Gone are the days of cheapo gear for kids. A new wave of hand-me-down worthy apparel, packs, footwear, and accessories means that your tot can enjoy the same comfort as you. Start ’em off right with these 15 great gifts.
Buff Junior Knitted and Polar Hat — $26
This beanie’s soft, fleecy interior and knit exterior combine to keep little heads warm by the fire. Bright colors and a poofy pom should keep kids smiling as well.
adidas AX2R Mid CP K Kids Hiking Shoe — $85
These waterproof hiking shoes are as cool as basketball high-tops, a bonus for kids who might be wary of trail fashion. The rubber outsole and multidirectional lugs should help keep unsteady hikers on their feet as well.
BOGS B-Moc Winter Boots — $65
These boots are fur-lined and waterproof, making great for kids who love to dive into every snowbank and slush puddle. BOGS rates these boots to -22°F, and one parent even got an adult pair after seeing how well they worked on her little ones.
Osprey HydraJet 15 — $70
This little backpack is ready for big adventures, with a mesh backpanel that keeps sweaty backs in check, cushy shoulder straps, and a hip belt and sternum strap that rival adult packs in comfortably adjusting fit. Comes with a 1.5-liter reservoir.
Outside Inside Backpack Silicone Chess — $32
Staving off boredom at camp is a necessity with kids, and this compact set rolls up small enough to bring on the trail. The silicone board resists grime and washes easily.
Nite Ize NiteGem LED Luminary — $11
This fully waterproof light changes colors, disco-style, and floats to illuminate the contents of your car-camping cooler. Kids (and parents) will think it’s a groovy addition to their backpacking kit.
Adventure Medical Kit Mountain Series Hiker Kit — $25
All the medical supplies you need to fix booboos are in this nifty kit that fits in the palm of your hand. We love that the interior is organized and clearly labeled by need (i.e. “Medication” and “Stop Bleeding Fast”), so older kids can use it as well.
The North Face Campshire Pullover Hoodie — $99
This 300-weight fleece is supersoft both inside and out, and heavy enough for chilly nights in camp. Plus, kids will get a kick out of looking like a big stuffed animal.
Kelty Journey PerfectFIT Child Carrier — $200
This carrier’s impressive fit system easily adjusts to short and long torsos alike, and the suspension system is a back-saver on longer hikes. That, plus ample storage for snacks, sippy cups, and other stuff kids need makes the Journey fantastic value buy.
Burley We! Ski Kit — $199
Parents with backcountry skiing aspirations but kids too young to skin will love this kit that converts the Burley Bike Chariot into ski mode. Out petite mom tester was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to pull along her kiddos, who weigh a collective 70 pounds, with the waist harness system.
Smartwool Kids Striped Hike Medium Crew Socks — $13
“They’re really cozy and fury,” reports one little tester. The merino wool, nylon, and elastane blend helps these medium-weight socks regulate temperature while maintaining their shape, and the flat knit keeps blister potential to a minimum.
Nemo Wagontop 6P — $649
If you’re looking for the ultimate basecamp tent for a spacious night’s sleep, search no further than the Wagontop 6P. During a test in a windy hailstorm this was only tent left standing. A nylon partition zips down allowing you to create a separate “front porch” area to store your mountain of kid’s gear.
CLIF Fruit Smoothie Filled Energy Bar — $2
Coaxing kids to go further on a hike can be dependent on snacking rewards (call them bribes, if you will), and our little testers love these sweet bars. Bonus: Parents love the organic and non-GMO ingredients.
Outdoor Research Toddler Adrenaline Mitts — $30
Getting mittens on tiny hands can often feel a lot like catching a greased pig, but not with the Adrenaline Mitts. Thanks to their oversized zipper, little ones can easily slide their fingers into the mittens and secure them snuggly with a simple tug.
Patagonia Tres 3-in-1 Parka — $249
The Tres stands up to snow, rain, and cold, meaning it’s the only jacket you’ll need for your kids all winter long. The windproof shell is treated with DWR and is filled with 600-fill recycled down, making it the most functional kid’s jacket we’ve seen.
Louisa Albanese contributed to this article.