overheating, 50+ UPF kept him from getting fried, and the doubled knees kept the pants from ripping after all the romping and rolling that our mighty grommet likes to do.
Tester Tip: Toss these on your toddler for every type of activity and weather you come across. Seriously. If you can get yourself to buy a handful of pairs, you’ll be set for the whole week.
Why we chose it: Camping season is in full effect. We needed something to keep our little one warm and happy for the whole trip.
Why we liked it: While designed to keep the kiddos warm even in freezing temperatures, we found that it was more than appropriate for our spring/summer Southern California weekend jaunts. And while it only comes in one size, the length is adjustable, so it can grow as quickly as your kids do. Not to mention it’s ever-so soft and snuggly.
Tester Tip: This will likely be the only sleeping bag youll need for your kid from toddler size until elementary school-age. Get one for each kid and simply get your camp on.
Why we chose it: Simply because it’s adorable. You can spot a Seea suit from a mile away, and not because they’re wild or flamboyant, but rather because of their modern-infused, old-style subtleties. Why wouldn’t we want our little grommettes outfitted with such style?
Why we liked it: Seea is one of those brands that you buy because of their unique style, and you fall in love with because of their quality. It covered our little darling quite well, kept her fair skin safe, and made her look too darn cute while romping around in the sand.
Tester Tip: Buy it a couple of sizes too big. These suits will last you forever (if you take care of them) so, unless you have a handful of smaller kids in line for this hand-me-down, you’ll likely be able to get a few seasons out of it before your baby girl outgrows it (just roll it up at the ankles).
Why we chose it: We wanted to get the grommet jamming in the cul-de-sac, but training wheels seemed so ’80s. We got wind of the Strider balance bike revolution and had to hop on board.
Why we liked it: With his feet placed firmly on the ground while seated, our toddler felt comfortable and stable right out of the gate. After a few days of watching his buddies flying down the sidewalk, he simply lifted his feet and eventually found his balance. While worried at first, we were beyond stoked to see our little guy cruising with both feet off the ground. This will bypass the whole training wheels phase, undoubtedly.
Tester Tip: Don’t force it. Let your toddler walk at a comfortable pace on the bike until they feel confident enough to coast on their own. It came quite naturally (and quickly) to our surprise.
Why we chose them: Our little dude needed something to keep his footsies safe from the cobblestone bottom of our local surf spot. Kids can be timid when they don’t feel protected, so a nice comfy bootie is a must, and Xcel makes some of the best we’ve seen.
Why we liked them: They were extremely easy to get on his feet. No fussing, no excessive stretching and pulling, just a smooth slip-on and we were good to hit the water. Not only did they allow our grom to romp around on the rocks with no worries, but they kept him warm (which is a deal-breaker, as anyone with small kids knows) and stoked all day long.
Tester Tip: Try to go against every inkling you have as a parent (buying a few sizes larger in order to maximize your window of usage), and simply buy the proper size for right now. You’ll want them to stay snug, not flop around, not fill with water, and certainly not get in the way of beach adventures.
Check out more gear reviews from the 2017 Summer Gear Guide: