My family spends a lot of time outdoors and we’ve tried and tested a lot of different brands of hiking gear, rain gear, hiking shoes and more; therefore, I’ve compiled a list of the best outdoor gear that we recommend for successful adventures with your family.
Hiking Shoes / Boots:
Our favourite hiking shoes are from Columbia and Keen. Both brands offer affordable hiking boots and shoes that are comfortable and long lasting. Our kids have been hiking better since upgrading from running shoes to proper hiking boots. I prefer hiking boots over hiking shoes since they provide a lot of ankle support. We use the Big Kids Newton Ridge waterproof hiking boots for our eldest and we love them. You’ll find them here. Our youngest wears his big brothers old Keen hiking boots that are still in fantastic condition. They are called Little Kids Targhee Waterproof Boots, which you’ll find here. We have been using Keen boots up until now and we were very happy with them. We bought Columbia boots this year to try out a new brand and we’re very happy with them as well.
A helpful tip when buying hiking shoes/ boots: always buy at least one size bigger than you would with other shoes. Feet tend to swell when you’re hiking so it’s best to have extra room to account for that. My kids both wear hiking shoes that are 1.5- 2 sizes bigger. For example: my eldest is wearing a size 3 hiking boot and he typically wears a size 1.5 shoe. My youngest is currently wearing a size 12 hiking boot and he usually fits size 10 shoes. I hope this helps you find the right fit.
I’m currently wearing Columbia hiking boots as well and I really love them. I have the women’s Newton Ridge hiking boot in Elk and Mountain Red. They are on sale right now for $79.95! You can find them on columbia.com. I bought my hiking shoes 1.5 sizes bigger than my usual shoe size.
When it comes to rain jackets, rain pants and muddy buddies we’ve tried so many different brands. Unfortunately, a lot of rain jackets we’ve had in the past aren’t great for our very wet weather we get here in Vancouver, B.C.
We typically buy rain jackets from MEC and we’ve been quite happy with their gear up until now. Unfortunately, this year they were sold out of everything by July so I had to look elsewhere for rain gear.
When looking for rain jackets we always check these three things: fully taped seams, 100% waterproof coating and a large hood to ensure they are fully covered. I looked everywhere for a rain jacket that checked all of these off but I couldn’t find one that was affordable until I remembered about Jan & Jul outdoor gear. Their jackets definitely checked off all of our criteria and they look adorable too. I’m honestly so impressed with the quality and affordability of their gear.
Another bonus is that Jan & Jul rain jackets are lined with fleece so they are great for winter. We chose rain pants that have fleece lining in them as well since the temperature is starting to drop. They will be perfect for snow days and will help keep my little guy cozy and warm on those extra cold days. I’m very impressed with how generous the sizing is with everything in comparison to other brands. My son has lots of room to grow in his jacket length, sleeves, and pant length which is fantastic. He’s four years old and he’s in a size 5 jacket and a size 5 pants. There’s a lot of room to grow in both. I also love that they are a Vancouver based company and that they have rain gear that fits children ages 1-10 years. Take a peek at everything they offer on janandjul.com.
Jan & Jul is offering 10% off your purchase with this promo code: braveandfree10
For our eldest we found a The North Face Youth Mix and Match Triclimate Shell on sale for our eldest on thenorthface.com. This rain jacket is 100% waterproof, with fully taped seams and it has a large hood. This jacket is a shell jacket so we will be layering with a fleece underneath once the temperature gets cooler.
Our favourite rain boot we’ve been using for over 5 years are Kamik Snobuster Boots. They are considered snow boots, but we use them as rain boots all year round. They are insulated with a thermal liner that we take out in the spring and use an insole instead. You will find more info here at Kamik.
Jan & Jul also has some great rain boots and Toasty Dry Lite Winter Boots that you’ll find here.