By Jill “MamaBug” Frier
Let’s face it – gearing up for a hiking, camping or outdoor nature activity with a youngster can be a challenge. Those cute little cotton play outfits and sneakers or flip flops just won’t cut it on a trail or dirt path. Not to mention the fact that our daughter prefers dresses and skirts, which makes finding hiking and outdoor wear an extra challenge.
After many shopping trips, try-on sessions, trials and errors, we have managed to find a few stores and brands that consistently provide good quality (and good value) hiking and outdoor gear for youngsters. Here are three of our favorites right now.
Columbia has good quality outdoor clothes for kids that fit well, so we do a lot of shopping at the Columbia Outlet store near us when we need to gear up (which also saves us money). One drawback is that they cycle through seasonal clothing frequently, so buy it when you see it or it may be out of stock the next time! Columbia clothing is also available for kids at REI, Sportsman’s Warehouse and sometimes Cabela’s (as well as many other sporting goods stores, though the kids clothing is much harder to come by). You can also order from their website – sizes run pretty true to age, but can vary by product.
Can I just say that I am an REI junkie? Every time we are within 5 miles of a store, we have to go check it out and see what’s new. They have a fantastic selection of kids outdoor clothing and shoes in various brands, including their own label. Like Columbia, they cycle through seasonal wear pretty quickly, but they almost always have something that we like in our kid’s style and size. The shoes are top quality and they frequently have items on sale. A must see if you can swing by – they also have an outstanding website to shop online.
Cabela’s is an outdoor adventure destination all it’s own. The moment you walk through the door into the cavernous outdoor retail fantasyland, you just know you will find something worth buying. Their kids’ clothing is very high quality, although it can be difficult to find what you’re looking for in smaller kid sizes (5 and under). They have a range of clothing types, but are particularly well-outfitted for anything hunting and fishing related. In any case, it’s worth a trip to the store just to see the aquarium, massive displays of animals, wildlife museum, and all the possibilities available for a multitude of outdoor adventures.
Sportsman’s Warehouse is a great local outfitter and scaled-down version of Cabela’s that is closer, less expensive and easier to visit. They have been increasing the quantity of their children’s clothing recently, and you can always find items that are good quality and well-suited for any outdoor activity. This is one of our favorite outfitters because of it’s value and convenience. Right off of I-17 and the 101, Sportsman’s is a good first stop when you begin your search to find gear for your kids.
There are many other retail chains and small local stores we love that have great clothing and gear for kids in the Phoenix area. Watch Ladybug’s Blog for more outfitter reviews and gear ideas!