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Spring is so close I can practically taste it. The days are getting longer, birds are chirping outside, and outside of my window, I can see little buds starting to form on the branches of our trees. The anticipation for a new season is always high in our home. Our kids are busy making up lists of things they want to do before summer hits and creating plans for fun outdoor adventures we can do as a family.
With every season comes the inevitable shift in our outdoor gear. Soon we’ll be packing up our winter coats, skis, and snowshoes and trading them in for bikes, hiking boots, and tents. along with that is the much-anticipated gear shopping that comes along with every seasonal change in our family. Inevitably, someone has outgrown their gear, or we realize that certain pieces of gear are simply too worn to last another season.
Here are some of our top favorite pieces of outdoor gear that will help your family to have an adventure-packed spring and beyond. As we’ve shared before, we truly believe that investing in good gear is important for families. Well, it’s easy to just see the bottom line, remember that good gear makes getting outside as a family even easier and that an investment in good equipment is often the difference between a day that ends in tears and one that ends with smiles and fantastic memories.
Note: This article is LONG, but packed with lots of amazing gear we just had to share. Make sure to read all the way to the end for 22 of our favorite pieces of adventure gear for families this spring.
Top outdoor gear picks for spring 2021:
- Top outdoor gear picks for spring 2021:
- Iksplor Kids Merino Wool Base Layers
- Merry People Bobbi Rain Boots
- Morrison Outdoor Baby and Toddler Sleeping Bag
- UST House Party 6-Person Tent
- Nui Organics Silk Merino Hoodie and Socks
- Tifosi Optics Sunglasses for Women and Kids
- Reima Kids Hiking Pants and Soft Shell Jacket
- Helmet Flair Magnetic Helmet Accessories
- Wolf And Grizzly Portable Campfire and Grill
- Espin Nesta Folding EBike
- TowWhee Bike Bungee
- Sabre Bear Spray and Practice Spray
- Stanley Insulated Camp Crock
- 57 Hours Local Adventure Guides
- Kids Ride Shotgun Bike Seat
- Cruisin’ + Campfires Activity Boxes
- Mozzie Style Jacket
- Kuoma Insulated Rubber Boots For Kids
- American Backcountry Adventure Destination Shirts
- Grizzly Certified Bear Proof Coolers
- RVezy RV Rentals
- Camping Activity Book For Kids
We are absolutely in love with Iksplor Merino wool base layers over at our house. You’ve heard us talk about them here and here, but the truth is but this is a base layer that gets worn year-round at our house. It’s soft and cozy and does a great job of keeping kids warm, but also helping regulate their body temperature and working away extra sweat. to say that these base layers have been a game-changer in our house might be an understatement. One of our kids has incredibly sensitive skin and is very sensitive to different textiles and textures, and these are the base layers that we found that work best for him.
Iksplor kids base layers are perfect for spring adventures because they will help keep your kids warm but help prevent them from overheating. To top it all off I love that they’re made by adventuring mom just like me who have included important features like thumb holes and the option to buy neck gaiters, hats, and even cozy blankets made of the same soft merino wool.
Save 20% off your Iksplor order with code bringthekids
What woman doesn’t love a new pair of great shoes to ring in a new season? Merry People rain boots are perfect for spring and that transition of the seasons it’s just ahead. I absolutely love that these boots are super fashionable and completely functional for an adventuring situation.
My number one requirement for any shoes that I own is that they’re versatile, and these completely fit the bill. I love that Merry People Boots are lined with neoprene so they’re super comfortable, warm, and easy to put on. They’re 100% waterproof so I can wear them out splashing in puddles with my kids, and then dress them up a bit for a date night with my husband. This is the kind of versatility I’ve always dreamed about in a shoe.
You absolutely have to hop over and look at all the different colors available there – I’m currently crushing on the beetroot and light pink combination but all the colors are dreamy!
The struggle to find a great sleeping bag for babies and toddlers is ever-present for parents of young kids. Honestly, there just aren’t very many great options out there that are safe for babies and toddlers to sleep in, and will keep them warm enough for a night of camping. I was beyond thrilled when I was introduced to Morrison Outdoor sleeping bags, the first outdoor sleeping bag I’ve ever seen that’s actually designed just with babies and toddlers in mind (instead of a smaller version of an adult sleeping bag).
Morrison Outdoor sleeping bags are a combination of a wearable sleep sack and a sleeping bag, designed to fit kids from 6 months through age 4. We just got one of those sleeping bags for my son who is turning four later this month, I fully anticipate he’ll be able to get at least another full year of use out of it, since there is plenty of room for him to grow (he’s slightly above average height).
The 40-degree sleeping bag for kids ages 2-4, has the option to let kids put their hands inside or outside, so older kids can still grab toys and play, but stay toasty at night. This is the perfect sleeping bag to keep young kids warm and safe while they’re sleeping on a camping trip. The foot box is wide enough that kids can walk around, and since the top fits very similarly to a puffy jacket, kids can easily wear it while sitting in a chair around the campfire, or to keep them warm while they eat breakfast on a chilly morning. The construction is high quality, and we’re so excited to test it out on our first camping trip next month.
Note: Last summer, these sleeping bags did sell out, so buy quickly!
Use Code 10BTK21 for 10% any order
What would spring be without a few camping trips on the calendar? The first camping trip of the season is always special, but this year, you can make it just a little more magical by upgrading your family tent to the UST House Party. For family camping, this tent is totally going to rock your world. It’s a freestanding tent, with walls that are expandable (making the walls nearly vertical), for maximum indoor tent space. If your kids are always running in and out of the tent (are any kids NOT doing that?), the extra-large doors on each end may literally save your sanity.
It’s also packed full of other features that I absolutely LOVE. First of all, it’s extra small and lightweight, with about the same packed dimensions as our 4-person backpacking tent, and it only weighs 13 pounds (by comparison, our other family tent weighs 26 pounds and is more than double the packed size). The poles are also color-coded, which is sure to eliminate some marital fighting over pole placement when you arrive at the campsite. I also love that the floor is double-layered, so there’s no need to add an extra footprint under the tent (I still can’t believe that it’s just 13 pounds). Finally, all you other boy moms can rejoice with me that they added extra ventilation on both the sides AND on the doors. Change up your camping game entirely with the UST House Party 6!
My kids always seem to wear the same few sets of clothing over and over again on repeat. Soft, comfortable fabrics and great designs, just like we found in the Nui Organics silk merino hoodie are exactly the things that they grab for as soon as they come out of the wash. The thumbholes and drawstring hood are sure to win your kids over, while you’ll be drooling over the silky soft material. I love putting my kids in merino like this in the spring and summer, because not only does it help regulate their body temperature, it’s naturally odor resistant – a big deal when you have 4 boys!
We’re also really loving Nui Organics Merino Wool Nature Socks. While it’s easy to remember to wear wool socks in the winter, they’re amazing for year round use. We always make sure that the kids all bring a pair camping with us, and they’re an absolute dream when paired with good hiking shoes. They keep kids feet warm even when they’re wet (which always seems to happen), and are perfect for longer distance hikes!
I started wearing Tifosi sunglasses back in 2015 when I was training for a half Ironman race. I wore those glasses for hours every day, for an entire year. I still have those same sunglasses and they’re in excellent condition. So when my son started to compete more in sports this year, it was a no-brainer that I’d get him Tifosi sunglasses for his biking and cross country races, just like I had. Not only do I love that they’re great quality, and will help his eyes while he’s competing, but I absolutely love how affordable they are (since I know at some point he’ll lose them). Tifosi has also expanded their line to feature not just sports glasses, but also some pretty stunning lifestyle glasses. I’m currently in love with the Swank since they have SO MANY different color options, and the scratch-proof lenses mean that I know they’ll last extra long. Make sure to check out their virtual try-on option, so you can know just how these glasses will look on you before you buy.
Reima is one of the most well-known names in kid’s outdoor gear worldwide, so it’s no surprise that they’re one of our top family gear picks for spring. Since we’re all about versatility and multi-use gear in our house, we’re looking to Reima for some great options. I absolutely love their kids hiking pants with zip-off legs (it’s so hard to find pants like this for kids). We love convertible pants like this for kids because it means that the kids can be ready for a few different types of weather in just one piece of clothing. My kids often wear zip-off pants in the morning, and then as they start moving and the temperatures heat up, they zip the legs off in the afternoon, turning them into shorts – perfect for our mountain weather!
Softshell jackets are also another one of my favorite pieces of gear for kids. They’re warm enough for cool days, resist dirt and water (yes, they work great in light rain), but they’re not super bulky. These Reima softshell jackets are amazing because, with 8 different color and pattern options, I can get all my kids the same jacket, without having them look the same.
Earlier this year, we moved to a new house, and my kids started biking to school. After a few days, I noticed that my daughter was hiding her helmet in the corner of the garage and riding to school without it. Anyone else have kids that are too cool to wear their helmets? Helmet Flair is here to change that. They’re here to make helmet wearing awesome, with their interchangeable helmet accessories. The accessories (horns, animal ears, and even unicorns) are attached by magnets to the helmet, so that they stay secure, but aren’t too difficult to swap out. Now, that same daughter has some “Flair” on her helmet, and she actually looks forward to wearing her helmet and showing off her new designs.
Currently, we’re using Helmet Flair on our ski helmets, and I’m happy to report that even after a few good crashes, the Flair stayed put, so we’re really impressed!
Tip: get a few different pairs for the family, so everyone can mix and match their designs for extra fun!
Campfires are one of our family’s favorite things about camping together. My kids request one multiple times a day, but truthfully, we haven’t always had one in the past because they take a while to build, and we don’t always have a fire pit where we camp. Well, Wolf and Grizzly solved all of those problems. This portable fire pit and grill take less than one minute to set up and get your fire going, which is so perfect when you have kids not so patiently waiting for a fire. I also love that since it folds down and weighs only 4 pounds, I can literally take it anywhere and have a fire even if there’s no fire ring nearby. It’s also designed to burn more efficiently, so you don’t need as much firewood which also really simplifies family camping trips!
Nothing says spring to me quite like family bike rides. Espin bikes new Nesta Folding Ebike is here to make those family bike rides even easier. This bike has fantastic technology to allow you to ride smoothly and effortlessly with its gradual power adjustment. If you’re coming up on a hill, or just need a boost of speed, the thumb throttle can easily give you a boost of power. With a range of up to 40 miles per battery charge, those longer bike rides that used to seem too difficult or out of your comfort level can finally be tackled this spring. The bike also comes with fat tires for an extra smooth ride that can handle a bit of light offroading. When it’s time to return home, simply fold up the bike for easy storage in a closet or corner of your garage!
When people ask me how we manage to mountain bike with our young kids, we instantly have to tell them about the TowWhee. It’s a ridiculously simple design that took mountain biking as a family from tearful to fun and exciting. The TowWhee is a large bungee strap that attaches between the child’s and adult’s bikes to help pull them. We use it to get our kids up hills, or when they’re completely exhausted and don’t think they can pedal home. We can hook it on in about 15 seconds, and it barely takes any effort to pull (unlike our bike trailer, which makes me feel like I’m pulling lead weights). Best of all, it helps our younger riders conserver their energy so they can focus on riding the trails, not just getting up the hill. Even though we haven’t used it for this, I know parents who also attach it to their child when going downhill, so they can help control their speed there as well.
It’s incredibly affordable, and one of the most effective training tools to get kids confident while biking, so start your biking season on the right foot and get a TowWhee.
Bear spray is an absolute must-have if you’re anywhere near bear country this year. In the spring and early summer, bears come out of hibernation and can be especially aggressive. I’ve been carrying Sabre bera spray for over a decade and it’s always my go-to choice for bear spray.
Did you know that even though many people carry bear spray, most of them don’t know how to use it? That’s why this set is your best bet. Not only does it come with our favorite bear spray (it’s really easy to use), but it also comes with a practice spray canister, that allows you to learn how to use bear spray correctly, without the risk. Anyone who’s carrying bear spray needs to get this set, so they can have the proper training so that they know how to properly deter a bear AND how not to injure yourself from a mis-spray. I’ve had some pretty close encounters with bears in the last several years and every time, I’m beyond grateful that I had my Sabre bear spray with me. We don’t let our younger kids carry bear spray, but Sabre also makes some great bear bells that are super easy to put on kid’s backpacks.
If you’ve been following us on social media, you know that we’re major fans of ski tailgating (especially this season). Thick, chunky soups are our go-to since they’re filling and warm us up from the inside out. The Stanley Adventure Stay Hot Camp Crock is the ultimate piece of cookware that you need to take your warm meal with you and eat later. With a 3 quart capacity, and a vacuum-sealed, leakproof lid, this camp crock is perfect for bringing your hot soups, pasta, meats, or just about anything that you want to eat warm later. The large size is perfect for feeding a crowd, and you’ll be an instant hit with a hot meal that’s already set to go on your next adventure.
When we’re camping, we often pull into our campsite late the first night and I know that this will be perfect for prepping dinner at home, tossing it in the Camp Crock, and then feeding a hot meal to the family as soon as the tent is set up. If you’re heading out alone, make sure to check out the Stanley Adventure All In One Food Jar.
Are you looking for a way to up your adventure game this year, but aren’t quite sure how to do it? You’re going to LOVE 57 hours then. 57 Hours is an adventure service that pairs you with local adventure guides all over the world. The service is designed to be your one-stop adventure planning guide so that you can go online, and quickly find an expert local guide, and book your trip. I can’t believe how brilliant this is!
Before, we would spend hours and hours researching local activities and guide services so that we could narrow down what we wanted to do. With 57 Hours, all we need to do it type in our location, and pick and choose which activities work best for our family. This way, you can stop planning and start DOING more adventures (which we all need, right?). All of their guides are trained and certified, so you don’t have to worry about a thing!
2 years ago, our family set a goal to get into mountain biking together. That’s a great plan until you consider that we had a 2-year-old at the tail end. After many failed attempts to get all of us on the trail together, we discovered Kids Ride Shotgun bike seats, and suddenly everything changed. Instead of our toddler screaming at me to slow down, and complaining that the ride was too bumpy, he was giggling the entire ride and talking my ear off.
Kids Ride Shotgun seats are absolutely perfect for mountain biking and allow kids ages 2-5 to ride on an adult bike and get an up-front view of what’s happening. Their ride is also much smoother than with other bike seats since the mountain position allows kids to take full advantage of the bike’s suspension for a more comfortable ride. If you love biking and have young kids, this is a must-have!
We’re always looking for fun ways to add variety and excitement to our family adventures, so we are so excited to have discovered Cruisin’ + Campfires road trip activities. Their road trip essentials really have something to keep every age group engaged, from the National Park playing cards for older kids, the Constellation Activity book, perfect for grade school ages, and the eco-friendly playdough is perfect for little ones! They also have fantastic camping boxes that include lots of easy-to-do crafts and activities that kids will love while camping.
While I do love almost everything about the change of the seasons, one thing that I don’t love is bug bites. Thankfully, Mozzie Style has put together a great solution with their mosquito and bug-blocking jacket. Designed to fit over your regular clothes so that you can enjoy the outdoors, without being covered in chemicals and smelling like Deep Woods bug repellant!
I’m not sure what it is about my kids, but if they see water, they absolutely must step in it. Thankfully, Kuoma insulated rubber boots not only keep their feet dry, but also warm (our spring here in the mountains can be pretty chilly). The rugged sole is great to help give kids more traction and make these a great boot choice for all your wet and muddy adventures. These high-quality boots are made in Finland and they’re perfect for kid’s springtime explorations.
I have a huge soft spot for outdoor gear that reminds me of places I love, so American Backcountry shirts immediately had my heart. Their shirts feature vintage designs from adventure destinations all over the United States. I’m a huge fan of their long sleeve shirts with a UPF 50 sun protection rating and a smooth microfiber material that’s perfect for wicking moisture away on warmer days.
If you haven’t invested in a really good cooler yet, this should be a top priority for you. Grizzly coolers are rotomolded coolers that have excellent ice retention, so your food can stay cold for several days. I’m also obsessed with the fact that Grizzly coolers are certified bearproof, so you don’t have to worry about a bear getting into your food while you’re out exploring this summer. If you’ve got a big family like mine, grab the Grizzly 60, or if it’s just a couple of you, I recommend the Grizzly 20.
Want to take an RV trip, without the hassle of owning your own RV? RVezy is the place to go. It’s a peer-to-peer RV rental platform, where you can simply rent out an RV to take on your trip (so basically like Airbnb, but for RV’s). I love that with RVezy, it’s really simple to search for the exact RV you want to rent, including motorized, towable, and even specific amenities. It’s also so much more affordable than renting an RV from an RV rental chain – I found several in our area that would fit our large family of 7 for under $100 per night.
If there’s one book that every outdoor-loving kid needs, it’s this book. Written by my friend Amelia from Tales of A Mountain Mama, this book is packed full of adventure ideas and projects that kids can do to help them love the outdoors. My boys love that it’s written right on their level (they’re 7 and 9) and that they can do most of the activities on their own without mom and dad helping (I love that too). I love all the survival skills that the book teaches, and they love that there are lots of great illustrations so it’s easy to understand and learn. This is the perfect book to grab and take with you on all your adventures, or to just read in a backyard hammock!
We hope that these gear suggestions help make your family adventures easier this spring, AND throughout the rest of the year. We think that all of these pieces will go a long way to helping make your family adventures easier and more comfortable! Happy exploring!