You won’t find better fitting, more stylish base layers for kids than the Indie hoodie and long johns from Ibex. Both pieces are made out of superfine, 18.5 New Zealand merino wool. This is the outfit you’ll dress your kids in for cold days at school (the pants come in bright colors as well as black, and look rad with boots). They are light enough to be worn under jeans, but really show their backcountry creds under snow pants, with a soft next-to-skin feel, just the right amount of warmth, and an unbelievably feather-like weight. Plus, in contrast to other wool base layers we’ve tested for kids, these don’t snag, run, or pill. Our test samples have 40-plus days in action. They’ve been washed a dozen times and still look new. Colors are vibrant—we like the Cherry Bomb orange for girls, and a mellower “turf” for boys. The hoodie has flatlock seams and ragland sleeves, so there are no hot spots when worn under a jacket or with a pack. Plus there are thumb holes—the sleeves are a bit long, and can be pulled down over hands to thwart cold and keep out snow. A seven-inch front zipper lets kids vent off excess heat, and makes the top easier to pull on and take off. You might think a hood is superfluous on a base layer, but it adds extra warmth under a ski or bike helmet in the winter and provides sun protection in the summer.
The Hoodie and Long Johns comes in sizes small to large (5/6 to 12) and the Indie Long Johns; we recommend going up a size—that way the child should be able to squeeze in at least two to three years of wear.
Good For: skiing, snowboarding, everyday, for when pajamas are too much trouble
Learning to help your kids love winter is a snap when they’re wearing the right apparel. We love this jacket as it allows you to outfit your teen with a highly functional piece that survives the fashion crucible without costing a fortune. The Iconic Jacket is sized to fit girls up to the age of 18, with a slight shape (no slacker look here) and flattering, longer waist. The waterproof/breathable jacket held up to storm days on Oregon’s Mt. Bachelor, when winds reached 40 and temps plummeted to single digits. Our tester, a respected junior alpine racer, raved about the warmth, suppleness, and fit of the Iconic—the coat moved with her, whether she was running gates or hiking the Cone. Obermeyer, one of the most respected brands in ski apparel, was founded in 1947 in Aspen, Colorado, by Klaus Obermeyer, who at 93 is still leading the company. The brand specializes in high-end but fairly-priced mountain apparel—and is one of the few brands that serve youth and teens with equal seriousness as men and women. The Iconic really mimics its name with a classic, feminine shape that never goes out of style. Inside the jacket’s clean lines and longer silhouette you’ll find 140 grams of warm Permaloft insulation in the body and 100 grams in the sleeves to provide warmth without bulk. The exterior is a striped jacquard made of a polyester/CD polyester print with HydroBlock V (Obermeyer’s proprietary microporous waterproofing). Obermeyer’s CZV, a control zone ventilation system, maintains warmth, but breathes and wicks moisture, so there’s no wetness, even on crazy pow days. As with all youth and teen Obermeyer products, the Iconic jacket uses the company’s innovative EWS (extended wear system) to maximize wear time—meaning the jacket will last several seasons, not just several runs.
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.
For us, sometimes the best measure of a bag’s usefulness is how quickly someone else swipes it from our testers and makes it their own—which is precisely what happened when the Headaitch entered our testing rotation. What was supposed to be two weeks of hearty use become four months as one girlfriend made it her go-to hauler for just about everything (gym clothes, work documents, grocery shopping, travel carry-on, wine hauler, overnight bag—to list but a few). Look at the bag and you’ll understand why. Constructed of 900D nylon on the outside, with a reinforced 1,000D base and a 150D ripstop lining, the bag can take some serious punishment, from rough handling to rougher weather. We tested out the small size, which offers an ample ten liters of storage, secured by a full zipper (a feature not often found in smaller totes), and supported by two wide shoulder straps to carry the weight. Inside, deep, Velcro-fastened pockets and a full-width zipper pocket are perfect for stuff you want to keep separate from the bag’s cavernous center. And Crumpler’s aesthetic lets you punch up the color with fun patterns, or go for the conservative urban black. We say go bright.
Tested size small; medium size has 17 liters of storage for $70.
Inject a bit of joy into your daily ride by ditching the boring helmet of yore and wear burst of mad color and design from Portland, OR-based Nutcase. The structure of the helmet itself is fairly straightforward: an injection-molded ABS shell with a poly inner foam for high-impact protection, paired with three sets of differently sized internal pads to help achieve the perfect fit. Up top you find two front intake valves, with seven top-mounted and two rear-mounted exhaust vents, an adjustable spin dial for the perfect fit, and a great, anti-pinching cloth-lined magnetic chin strap that clasps together like magic—all of it CPSC-certified for safe bike riding. But Nutcase’s dedication to design—bright, brilliant patterns and colors (as well as more subdued varieties)—really set these helmets apart, from watermelon to polka-dot to paisley. The helmets do run hot compared to the more race-friendly models on the market. A midday urban ride in Portland and Washington, DC, left more than one tester warmer than a traditionally vented helmet, though they were great on 40-degree autumn mornings.. But these aren’t made for century rides in the heat of summer; they’re to let you express your inner child while on your daily commute. And naturally they make a bunch of equally fantastic (and equally safe) children’s helmets for $60.