As all parents know, one key to molding your kids into passionate hikers/campers/backpackers is to outfit them in good quality gear. If they're cold, wet, or overburndened, they'll balk at camping trips. But keeping a growing kid outfitted can be tough on the wallet. That's why our testers loved this well-priced Kelty bag, which is designed to expand a full 12 inches with a hidden zipper.
This means that if you buy one now for your five-year old (he'll have plenty of room to spare), he'll be able to use it till he's 12 or so (up to 5'4"). Then you can shrink it back down to give to his little brother or a cousin. It's a rugged mummy bag filled with Kelty's house-brand synthetic insulation. The cinchable hood has a pillow pocket on the back (nice touch!) and the girls' version has a fun furry collar. $69; 3 lbs. 9 oz.; kelty.com