Recreation Gear Review: Kids Stuff

Now that the snow has melted in town and is receding in the mountains, it’s time to jump into summer activities like camping and biking. Children add an interesting dimension to playing outside, but having good gear helps.

My family—me, my husband, 2.5 year-old Anders and 10 month-old Finn—tested recreational gear that I thought would add ease our outdoor adventures. Read on to discover a few pieces of great gear.

Green River 6—Kelty
This is the ultimate family camping tent. We fit two adults, a child, a portable crib (with baby) and two big dogs in the 121 square feet. And it was comfortable. The tent is rated to sleep six adults. The vestibule is another 83 square feet and is perfect for setting up chairs to sit in the shade or storing gear. The screened-in vestibule has pull down shades so if you seal it up you are safe from bugs, rain or snow.

WTW (Water Tight Wall) construction keeps the doors and windows from leaking, even in driving rain. All exposed walls are constructed of coated fabrics with the seams shingled downward to shed water. Exposed windows and doors have wide flaps covering the edges so they cannot leak at the zipper even in high winds.

The Green River 6 has only four poles and clip-sleeve construction making it quick to set up and take down. Noiseless zipper pulls are lighter weight than standard zippers and they resist jingling when it’s windy, which is nice when you finally get your kids to sleep.
The internal storage pockets, mesh organizer walls and bookshelves keep everything tidy and right at arms reach when you need it.
www.kelty.com, $369.95

Kangaroo LTD—Wee Ride
Anders, two years old, talks constantly. It doesn’t matter where we are or what we are doing. When I rode my bike, pulling him behind in the bike trailer, I couldn’t hear what he was saying without turning around and swerving across the road. Then came the Kangaroo LTD.

This center-mounted child carrier sits in front of the rider. It’s easy to set up with the included mounting bar and doesn’t throw the bike off balance the way a rear seat can. The seat fits both my cruiser and my husband’s mountain bike. The LTD is the Cadillac of bike seats with its thick seat pad, back padding and padded five-point harness. The foot cups are adjustable to fit different-sized and growing kids.

My little one loves his new spot. Sitting in the front gives Anders a better view of the world around him, and I can hear what he has to say about it.

For kids ages 1 year and up; maximum capacity of 40 pounds.
www.weeride.com $99 (often available for $79)

Kangaroo Carrier

Kids’ Bridge—Ahnu
These cute kids’ shoes have soft suede uppers to provide comfort and durability. EVA cushioned sock liners provide flexibility and an arch cookie adds support. Most importantly, the shoes are comfortable and easy to run around in. The velcro strap allows for adjustability to help kids put on and take off their shoes by themselves. The Bridge comes in Castlerock grey, Smokey brown and Lavendar so they work for boys or girls.

Just as important as comfort and fit is the philosophy of the company. Ahnu is an active member of the Conservation Alliance. They contribute to community-based campaigns to protect threatened wild habitat, particularly where outdoor enthusiasts recreate. They utilize sustainable materials such as hemp and charred bamboo in their product line and a significant portion of Ahnu’s ownership is held in trust on behalf of outdoor and environmental nonprofits. Sizes 10-13, whole sizes 1-5
www.ahnufootwear.com, $49.95

Swiss Roadie Runner—PLIM from runbikes.com
Unlike a tricycle or bicycle, run bikes don’t have pedals. Kids sit on the seat, and with their feet on the ground, run Flintstone-style. Balance bikes, or run bikes, help kids develop balance and coordination needed to ride a bicycle.

The bike just looks cool since it is made out of birch wood. Anders likes pushing himself around on it, but for now it is more of a walk bike. Since the seat is adjustable, it will fit him for several years. I like that it is light, easy to carry around and even fits in the bag on the back of my stroller so we can take it to the park.

The Roadie Runner can be ridden indoors and out. Its foam handgrips and padded, water resistant seat enhance the comfort factor while your child learns what it takes to balance and coast. There are a lot of run bikes in both wood and metal.
www.runbike.com, $69.99

Montana Parent
June 09

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