Nothing creates a lifetime of memories like the simple pleasure of roasting marshmallows over an open fire or poking a stick in the mud to see what’s beneath all that gooey goodness.
Just because you’re ‘roughing it’ doesn’t mean you need to go without creature comforts. Our top picks for the gadgets that make the great outdoors a little easier to bear (pun intended)!
Top 10 Gadgets to Gear Up for the Great Outdoors
#1: Safety First – If hiking conjures up visions of your toddler teetering off the edge of a cliff, get LittleLife Toddler Run-About Daypack. It’s just big enough to fit a few kid hiking essentials, but more importantly, it includes a detachable safety strap and top grab handle for those times when the trail gets a little rough.
#2: Fun with Food – Half the fun of camping and backpacking is eating out of weird and wonderful containers. Our favorites for fun with food are the pint-size Spork (spoon + fork = spork) from Light My Fire and the Squishy Bowl by Guyot Designs (doesn’t the name say it all?).
#3: Sun Safety – Fun in the sun isn’t fun without sun safety! That’s why we love the NoZone sun protective clothing – because no matter what you are doing, they’ve got you covered (literally)! For sun hats, our vote goes to Outdoor Research because their lightweight designs offer SPF 30 and are suitable for water sports.
#4: Camp Comfort – The hit of the camping party is always (hands-down), the hammock! Depending on your comfort level preferences, hammock choices range from lightweight nylon to traditional cottage woven rope styles.
#5: Stay Hydrated – One of the biggest risks when playing outside in the summer is dehydration. That’s why our must-haves include hydration systems! We love the Camelbak Mini MULE hydration backpack for the sheer novelty that has kids sipping all day and the Platypus Plus Bottle for converting any backpack into a hydration backpack. Warning: stay close to bathrooms until the kids get the hang of taking a break from sipping!
#6: Futuristic Flashlights – Imagine how much fun you would have had as a kid with a flashlight that attached to your head. Yeah, exactly. Middle of the night trips to the outhouse aren’t so bad with one of these little gizmos. Our favorite is Petzl Tikkina 2 because it comes in a rainbow of colors and it’s super simple to use!
#7: Posh Pillows – If you have a car and are going car camping, just bring your own pillow, but if you are stuffing it in a backpack and trekking anywhere, you may want to pack this little treat along (for the kids, of course)! Thermarest Compressible Pillow…ahh….backpacking bliss.
#8: Just in Case of Rain – Because rain happens (even when the weatherman says there’s no chance). We recommend the Columbia Sportswear Rainy Day Poncho because it’s easy to slip on over anything (including a backpack)!
#9: Daypacks and Backpacks – If your idea of fun is heading off into the wilderness with nothing but a pack on your back, check out the Osprey line of backpacks for kids. What we like about them is that they aren’t just scaled-down versions of adult packs, but backpacks that are specifically designed for kids (and to grow with kids).
#10: Snacks and Pocket Food – Let’s face it – if it can survive in your pocket, chances are it contains something you don’t really want to feed your kids. That’s why our top pick goes to Kettle Valley Fruit Snacks because they are 100% real fruit!