We want to help you find outdoor gear that is worth the investment. Finding comfortable, functionable gear can become expensive, and sometimes is not worth the price tag — especially when adventuring as a family. Getting out for the first time can be overwhelming just due to the fact of gear. We reached out to our explorer families to ask them what is one piece of gear they would suggest to new adventure families, and we’ve put their answers into a blog post for you, as well as some more price-friendly alternatives if there is some!

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1. Comfortable Hard-Sided Carrier

A comfortable, sturdy, hard-sided carrier was by far the most thing suggested. Here is what the families had to say: 

  • “A good, sturdy carrier is essential for getting out and adventuring with your little! Even if you don’t go big or expensive, soft carriers are great too. We LOVE our Osprey Poco AG Premium!” – @tam_neidich
  • “+1 on the Osprey Poco (we have the Plus model). We were gifted it when the twins were born and it somehow has survived our crazy through our youngest, too. Lots of storage, easy to use pop-out sunshade, sturdy, and solid when on the ground. A good carrier makes all the adventures happen for that first year or so!” – @mountainmama_amk
  • “I think that having a carrier with a pop-up shade and lots of storage pockets for water, snacks, sunscreen is important. I’m adding Life Straws to my pack, pocket knife, and a mini fire starter kit!” – @jennyleefoo
  • “Deuter kid comfort carrier. Hands down. Our son is almost 4 and we still use it all the time. Good in airports and grocery stores too!” -@jesscsproat
Osprey Poco Plus Child Carrier
Deuter Kid Comfort Child Carrier

2. A Fully-Stocked First-Aid Kit

  • “Never ever underestimate your need for a first aid kit and emergency supplies. You never know if something may happen on the trail. We have had our fair share of scrapes and bruises, and wasp stings and it has made me grateful that we have a lot in our bag. Thankfully nothing worse than that has happened on our hikes but we are always prepared, just in case” – @utahfamilytravels
Adventure Medical Kits

3. A Camera or GoPro

  • “We’ve been through many carriers. The Ergo 360 was great for the first few months (including some double carry hikes I wish I had photos of) but our Deuter served us through the longest time. Paired with my trekking poles and there was nowhere we couldn’t go! Now, we use a kinderpack or freeloader for when he gets tired since he has sized out of the Deuter. He can also still have his own pack with those carriers so he is learning to carry his own gear.
    100% honesty though, my favorite gear is my gopro bc I’m a photographer and I want to capture the best images on adventures – @califflifecreations”
GoPro Hero10 Black
GoPro Max Lens Mod

4. A Multi-Sport Chariot

  • “The multi-purpose sport chariot! I bought one only when my son became too heavy to be carried long distances but I wished I ‘d bought it much earlier!!! In winter is provides a “shelter-to-go” for my son’s nap, so I don’t have to worry anymore about cold, wind or bad postures… In summer goes behind the bike and has a mosquito net.. finally, it can be used as a trolley too. I am enthusiast about it – Barbara from @backpackingmoms”
  • “Thule Chariot Multisport it’s seriously one thing you will need. – @littleradadventure”
  • “Hard not to say carrier on this one, but our Kids Ride Shotgun seat brings everyone in our family so much joy! All 4 of us (dog included) are pumped every bike ride. Nellie, at 19 months, mostly smiles and says more, more, more! – @terra.yxe”
Thule Chariot
Kids Ride Shotgun Bike Attachment

5. Proper Winter Gear

  • “Good quality winter gear is a must! In Ontario we can get a LOT of snow so we always make sure we are prepared and have all the gear we need to keep us warm. – @withlove_duqettes”
  • “Hands down a full body bunting. We like the light weight ones for the PNW and put layers on underneath if needed. This is our 2nd year with a blue suit. It goes on walks, in the stroller, to the Park, on hikes! Basically like a full body jacket for kids! – @gallimore.family.adventures”
  • “No doubt a full body bunting for kiddos! We are on our second season with this one because the sleeves and feet can be rolled over for smaller children and rolled up to pair with boots and mittens. Keeping them warm (and full of snacks) makes for much smoother adventures. This is a versatile must have for cooler climates. It also doubles as a sleeping bag for cooler camping nights. – @itsthatgoodgood”
  • “Proper clothing! Especially warm gear for the winter. A full body bunting suit is so great for layering under and keeping kids warm! Sizing up definitely gives you the option to wear for multiple years and buying used isn’t a bad thing. Ours is second hand from a cousin and it is still basically brand new! – @kerrychasse”
Patagonia Fleece Bunting
Patagonia Down Bunting

6. Soft-Sided Carrier for the younger years

  • “We always needed and still need a carrier. We love our Babue Baby Carrier that was gifted to us. You can roll it up when you aren’t using it, so it’s perfect if you don’t need to carry your kiddo all the time. – @kufamba_thetravelingtribe”
  • “Our Ergo 360 and Solly wraps were great for the tiny stages too – @tam_neidich”
Ergo 360 Baby Carrier

7. Individual Backpacks and Hydration Packs

  • “Having a good hydration pack that is comfortable enough for our kids to carry themselves on longer hikes was a MUST for us when traveling through the western US earlier this year. My kid crew loves their SoJourner hydration packs and we make sure to keep the pockets stocked with hiking snacks! – @7wildhearts”
  • “Small backpack for the kids so they can start carrying their snacks and water – @lovelife_abroad”
Osprey Kid's Tempest Jr. 11L Pack (4-12yrs)
Osprey Moki 1.5L Kid's Hydration Pack

8. Hammock to relax in

  • “This is something that is fun. Hammocks rule the world for both adults and kids. Rocking is extremely soothing and we’ve all had many great naps and cuddles in ours. Plus they pack up easily and you can take them everywhere! – @alifemaspicante”
ENO DoubleNest 2-person Hammock
ENO Atlas Suspension Straps

9. Hiking Poles -- for both parents & littles!

  • “Hiking poles! They’ve saved us all from rolling an ankle or two, helped on a steep incline and kept us from falling in A LOT of rivers when crossing.”
Black Diamond First Strike Kids Trekking Poles

10. Proper Footwear

  • “Shoes with good support and traction — that could be a hiking shoe or boot or simply a supportive running shoe for walking. I personally love my Keen hiking shoes and boots for their support & grips, plus they’re waterproof, so I feel confident with every step I take carrying my baby on our hikes! – @tsliwk”
  • “The first thing that came to mind was a camera for the photo memories, not really gear but it’s where my soppy brain went. Aside from a comfy carrier for wee people, I’d say well fitting, comfy SHOES for everyone – they don’t need to break the bank but if you’re feet are sore, no one is gonna have a good time! Mine are Salomon (great for us in the tropics cause they’re breathable and light) my hubby wears La Sportivas and the kids are only 2 and 4 and don’t need fancy hiking shoes quite yet – just comfy ones that they love to wear and can wear comfortably for long hikes! Arlo’s have sharks and lights on them so he’s always stoked for hiking and the lights come in handy when its dark! We tried to pick ones with decent tread too so they’re not slippy! – @wildadventuremum”
Keen Little Kid's Targhee Hiking Boots
Keen Women's Targhee Mid Vent Hiking Boot

11. Mountaineering Helmet

  • “While a hard structured carrier is always #1 in my book, I ALWAYS want to add the need for a little mountaineering helmet! Especially when you’re tackling the big peaks with an 80% grade or hopping through boulder fields. You never know what could happen or when you might loose your footing, no matter how skilled a hiker/climber you are! When you have a living pack that can literally shift his weight from left to right on a really steep slope or when you’re in the air jumping from one boulder to another, having head protection for your little is a safe call. Even if you never need it, being safe is always the best move for your kiddo! – @harder_life”
Petzl Picchu Kid's Climbing Helmet

12. Satellite Communication Devices

  • “If you hike in areas where there is little to no service, having a satellite communicator can truly make or break an emergency situation. These devices can truly decide between a life or death situation if you are out alone. I highly suggest a Garmin InReach to anyone hiking outdoors.” – @michelle.outdoors
Garmin InReach Mini Satellite Communicator

Thank-you for following along with this week’s blog post contributed by Explorer Families and their great tips. What pieces of gear do you think are worth the investment?
Happy Exploring!

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