This is the first of a series of holiday gift suggestions we will be posting over the next 10 days to help our community find great products that make getting on trail easier with a little one.
If you are reading this there is a good chance either you are a Hike it Baby member or someone in your family sent this link to you. If that is the case, they may have included a little note on how well behaved they were this year and they hope to find these trail “must haves” magically appearing in their life; wrapped in festive holiday paper.
Whether you are celebrating Festivus, Christmas, Kwanza, Hanukah or it’s your birthday, these are the gift-goods we suggest for active trail lovers.
Gift Idea: Leatherman Signal ($99.85)
I am the Queen of “carry as little as I can” on trail. I pack one diaper, some wipes in a plastic baggy sealed up and a few snacks and hit the trail. But recently I got my hands on a few different Leathermans (Juice, Skeletool and Signal), which made me a believer for many reasons. While I have used Leathermans over the years and am familiar with the brand, this past summer I attended an actual Leatherman class at a women’s weekend called Outessa Summit and was sold!
The things I especially like in the Signal model are the sharp serrated knife, the whistle, the ability to use it as a little hammer to tap tent stakes into the ground (who owns a mallet and ever remembers to take it anywhere really?), and the firestarter. Before my class, I had never started a fire without a match until this tool. The multitool is super simple and there are 36 different tools in this little Boy Scout of a tool. This one is definitely the “keep in the car” tool so I always have it with me and can pop it into my pack on longer hikes. I’ve already used it a few times when I needed to open something quickly. I bent some wire with the pliers and opened a bottle. Every time I pulled it out I was glad I had it nearby and didn’t have to think about where to find a different tool to remedy each situation. This is the perfect gift for anyone in the family who is adventuring outdoors and wants to have it all on them or in the car. For camping this is the winning tool!
Other pluses with Leatherman are that they have a 25 year warranty and made in the USA in Portland, OR. This multitool is a winner for the trails.
People are constantly asking me what first aid kit I think you should carry with kids. Keeping it light is key, but having everything you need in an emergency is also important. So far, we have used a few different things in our Ultralite Watertight .5. This feels like it’s not lacking anything critical but also is super portable.
The waterproof element is great considering we have had leaky bladders in our bag before. Also, because we live in Oregon, where weather can be extra wet almost any time in the year.
This kit treats everything from an unexpected blister, to an allergic flare up, or an unexpected headache. There are basic bandaids and butterfly stitches for a deeper cut.
We recently had a little bee sting on a camp out and whipped out the afterbite wipe. While our little three-year-old friend was more shocked than hurt, the wipe helped take her mind off of the sting and ease the ouch. My son, Mason, also loved playing doctor with his little kit. It’s perfect for overnighters or day hikes and is easy to stash away in the bottom of your pack.
We also keep the Family First Aid kit in the back of the car. If we ever need to replenish our little day kit we have the supplies ready. While it’s easy to think you can just take a few bandaids out on the trail, having an actual put-together-kit just gives you one less thing to think about when packing to get out there with little ones.
If you want to keep it super minimal you can also look at the Ultralite Watertight .3 ($9)
One thing to remember about First Aid Kits is that items in the kit can expire. Make sure to be aware of the expiration date and replace any elements of it that will no longer be effective over time, like medicines and ointments that may harden. Kits are meant to be used, so no need to keep it pristine and unused! Another thing that’s handy about Adventure Medical Kits is that they come with a list of what’s in them so you can check it from time to time and replace items.
Gift Idea: Petzl Tikka ($29.95)
Hiking in the dark may not be the norm, but if you have ever headed out to explore a new trail and weren’t quite sure of the distance, chances are you might have found yourself coming back later than expected. These days I am a little more careful about this with a kiddo in tow, but I also don’t like to be limited. If I am feeling like a trail is safe to traverse in the dark, I won’t hesitate to go for it. This is where having a good headlight matters.
You want a light that is easy to use, reliable and can handle the wrath of your toddler; who will undoubtedly insist on being the carrier of the light. Just last week, Mason and I headed out for a hike and it got dark at 4:45 p.m. This is typical in the Pacific Northwest and if you are in Alaska, chasing precious minutes of light is the norm, so many Hike it Baby Alaska families will preach the importance of a headlamp.
But enough about hiking with light, let’s talk about this particular Petzl. I have always been a fan of their headlamps and have probably owned 4 or 5 of this brand in my lifetime. The only reason I have gotten new ones is that I liked a different design, color, or found a great deal.
The Petzl Tikka is lightweight, super adjustable (great for small head sizes), is hearty, and has been with me through rain, wind and snowstorms. The light time is impressively long (the website says 120-180 hours). I may only change the batteries maybe 1-2 times a year if using a lot. I also really like that there is a 3 year warranty (especially now that I have a little destroyer in the house).
Mason and I took this headlamp out on a test hike and it felt like plenty of light on a very moonless night. Mason walked part of the time and I carried him. I felt like we had enough light and the headlamp more or less felt like an extension of me with how low profile it was.
The Petzl Tikka is definitely an awesome stocking stuffer and something that never goes out of style or gets dated, so this is worth the investment. This model also goes on sale because it’s not the fancier, slick, high end one with lots of options. So, keep an eye out for it online and you can knock off about 10-20% of the cost.
Gift Idea: Katadyn Be Free ($39.95)
If I were to tell every Hike it Baby member what the single most important thing to always have on trail is, I would say, “remember water!” It’s so easy to run out of, especially when you are carrying for two. I’ll admit, I am a huge water drinker and I feel like I can never carry enough on a hike without being weighted down. Finding this awesome new trail tool has been a huge score for me.
Admittedly, this won’t work everywhere (sorry drier climates), because you need water to start with. In states where water is plentiful, like Oregon, having quick access to water always is important. This is especially true if your toddler is the kind of wild child who tries to drink from every stream you pass.
The Katadyn Be Free is a fun way to make sure your child understands what bacteria is in the water and how we stay parasite-free when hiking. Mason has been a kid-bottle (Camelbak and Kleen Kanteen) drinker since he was a little one, so sucking from the Katadyn was a natural for him. It’s no different than any water bottle, other than the fact that it has a built in water filter and it collapses down to practically nothing.
I like that it’s lightweight (2.05 ounces). You can squeeze creek water from the Katadyn into your hydration pack to refill so you need to carry less water on your hike, leaving more space for kid snacks.
I am a long time Katadyn user from back to my college days and backpacking. I trust this brand and it’s nice to see they have evolved with the times and are thinking about the lite packing movement. While “light” is not usually possible with a toddler, if you can minimize the weight with how much water you are carrying and cut down on the weight of a water bottle; this is a plus in my book.
Some things to keep in mind if you do purchase this filter: read the directions on cleaning it! I am a terrible direction reader, so I was happy that my husband told me not to wash the filter holding it sideways under the stream because it could damage it and render the filter useless.
If you are backpacking with kiddos and looking for a good water system, consider checking out the Base Camp Pro 10L ($99). Check out the Katadyn website for a handy tool to figure out what kind of water filters are needed for your family’s adventures.
Stay tuned for more great gift ideas coming soon!