The Best New Outdoor Gear for Kids
Equip the young ones for summer with these five items
The National Park Service centennial is the perfect opportunity to get out in the wild with young ones, especially since fourth graders and their families get in free through August. Help kids take on any terrain with gear that's safe and comfortable.
Hiking shoes with sticky, durable soles are crucial to children's safety during outdoor adventures. Parents and caregivers should consider investing in MERRELL's Capra Waterproof Boots, whose bottoms don't slack on traction. Their eye-catching design also keeps tiny toes dry—and smell-free. $70, merrell.com
Hand a knife to a kid? Yup, if that kid is nine or older and the knife is the LEATHERMAN Leap, which is equipped with 12 other handle-any-situation tools (blades are removable). Flip out a saw, a ruler, tweezers, wire cutters, screwdrivers, and more. Your young explorer will feel like Inspector Gadget, and you can rest easy knowing that safety locks keep smaller fingers out. The handle is configured so that the knife opens safely, away from hands. $50, leatherman.com
BLACK DIAMOND's First Strike Trekking Poles are perfect for day hiking, backpacking, mountain climbing, and snowshoeing. Adaptable for any season, these 13.9-ounce sticks are a favorite among kids and petite adults. An easy-to-use adjustment feature allows the poles to grow with their owner, from toddler to tween. They help small legs move faster and provide back and knee support, so little ones won't need to rest (or be carried) as much. $55, blackdiamondequipment.com
What kid doesn't want their electronics juiced up? BIOLITE's PowerLight Mini is more than just a flashlight—it also charges cellphones, tablets, and cameras, even in the backcountry. It provides 52 hours of light (choose between white lantern, red night vision, a red-and-white strobe, and the classic white point) and can be mounted on a bicycle. Our kid testers kept it in their pocket at all times, even when they weren't hiking. $45, bioliteenergy.com
With children's needs in mind, OSPREY redesigned its Ace backpack series to provide excellent cushioning and ventilation as well as an adjustable back panel and harness—both slide five inches up and down—to keep the weight close. The Ace 75 backpack, for ages 11 to 18, includes cool features like a rain cover, a fishing-rod loop, and a trekking-pole attachment. Its innovative LightWire frame allows a range of movement and can handle heavier loads. $180, ospreypacks.com