Take it outside!

Heading into the great outdoors? Whether it’s day-trippin’ at a nearby park or exploring the wilderness at a weeklong camp, check out this roundup of great gadgets, on-the-go gear and games to make that outdoor adventure extra memorable.

Keep kids cozy all night in the Deuter Little Star child’s sleeping bag. The hood is padded for extra comfort, and the foot of the bag can be expanded a foot to accommodate growth spurts. Bonus: Kids can get in easily with a two-way zipper and store valuables in the bag’s internal pockets. Available locally at the Hoarding Marmot or online at deuter.com.

Smooth rocks are no match for the grippy rubber soles on the Cypher Code Breaker climbing shoes for kids. Now it’s never too soon for kids to hit the rocks - even preschoolers can strap in their feet with the easy, secure Velcro straps and wear them all day when out camping, on a hike or at a climbing wall. Available locally at The Hoarding Marmot or online at cypherclimbing.com.

Four-way stretch, UPF 50 sun protection, quick-drying – the BUFF Junior is the perfect, versatile headgear for kids outdoors. Wear it as a sun guard on the back of the neck; as a face mask, hood or balaclava against cold; wear it as a fashionable cap, do rag, headband, or even hair tie; or wear it knotted in the back like a pirate. Options for wear are endless, as are the color choices available. Available locally at Big Ray’s, Beaver Sports, REI, Skinny Raven Sports or online at buffusa.com.

All natural, vegan, organic and nut-free, the Shue Bug Spray is safe for the whole family – and it comes without the familiar, foul scent of most bug sprays. The 2.7 oz container is travel-size for hiking pockets or taking on a plane. Available locally at Arctic Baby Bottoms or taylorsnatural.com.

With Darn Tough’s performance fit socks, your kids can trek the wilderness, climb rocks and trees, engage in sports and avoid blisters and sock bunching. These socks are also quick-drying and naturally antimicrobial since they are made with merino wool. Available in multiple lengths and imaginative patterns. For a list of local retailers, visit darntough.com.

Soothing oils and sun protectants combined make Elevated SUN! Natural Sunscreen a vegan, natural, waterproof SPF 30 sun protectant. Apply once or twice a day, avoiding the eyes and mouth, and have fun sunbathing or splashing around outside. Available locally at Arctic Baby Bottoms or taylorsnatural.com.

Kids prone to cuts and scrapes when hitting the trails? Fear no more: CJ’s BUTTer Quick Stick is the perfect size to carry in a purse, pocket or diaper bag, ready for quick application against insect bites, burns, cuts, chaffing, calluses, diaper rashes – and, in a pinch, it also makes a great hair pomade! Available locally at Arctic Baby Bottoms or online at cjsbutter.us.

Stay bear safe while out this summer with the Counter Assault Bear Spray Chest Holster, keeping bear spray at easy reach, front and center. Wear the strap over your left or right shoulder, with or without a backpack, under or over a coat – its versatility will serve you on any trip. Available locally at REI or online at counterassault.com.

Curate the perfect camp care package for your kid’s first overnight camp, starting with Camp Daze Mad Libs. Mad Libs will help kids break the ice with their new bunkmates, generating laughs all while exercising their grammar skills and playing with language. Available at Just Imagine Toys, Walmart and Target.

Keep coffee, tea or cocoa hot for hours while on-the-go with the YETI Rambler Mug. The mug’s double-walled stainless steel doesn’t get hot to the touch or accumulate condensation like other mugs, but it still keeps your drink nice and hot (or cold). Dishwasher-safe, BPA-free and large volume (14 fluid ounces) make the YETI Rambler Mug a practical choice for the busy family. Available in multiple colors locally at REI, Mossy’s Fly Shop and Sportsman’s Warehouse.

Kids climbing the walls? Take them outside to climb the trees instead with the Ninja Rope Ladder – it has a special hook attachment requiring no hardware or tools to hook onto any tree. They’ll work on coordination, strength and balance in the yard, at a campsite or at the park. Available locally at Classic Toys or online at b4adventure.com.

Take ambient lighting on the go with the Luci Lux inflatable solar lantern. Pop up the lamp at night to use one of its four modes – high, medium, low or flashing – and clip it to your backpack the next day to fully recharge with solar energy, or recharge it at home with a USB cord. Available locally at REI or online at mpowerd.com.

Send your little camper notes to let them know you’re thinking of them while they’re adventuring at an away camp with a bundle of five different Summer Camp Greeting Cards. Or, have your camper write to family members about their best experiences at camp this summer and include a fun photo. Cards come in a variety of colors and patterns to match your camper’s interests. 5” by 7” and come with colored envelopes. Available online at everythingsummercamp.com.

Keep the Monkey Mat tucked into your diaper bag, stroller or purse for a trip to the park, beach or when camping. The material is thin and light, making it perfect for a long hike, plus it repels water, dirt and sand – just give it a shake and it’s good as new, or toss it in the wash to get out any big spills. Bonus: Toss it over the picnic table or your dining room table for easy cleanup after crafts or dinner. Available locally at Arctic Baby Bottoms or online at monkeymat.com.

Elevated Natural Hand Sanitizer makes defending against germs on-the-go easier – and better smelling – than ever. This hand sanitizer spray kills 99.9 percent of germs while leaving hands as soft as a baby’s. Made with organic, natural ingredients, it’s also safe for the kids to use while at school or on your summer adventures. Available locally at Arctic Baby Bottoms or online at taylorsnatural.com.

Let the kids go wild coloring the OMG! I Need This Coloring Book in the car or on the picnic table at a campground. The pictures contain a variety of complexity, making it perfect for sharing between ages or being packed for trips throughout the years. Plus, its beautiful art is Alaskan-made. Available locally at the Toy Quest and online at artbyarw.com.

Made with mom and baby’s comfort in mind, the LennyLamb Ergonomic has four-way adjustable shoulder straps, a contoured panel, soft padded straps and extra padding for baby’s legs – plus, you can front or back carry baby for the ultimate flexibility. Available locally at Arctic Baby Bottoms or online at lennylamb.com.

Assembled without glue or tools, and powered only by rubber bands, the Seaplane is perfect to fly while at the park or even on a hike. It can soar over 100 feet and land on water or land, like an actual plane. Available locally at Just Imagine Toys or online at whitewings.com.

The offspring of Crocs' most water-friendly collection, these Swiftwater River Sandals feature adjustable straps with a hook-and-loop closure system to provide a secure fit. Kids will love the incredibly comfortable footbeds with outsoles that channel water and dirt away for better traction during all-terrain playtime. $29.99. For local retailers, visit crocs.com.

The Kamp-Rite Kid's Tent Cot is ideal for campouts or sleepovers. Featuring “no-see-um” netting to shield your child from insects, this versatile cot converts into a lounge chair, sleeping cot or “play fort” in minutes. The compact design allows for easy storage in small spaces. $149. Visit kamprite.com.

Stop swatting bugs and start focusing on the adventure with the BugsAway Mesh Cape Hat and the BugsAway Lumen Scarf. The odorless Insect Shield treatment is bound to the fabric fibers, so it stays in your clothes – not on your skin – and lasts through 70 washes. Ants, flies, chiggers, midges, and ticks don't like it, and neither do mosquitoes. $28 each. Available locally at REI and Big Rays, or visit exofficio.com.

Keep kids hydrated while on the go with the CamelBak Scout Hydration Pack. Designed for young explorers, the hiking pack comes with a safety whistle, name patch, 50-ounce hydration reservoir and pockets for essentials. With a short torso length, it's tailor-made for preschoolers and grade-school students. $45. For local retailers, visit camelbak.com.

Kids will have a blast collapsing and expanding the Hydaway but don’t let all that fun fool you. This bottle does a great job storing water in its BPA-free, food-grade silicone. Dishwasher safe, it collapses when empty so you can slip it into a backpack or pocket while you’re on the go. $15-$20. For local retailers, visit hydawaybottle.com.

Want to pack some fun on your next camping or outdoor adventure? UNO Wilderness brings a nature-themed twist to a classic family card game with plenty of cool outdoorsy scenes to match any camp adventure. $5. For local retailers, visit shop.mattel.com.

Hit the running trails or the gym in these durable yet lightweight Mak Boy’s Pants from The North Face. The elastic waist with drawcord ensures a secure fit during rigorous activity. These pull-on sweatpants come in a tapered jogger fit with side-entry hand pockets and made with UPF 50 sun protective fabric. $45. For local retailers, visit thenorthface.com.

If your child is attending sleepaway camp, consider sending her with stamps and this adorable Camp Out Fold-to-Mail Stationery Set. After writing a letter, the stationery sheets can be folded and sealed with a camp-themed sticker – no envelopes needed. Who knows, you just might receive a letter from your happy camper! $9.99. Visit eeboo.com.

For day hikes, avoid those hard, heavy leather boots and equip your kid with a good pair of lightweight boots with ankle support, such as these Merrell Capra Mid WP Hiking Boots. These durable, waterproof boots keep feet dry and cushion kids' feet more at the heels to buffer descents, and less at the forefoot for ground feel and responsiveness. $65. Available at REI.

The spill-proof Nalgene Grip 'n Gulp water bottles are great for kids on the go. The mini grips are easy for little hands to hold onto and the locking lid provides the ultimate insurance against leaks. The 12-oz BPA-free vessel includes a flip straw and easily clips to a backpack. $8-$10. Found locally at Bass Pro Shops.

Keep those pesky bugs from biting with Alaska’s Best Insect Repellent from Alpenglow Skincare. This effective and concentrated insect repellent is made without DEET or other harmful ingredients. Provides protection against mosquitos, black flies, ticks, biting flies, no-see-ums and sand fleas. Safe for babies and children. $12. For retailers, visit alpenglowskincare.com.

The medium-sized Patagonia Kids' Bonsai Backpack is perfect for a day on the trail or tackling urban adventures. Sized to hold enough goodies for a full day on the trail or city streets, this pack has a top-loading design for fast access to the main compartment and a zippered pocket to hold essentials. Made with a durable water repellent finish. $59. For a list of local retailers, visit patagonia.com.

Too hot, too cold, too hot? Not anymore. The Kelty Tru.Comfort sleeping bags keep kids comfy all night. Featuring an oversized mummy fit, the bags include a two-layer blanket system for unique temperature control and a Comfort-Tuck zipper so kids can stick one or both feet out on warmer nights, or tuck them in on cooler nights. $79. For a list of retailers near you, visit kelty.com.

With the Rome S'more Maker, have fun toasting s’mores without worrying about dropping those tasty treats in the campfire. Made from chrome-plated steel, the Maker’s 29-inch length keeps everyone a safe distance from the fire. To use, simply place a s'more sandwich into one of the three cooking cavities and hold above the flames until the s’mores reach ooey-gooey perfection. $7.99. Available at Sportsman’s Warehouse.

The Therm-a-Rest Compressible Travel Pillow is a true travel essential. The soft, foam filling packs small and expands big for home-like comfort wherever you are. The convenient, lightweight package makes it ideal for camping, plane travel, car trips or backpacking. Machine washable and available in four sizes. $24-$34. For local retailers, visit thermarest.com.

 

Give those young noggins comfortable protection from the sun with the Sunday Afternoons Fun Bucket Hat. Crushable, floatable, water and stain resistant, breathable, and – oh yeah – adorable. Provides UPF 50+ protection. $28. Available at REI or visit sundayafternoons.com.

The Bushnell Falcon 7x35 Binoculars are perfect for older kids who are ready to use real binoculars as opposed to toy ones. Not too big and not too heavy, they’re just the right size. Ideal for bird-watching and other outdoor exploring, the Falcon series offers powerful magnification at an economical price. For those who wear eyeglasses or sunglasses, clever fold-down eyecups protect lenses from scratching. Around $25-$35. Available at Sportsman’s Warehouse or visit bushnell.com for a store near you.

With its durable nylon outer shell, lightweight PVC inner shell and small storing case, the Kids Inflatable Lounge Bag Laybag makes for perfect seating in the playroom or on the campground. Inflating the laybag is easy, fast and no pump is necessary – and since it’s only 1.5 lbs, your kids can take it on a hike and comfortably enjoy the view and a picnic. $39.20. Visit tuffkidsoutdoors.com.

Quest Performance Youth Baselayer Pants will keep kids warm and mobile with its soft-brushed microfiber lining and smooth exterior. Made with a special fabric that controls odor and inhibits bacterial growth, these pants won’t leave your kids sweaty or stinky. $15.99. Available at Sportsman’s Warehouse or visit coldpruf.com for a store near you.

GoPicnic Ready-to-Eat Meals need no refrigeration, heating or other preparation. Just open and enjoy. These all-natural boxed meals make great care packages for summer camp or for taking on road trips. $3.99. Available at Target, Barnes & Noble or visit gopicnic.com.

Built to be tough, the Deuter Junior Kid’s Backpack is ready for any adventure your active kid will bring – from the schoolyard to the mountainside. Featuring ripstop microrip-nylon and polytex fabric for flexibility, this pack will last through years of use. $39.99. Available locally at Tuff Kids Outdoors and REI.

Add fun to any camping trip with the Reel Roaster. Simply crank the handle of the roaster, and the skewer automatically rotates for thoroughly cooked marshmallows, hot dogs or veggies. The 27’’ telescopic stainless steel skewer lets you control desired length from the fire and detaches for easy cleanup. $19.99. Available at Over the Rainbow Toys or visit hogwildtoys.com for a store near you.

Create a 15-foot-by-15-foot DEET-free protection zone from mosquitoes, flies or other biting pests with the Thermacell Mosquito Repeller. This device is cordless, pocket-sized and lightweight, making it the perfect travel companion for your kids on all of their outdoor adventures. $23.99. Available at Sportsman’s Warehouse or visit thermacell.com.

Nobody likes sweaty feet while hiking, so be sure to pack some Smartwool Socks to keep feet warm, dry and comfortable. Unlike cotton, wool wicks away moisture and keeps feet blissfully blister-free. $11.95 and up. For a list of local retailers, or to purchase online, visit smartwool.com.

These sturdy, strong and kid-friendly Co-op Camping Chairs are the perfect take-along seats for fireside songs and s’mores. $24.50. Available at REI.

Love tent camping but hate the hard ground? Get off the ground and onto this Smart Deluxe Cot. Its long frame will accommodate even the tallest in your family - not to mention it folds for easy storage. Around $85. Available at Bass Pro or visit online at coleman.com.

Designed with little kids in mind, Kidnoculars have focus-free eyepieces your tot can put to her eyes with perfect-fit goggles. The breakaway neck strap will keep your kid from losing her goggles and keep them safe from catching nearby plants. $14.99. Available at Over the Rainbow Toys or visit educationalinsights.com.

The 21 fl. oz. Hydro Flask Standard-Mouth Vacuum Water Bottle keeps hot drinks hot for 12 hours and cold drinks cold for 24 hours. Double-wall vacuum insulation means no burned fingers from hot beverages or condensation from ice-cold drinks. Built with tough stainless steel, the bottle is BPA-free and resistant to bacteria and odors. $27.95. Available at REI or visit hydroflask.com.

Stacked or side-by-side, save space and patience with these portable, easy-to-assemble Kid-O-Bunk beds. Perfect for camping, vacations, sleepovers or family visits. Comes with two matching side organizers for holding personal belongings. Includes a zippered carry bag for easy transportation and quick storage. $269.99. Available at Bed Bath & Beyond and Sportsman’s Warehouse or visit discobed.com.

Keep track of the memories you make while visiting our national parks with a Passport to Your National Parks and a Kids’ Passport Companion. Stop by park visitor centers to fill the pages of the booklets with rubber-stamp ink markings that show the date of your visit (similar to those received in an international passport). Kids can also document completed Junior Ranger programs, fill out the field journal, and more. $14.95 for the set at eparks.com.

The Ascend Youth Frame Backpack is a great choice for longer treks into the wilderness. The frame pack is adjustable to accommodate growing children. Available locally at Bass Pro Shops. $79.99. basspro.com

The perfect hiking shoe for little trekkers, the KEEN Big Kid’s Pagosa Low WP is waterproof with mesh lining for breathability. A luggy outsole provides sure footing on rugged terrain. Available locally at REI. $70. keenfootwear.com

The sturdy KEEN Big Kid’s Newport H2 summer sandal can take anything kids dish out. Quick-drying webbing is perfect for when kids are in and out of water. Available locally at REI. $50. keenfootwear.com

The Boys’ Kilowatt Jacket is a versatile, spring layer with an abrasion-and wind-resistant hooded jacket. It’s exceptionally durable and features fleece sleeves that are finished with comfortable thumbhole cuffs. Available locally at The North Face. $99. thenorthface.com

Klean Kanteen is a healthy, BPA-free alternative to plastic and aluminum water bottles. The 18 oz Kanteen Classic holds enough to keep you hydrated but still fits in your backpack. Available locally at Classic Toys, Sportsman’s Warehouse, Beaver Sports and REI. $19.95. kleankanteen.com

Great for younger campers, the Deluxe Camp Chair for Kids is easy to carry and opens and folds in seconds. It has a built-in cup holder and comes with a convenient carry bag. Available locally at Bass Pro Shops. $12.99. basspro.com

The North Face Youth Party in the Back Hat stops sunburns from ruining summertime fun. The lightweight, attached sun cape comes in several stylish designs and offers UPF 50 protection. Available locally at The North Face Anchorage. $22.00 thenorthface.com

The North Face Mini Crevasse Backpack is a classic backpack reimagined in a 15-liter, pint-sized package just for kids. The main compartment is still large enough to hold binders and perhaps more importantly, lunch! Found locally at The North Face. $50. thenorthface.com

Kids love the tangerine and vanilla scent of Badger Kids Sunscreen. Parents love how natural zinc oxide offers broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection. Found locally at Natural Pantry and Susan’s Bath & Body Boutique. $15.99. badgerbalm.com

Take Natrapel Picaridin Insect Repellent Wipes on all of your outdoor adventures and repel insects for up to 8 hours. Comes in individually wrapped packs of 12. Formulation is safe on clothing. Available locally at REI. $6.95. rei.com

No more lost and found bins or mix-ups! StickerKid offers cute and durable personalized name labels for kids’ belongings. Made with top-quality materials, these labels are weatherproof and can withstand the water, dishwasher, microwave and refrigerator. Available locally at Toys R Us. $8.95 and up. stickerkid.com

Keep kids dry and warm after a jump in the lake with the 100-percent cotton Pendleton Jacquard Hooded Towel. Found locally at Mountain View Sports, Prospector Apparel and Sweeney’s Clothing. $49.50. pendleton-usa.com

Built for the young backpacker, the three-season REI Youth Lumen Sleeping Bag is durable, compressible, and snugly insulated. Plus, the contoured hood and relaxed fit make it super comfy. Available at REI. $119. rei.com

Greet your camper with a friendly hello every morning! Hello Toothpaste is not only free of triclosan, dyes and artificial sweeteners, it also comes in delicious flavors: blue raspberry, bubble gum and watermelon. Available at Walgreens, Fred Meyer and Target. $3.99. hello-products.com

Start your child’s swim experience off right with Swimple Tie Dye Goggles. These goggles offer superior comfort and are ideal for both training and recreation. Lenses are anti-fog and offer UV protection. Available locally at Sports Authority. $10.99. tyr.com

Real Kids Shades – BOLT sunglasses have fashion-forward, two-tone coloring. The frames are flexible and can survive all the twists and turns of kid life. Ages 4+. Available locally at REI, Everything but the Princess and Kinder Komfort. $29.95. realkidsshades.com

Honest DEET-Free Bug Spray is a pure and gentle organic mosquito repellent. Formulated with only organic essential oils, this spray repels mosquitoes for up to 4 hours. Found locally at Nordstrom, Target and Soldotna Professional Pharmacy. $12.95. honest.com

The one-piece, three-layer Oakiwear Trail Rainsuit for kids is durable, windproof and fully waterproof. The ultra tear-resistant fabric is also incredibly soft and flexible for comfort. Available locally through Tuff Kids Outdoors. $59.99. Free shipping in Alaska. tuffkidsoutdoors.com

Keep the Intex Cozy Kidz Air Bed handy for sleepovers, naptime and camping. This mattress is made to last with a 20-gauge top and 12-gauge vinyl sides and bottom. Available in a variety of colors. Found locally at Cabela’s. $19.99. intexcorp.com/airbeds

more camp kids from summer 2015....
Lip-smacking good

Kiss My Face’s deliciously fruity-flavored lip balms not only smell great, but also nourish and protect the lips with all-natural, organic ingredients. Biodegradable, gluten-free, paraben-free. Available at Natural Pantry, Fred Meyer, REI or visit kissmyface.com.

All patched up

Bekoool Medicated Itch Relief Patches give instant relief from itching due to insect bites, minor skin irritations, cuts and scrapes. No more ointments and messy tubes in your handbag, and the patches prevent kids from scratching at the affected areas. Perfect for active parents and kids. Available at Walgreens, Wal-Mart or visit bekoool.com.

Socks on a mission

Your kid is on a hike and wearing cotton socks? Parental fail. Be a good parent and pack a pair of Wigwam socks. Made of a moisture-wicking synthetic blend, the socks dry quickly (thus avoiding wet, clammy feet) and won’t slink down into a shoe or rub against the skin the way cotton might (which can lead to blisters). Available locally at Fred Meyer and REI, or visit wigwam.com.

Shield and protect

Along with being lightweight, shatterproof and heat resisitant, Chili’s Jellie sunglasses are sized to fit smaller faces. Best of all, they’ll protect young eyes from the harmful rays, with 100 percent UV protection. Available at local REI stores.

Band on, bug off

Forget those mosquitos – and those messy, toxic mosquito sprays! Mosquitno Bandz are all-natural, non-toxic, DEET-free wristbands made of silicone rubber infused with 100-percent citronella oil to effectively repel bugs for up to 150 hours (or six days). These sporty comfortable wristbands are also waterproof and come in lots of fun colors – even glow in the dark. Ages 3+. Visit mosquitnoband.com.

The anti-bottle

During those summer activities, it’s important for kids to drink lots of water, but let’s face it - who wants to lug around a bulky bottle? Unlike traditional reusable bottles, the Vapur Quencher stands upright when full, but it can be rolled, folded or even flattened when empty. Along with four cute designs, these Quenchers are also made from a BPA-free plastic and include a carabiner that makes attaching to belt loops and packs quick and easy. For local retailers, visit vapur.us.

Swim with ease

If you’ve ever had to struggle with traditional swim goggles, only to have them slide down your child’s head, pinch their ears or pull their hair, Frogglez goggles come to the rescue. They make life easier by making swim goggles easy to put on, and stay on. No adjusting required. Even better: they float. For ages 9 and under. Available in three fun colors. Visit frogglezgoggles.com.

Lost and found

Kids are always on the go…and they tend to forget things. FinderCodes gives you added peace of mind knowing your kid’s gear is protected if lost. Anyone who finds your valuable item can easily scan the QR code to contact you. What’s more, the second someone scans the QR code, FinderCodes sends a text message to the owner alerting him that the lost item has been found, and with GPS technology, it includes a link to a map of the finder’s location. Available at Office Depot or at findercodes.com.