THE GREAT OUTDOORS — With gas prices on the rise, some families may be reconsidering their summer plans. After all, there are always plenty of amazing outdoor opportunities close to home.
Whether you’re planning a relaxing weekend in St. George, an afternoon at the lake or a multiday camping trip, it’s important for parents to pack the right gear for their children’s needs. Here’s a handful of products you might want to check out.
Kids can be creatures of habit, so the inevitable disruption that comes from a family road trip or a weekend campout can turn their sleep routine upside down. The "OK to Wake! clock" can help, allowing you to set the ideal wake-up time for your kids. In the morning, the clock glows green at the proper time and gives kids the proverbial “green light” to get up. Of course, whether or not they abide by the clock’s prompts varies.
The OK to Wake! clock is powered by four AA batteries and is small enough to fit in any backpack or bag. In addition to the wakeup light, it can also be used as a regular night light with the push of a button. It’s easy to program and can hopefully help improve everyone’s sleep.
The best clothes for kids provide all-around utility. They’re durable and easy to use. This hybrid of a one-piece swimsuit and rash guard fits the bill, as it offers coverage during long days of water activities and also provides UPF 40+ protection for their skin.
The zip front on this suit makes it easy for children to wear. And it’s made with 80 percent nylon and 20 percent spandex, which is really comfortable and durable. The only complaint is that the sizing runs a bit small, making it a bit tricky to get the perfect fit for your child.
When you’re doing outdoor activities with a family group, it can be tricky to keep track of everyone. One option can be two-way radios like these from Midland. The X-TALKER T71VP3 is known for extended battery life of up to 15 hours, which is better than a lot of other radios, which force you to recharge during the day.
The X-TALKER T71VP3 gives you a 38-mile range with 36 channels and 121 privacy codes. The sound is quite crisp and clear. There’s also Weather Scan technology with an NOAA Weather Alert feature, which can help you plan ahead and stay safe.
Included with this kit are the rechargeable battery packs, a desktop charger, an AC adaptor and a micro USB charging cable.
Most folks have camp chairs, but a rocker can be a really fun addition to the family campsite. For one thing, they’re great for parents trying to get little ones to fall asleep. And for everyone else, they’re just a pleasant way to relax in the outdoors.
The RoadTrip Rocker from GCI Outdoor is all about comfort. It’s got padded armrests, a mesh backrest and a spring action design that gives you a nice, smooth rocking action.
This is definitely a full-size chair, as the seat is about 20 inches off the ground and can accommodate up to 250 pounds. The powder-coated steel frame is sturdy enough for years of use. Of course, all this quality construction makes it pretty heavy (13 pounds), so the RoadTrip Rocker is best for car camping, picnics and things that aren’t too far from the parking lot.
Lots of space and easy to set up — Could there be a better combination for a family tent? The Shenanigan 5 offers this and more, making it perfect for backyard camping or jaunts up the canyon.
It starts with an ultra-simple setup that only uses one central pole. Once you’ve raised the roof and pegged out the base, the Shenanigan 5 is quite comfortable. On warm nights (this is definitely not a cold-weather tent), you can roll back the window flaps to let the breeze come through. There are also roof vents for optimal air flow.
With a peak height of 90 inches and ample floor space, this tent can handily accommodate multiple sleepers. The floor is welded polyethylene, while the canopy is made of polyester. It’s certainly not the most rugged tent, and heaven help it in a storm, but it’s absolutely perfect for summer outings.
Some of the world’s best hydration packs are actually made right here in Utah. Based in Logan, GEIGERRIG’s products are a favorite choice for military and tactical uses. Their most unique feature is the patented sprayer, which can be used for things like cleaning off a dirty plate after dinner.
The RIG 700M is a great way to help keep your family hydrated when you’re out and about. It gives you 700 cubic inches (hence, the name), outer pockets and the added bonus of external mole webbing so you can really load it up with gear.
The 70-ounce hydration engine is compatible with a filter, so you can get clean water anywhere you go. The pack is made with 1680D ballistic nylon, so it’ll survive the nicks and scrapes of rough terrain. And the ergonomic fit, Eco Rig back pads and Air Drive ventilation technology help ensure it doesn’t become too burdensome on longer treks.
If your family likes to bike on your adventures, the Burley Nomad could be a great way to tote your gear. It folds down small and weighs less than 15 pounds, so you can easily bring it with you. And it can handle up to 100 pounds of cargo, whether that’s camping equipment, beach gear, fishing tackle or food.
The Nomad comes mostly assembled in the box, so you can have it put together and on the road within minutes. It’s extremely well-balanced and the 16-inch spoked alloy wheels provide great stability. The 6061-T6 aluminum frame is solid as a rock, while not adding too much weight.
Inside the Nomad, you’ll find three large mesh pockets to keep thing organized. There are also six interior clips to secure your gear. Since family trips often seem to involve rain (regardless of time of year or forecast), it’s worth noting that the Nomad has a weatherproof cover that can keep your stuff safe and dry.
PRICE: Varies by retailer
Traveling with little ones often feels more and more ominous as the day goes on. After all, nighttime can be the witching hour, with kids waking up constantly and sleep becoming elusive for everyone.
The SENA aire is a great option for trips away from home because it has tons of small features that can add up to a better sleep. First off, this playard can be set up in a matter of seconds. It’s got excellent ventilation, helping kids stay more comfortable through the night. And the triple-layered mesh mattress is so soft that your kid won’t notice a big drop-off from their bed at home.
The SENA aire is quite rugged, with an aluminum zigzag frame that doesn’t add much weight. The skid-proof feet keep it stable and quiet. And when all is said and done, it packs up for storage in the included travel bag.
PRICE: Varies by retailer
Tandem strollers are often heavy and bulky, making it difficult to do something as basic as maneuver down a store aisle. Plus, you sometimes see tandems where the seating for one of the riders is essentially stuffed down in the bowels of the stroller, where they’ll most likely be miserable.
The Caboose S resolves many of these issues and stands out as one of the better options when you need something for multiple riders. It’s only 30 pounds, making it one of the lightest tandems on the market. And it’s designed for 17 different seating configurations, so you can easily choose the most comfortable solution for your kids. Plus, the all-wheel suspension and oversized tires give it a smooth ride even when you venture off the sidewalk.
The storage basket is big enough to hold a diaper bag and a bunch of other supplies (it can hold up to 25 pounds of cargo). And the canopy provides UPF 50 protection for your little ones. And when you’re ready to fold it up for storage and transport, the Caboose S is one of those awesome strollers that stands up on its own once it’s folded.