www.bobgear.com, 23 pounds
I’m a big fan of the Bob Revolution CE stroller. Being a new mom, I had no idea what to buy. I just knew that I needed to get exercise after my baby was born. I was running half-marathons before I got pregnant—and was ready to get back in shape. The Bob Revolution CE is designed for urban and trail situations—with a front swiveling wheel that easily maneuvers the urban jungle, but locks into place for added stability in more unpredictable off-road conditions and faster speeds. It’s compact enough to walk up Main Street, into all the boutiques and restaurants, and durable enough to maneuver the giant city curbs and potholes. The three 12-inch wheels make for easy storage and nice agility (although they are understandably less shock-absorbing that the Bob with the 16-inch rear wheels). We have taken our newborn on walks at Crissy Field and it manages to navigate the sandy path; I don’t have to worry about all the bumps! It’s such a smooth ride that my little one falls asleep every time. The company got its start in San Luis Obispo, on the beach, and the strollers are definitely designed to be functional. We threw it in the back of the car for our last road trip and tested it out on the Laguna Beach boardwalk—where it excelled as you’d expect. Top features include a five-point, adjustable harness system; mountain bike-style tires with good tread; and a quick release front hub. There are also two interior seat pockets, with a cargo basket underneath, and a big seat back pocket. The stroller is designed for babies and toddlers up to 70 pounds…though hopefully by then my little one will be ready to run alongside me. One caveat: you can’t one-hand open the stroller from its folded position, but it folds and unfolds with little difficulty.
Can you say “organized”? Whether you’re a busy mom or an Olympic athlete (or both), the Bidwell Bag is made for an active lifestyle. Inspired by Annie Bidwell, a general’s wife who donated thousands of acres of wild land for a namesake park in Chico, California (the home of OverLand Equipment), this bag does it all. Inside the zippered main compartment are two mesh bottle pouches, and enough room for an iPad and paperback, or, as in the case of one tester, climbing shoes, chalk bag, and harness. The outside pocket, with its secure magnetic closure, encloses a leather key fob, microfleece glasses sleeve, mesh zip security pouch, and an array of compartments for pens, cards, and notebooks. A hidden sleeve on the back is ideal for maps, plane tickets, or easily access your cell phone. The sleek yet roomy satchel has wide, soft, leather strap with bronze hardware that shrieks class.
You only realize the value of a bandage when you really need one. Your young, aspiring adventurer is bouncing along the trail, investigating the joys of nature. Then boom, a hidden tree root, and down he goes. It’s only a scraped knee, nothing life threatening, but the blood threatens to ruin his white socks and an otherwise glorious day. In the old days, you’d grab a dirty rag, and run the risk of infection. But a simple bandage takes a second to apply and saves the day. The trick? Having that bandage on hand. The First Aid Family Kit provides essential supplies for an accident-prone family of four in almost any condition, from day hiking to road tripping to overseas travel. It’s organized by injury—wound care (burns, blisters, and cuts) in one section, supplies for splints and strains in another, and a small, two ounce, pocket-sized day hike kit that has all the essentials. Bonus features include an insect repellent wipe and after-bite tube of goop that diminishes the sting. But wait, there’s more! The Caring for Children in the Outdoors pamphlet provides great common sense tips on how to cope with common childhood ailments—fever, diarrhea, colds, eye infections, and earaches. The entire package weighs just over a pound, but it’s perfect for car camping. For light and fast excursions, pack the pocket kit for emergencies. Tip: Make an effort to replace the supplies as you use them, especially bandages.
www.adventuremedicalkits.com, 17 ounces
Sickness and injury, two things we seldom contemplate while planning that trip of a lifetime—and two of the most common reasons a great trip goes bad. Enter the Smart Traveler. This self-contained kit comes with everything you need to survive most common ailments of the road. From dehydration to blisters, fever to stomach illness, you’re covered. The kit boasts 15 bandages (including butterfly closures and conforming gauze), seven gauze dressings, antiseptic wipe, a pharmacy’s volume of meds, a disposable thermometer, forceps, gloves, pre-cut Moleskin, and a comprehensive book on wilderness and travel medicine. Designed to support a one or two-man team on a multi-day trip, the Smart Traveler comes in a durable canvas kit that unfolds like a toiletries bag. The supplies are organized by type of injury for simple, quick access. At 17 ounces and a 7.5×5.5×1.5-inch size, it will consume some space in your pack—but it’s worth its weight in titanium as an insurance policy. If you can’t stave off the hazards of the road with this kit, find a doctor. No joke. It might save your life.
Phones these days have morphed into our home office and entertainment center. They function as a camera, address book, scheduler, gaming device, web browser, music library, movie screen, and legions of other functions far beyond Alexander Graham Bell’s vision. But if you’ve ever used the iPhone’s build in speakers to add music to your personal sidecountry or backcountry paradise, you quickly realize the phone’s limitations. Koostik offers a graceful remedy to this solution. The hand-made, all-wood speaker system amplifies the iPhone’s built-in speakers without the need for any sort of electric current. The otherwise tinny music blaring out of the iPhone’s speakers suddenly takes on surprising resonance as the sounds flow through the channels carved into the speakers, doubling the overall audio output. The Koostik doesn’t go to 11—and it isn’t designed to. Instead, think of it as a graceful, aesthetically-pleasing, all-natural mood enhancer for your tent, campfire, hotel room, or backcountry yurt—one that doesn’t need batteries or an outlet. All the touch-screen controls are accessible while it’s docked, but the phone’s speaker placement on the bottom of the device means you can’t charge the iPhone while it’s cradled in the Koostik. Suddenly the iPhone’s variable battery life seems even more dubious (we recommend airport mode and the new Wilco album).
Comes in cherry, walnut, and combos of cherry, walnut, and maple.