It can be a struggle to maintain an adventurous, healthy, and fit lifestyle once kids enter the picture. Suddenly, it’s less time on the trails with your buddies and more time tip-toeing around the house after 7 p.m. Here at The Cheat Sheet, we value the importance of getting out there and continuing to live a fulfilling lifestyle. Gone are the days of societal norms in the traditional sense – no more settling down in the suburbs right after starting a family. We’ve rounded up a list of some of our favorite gear essentials – from creature comforts on road trips to portable party supplies that can withstand the elements – that will make traveling and adventuring with the kids in tow a breeze for the entire family.
1. Kelty Pathfinder 3.0
If you’re considering taking your little ones hiking, your palms are also probably starting to sweat thinking about possible challenges along the way. For outdoorsmen who like to go hard on the trail, a pack that will outlast a tired kiddo is imperative. Kelty’s Pathfinder 3.0 child carrier keeps your little one safe and your back happy. A 5-point adjustable child harness that locks kids in place and a quick-adjust suspension system that enables you to distribute weight evenly help make this pack such a great product. Added features include a sun hood, zip-off day pack, and a hydration-ready compartment.
2. LifeProof Frē Phone Case
This bomber case will keep your electronics safe and sound without having to forfeit the convenience of bringing your phone along on the adventure. Available for iPhones, iPads, Samsung mobile phones, and GALAXY tablets, LifeProof cases are super tough and a necessity for anyone who has kids and wants to maintain an active lifestyle. For even more dependability, try the LifeProof Frē Power, the waterproof battery charging case for the iPhone 6. LifeProof cases are submersible to 6.6 feet for one hour, sealed from dirt and dust, closed to snow and ice, and can survive drops from 6.6 feet.
3. 4-in-1 Light & Power Bank by Secur Products
This multi-purpose light will come in handy when you’re out in the wilderness. Allowing kids the ability to go out and explore, the SP-1100 lets parents rest easy, knowing the product serves as a flashlight, lantern, emergency light, and power bank all in one. When it’s time to come back home, there’s plenty of battery left for charging devices – which will only be used after you’ve left camp, of course!
4. Ridekick Power Trailer
An electric bike trailer, the Ridekick Power Trailer offers parents with little ones extra space and an added boost. If you’re cycling with a child on a bike seat or long-tail, stash the diaper bag, snacks, extra layers, and whatever else you may need to transport in the Ridekick trailer. The trailer range is 8 to 10 miles with the sealed lead-acid battery system or 25 to 30 miles with the LiFePO4 (lithium battery system).
5. Vitesse Messenger Bag by WaterField Designs
Toting kids around town doesn’t mean your style has to be left behind. For afternoon trips to the park, we’re loving the Vitesse Messenger Bag. Made from quality waxed canvas, the bag is highly water resistant, rugged and lightweight. Interior pockets (including a laptop compartment perfect for bringing your iPad along) make it convenient to separate snacks, keys, and wallets, and the adjustable shoulder strap can be worn across the body so your hands and hips are free to carry the kids. Bonus: The bag is easily spot-washable, so no need to worry about sticky fingers.
It’s tough to find a product that screams summer fun louder than a hammock swinging softly in the warm breeze, which is why we couldn’t pick just one as our favorite! ENO’s Double Nest Hammock and Grand Trunk’s Parachute Nylon Double Hammock both provide enough room for the little ones to squeeze right in, and they come with rope and carabiners for easy set-up. The kids will love getting cozy and breathing in the crisp outdoor air as they lull to sleep on a lightweight, breathable, yet durable, parachute nylon hammock.
7. Bubble Bum Sneck Pillow
The Sneck is a three-way pillow system that is perfect for preventing a stiff neck while on road trips. The Sneck easily attaches to the headrest with a Velcro strap, and the micro-bead filled pods allow kids to nap on-the-go. The best part? The pillow is compact (much better than having to bring full-size pillows from home) and quickly transports from car to camp site.
8. Squeeze’Ems by Boogin Head
Let’s face it – eating in the car during road trips is one of the best parts, but sticky fingers and spilled messes are usually inevitable. Instead of swinging by the dreaded drive-thru, try a simpler, healthier alternative. Squeeze’Ems are reusable food pouches for any pureed food or beverage, and they’re easy to fill, clean, and store. These pouches are freezer and microwave safe, washable, nontoxic, and environmentally friendly, making them a staple for any trip.
9. On-the-Go bottle WARMER by Prince Lionheart
Any parent of a new baby knows how difficult it can be to stray from home, but with the On-the-Go bottle WARMER, it’s easy to stay active with baby in tow. Without requiring electricity or batteries, you can instantly heat up a bottle on the fly, which will remain warm for up to two hours. To re-energize the warmer pouch, pop it into a boiling pot of water on the camp stove until all the crystals have dissolved. Simple as that!
10. BugBand Insect Repellent Towelettes
It’s a tale as old as time – the kids want to stay out late playing around camp on those long summer days, but can’t seem to tolerate the bugs. Constantly on the search for a product that actually works, we found the BugBand Towelettes, which use naturally derived active ingredients to repel mosquitos, flies, gnats, no-see-ums, fleas, and ticks. DEET free and safe for kids, these towelettes will ensure the whole family is happy.
11. IceMule Pro Cooler
Keeping food and beverages cold is an important part of adventuring in the outdoors, but who wants to lug around an old-school, bulky cooler? The solution? The IceMule Pro Cooler, a burly, portable cooler that can hold food and drinks for the entire family. Ergonomically designed carrying straps allow you to keep your hands free to handle the kids while their juice boxes stay cold.
12. JBL Clip+ Portable Speakers by Harman
After an afternoon of hiking or a day on the river, returning to camp becomes that much better when you’ve got a little entertainment at your fingertips. When both parents and kids are spent from a long day in the sun, everyone will enjoy kicking back to the sweet sounds of the JBL Clip+ by Harmon Audio. Designed for hiking, rafting, and camping, the speakers are ultra-rugged and ultra-light, so they can easily go with you without weighing you down. Better yet, have the kids carry them in their packs! The Clip+ has Bluetooth connectivity and a built-in rechargeable battery that supports up to five hours of playtime.
13. Parasheet Beach Blanket by Grand Trunk
The Parasheet Beach Blanket is essential for any family adventure, whether it be a day at the beach or a week in the woods. Large enough to accommodate yourself and the kids, the Parasheet sheds sand and dirt with one quick shake, and also repels moisture, ensuring zero mildew. The blanket packs up small and has loops on all corners, making it easy to stake down when the wind picks up.
14. Lair 8 Person Tent by Marmot
Does a family of four really need an eight-person tent? Probably not, but does it make camping with the whole family significantly better? Definitely. An outdoor industry innovator, Marmot’s tents are made to handle the harshest of elements, and while the Lair 8 Person Tent might sound a little intimidating, it offers plenty of space for the family to all be able to share one tent for years to come.
15. Modular Hauler by Mountain Smith
Available in two sizes, the Modular Haulers 3 and 4 are ideal for organization at its finest. With three or four Basic Cubes, foam padding for free-standing access, reinforced carry handles, and tie-down loops to keep the hauler secure in your vehicle, this is the perfect solution to any family adventure. Toss the hauler in the trunk of your car and rest easy knowing the days of clutter-filled trips are long gone. Great for car-camping, the kids can each claim their own cube, encouraging them to take ownership of their personal gear.