Sunday, 11 August 2013

Children`s clothing and equipment

Children`s Clothing and Equipment

          Earlier this week I picked up the latest copy of TGO magazine which had a special on going outdoors with your kids, something I would encourage whole heartedly, however one particular article really did make me angry and it was an article on the equipment that the writer recommended for children and whilst it is of course part of a magazine job to recommend equipment there are alternatives to what has been suggested.
          
TGO article 

So what has made me so angry? well quite simply its the price, all the items you see on the page above in total cost £445.50 and thats for only about half the equipment you really need plus the fact that your children will grow out of it at least once a year, now I`m not a parent but even to me this seems a little steep, so what is actually recommended in the article and how much does each item cost? for this I will take full retail price as correct on date of publication.
          
          Kozi Kids technical waterproofs (£55) 
          Keen protection for little feet sandals (£45)
          Fjallraven Kanken rucksack (£50)*
          Camelbak Eddy Kids Bottle (£15)*
          Patagonia Baby Sun Bucket Hat (£23)
          Petzl Tikkina 2 headtorch (£18)*
          Littlelife Cross terrain Child carrier (£150)
          Craghopper Mila Tee (£20)
          Skogstad Down Jacket (£52)
          Pacific Baby Insulated milk bottle (£17.50)

         The items marked with an asterisk don`t have to be exclusively used by children and can be passed on down the line.

          Whilst I would be the first the to admit that the items above are most probably of a better quality can you really justify £400 a year? so what are the alternatives and is it not false economy? well as for the false economy there is an argument for both cases, £400 for quality equipment that will last and you`ll probably only buy once but what happens when your child grows out of those items, you`re straight back to square one and spending another £400. whereas spending less does mean less quality but if your child grows out of the clothing before the jacket is worn out (not including tears or losses) has it not done what it was designed to do?
          As for alternatives there are a few on the market and just for a little bit of fun I`ll set myself a budget of £200 (not including a budget for a child carrier) and see just how much I could potentially get for the money. Again I will take full retail price as correct on date of publication.

Mountain Warehouse

          Mountain Warehouse has a number of waterproofs on offer for children for £60 or less, the one that stands out for me though is the Chuckle jacket at £33.99 and the Spray trousers at £35.99

 Mountainlife Kid's Spray Waterproof Trousers    


          Sandals from Mountain Warehouse look surprisingly like the Teva`s recommended by the writer but cost considerably less at £29.99.

  Mountainlife Kid's Shore Walking Shandals
          A comparable rucksack from Mountain Warehouse in terms of size is the walkabout 12, a 12 litre rucksack which is also hydration system compatible and should be more than enough to carry everything needed for a low level day walk and costs £24.99 



          A water bottle from Mountain Warehouse suitable for children is the 0.3 sports bottle kids with an owl design, although I personally think 0.3 litre is too small for kids and would actually say to go for something slightly bigger. (£7.99)

0.3L Sports Bottle Kids Owl

          £7.99 gets you a comparable hat.

Mountain Warehouse Reversible Kids Bucket Hat

          And £9.99 get you a similar head torch

 Outdoor Essentials 5 LED Head Torch
          The Talus base layer is the closest Mountain Warehouse make to the Craghoppers base layer but of course is much cheaper at £16.99 (this is for the short sleeve which I could only find in white)

Mountain Warehouse Talus Kid's Short Sleeved Round Neck Top

          As for the insulated jacket Mountain Warehouse stock the Khuno jacket which although is a pure synthetic jacket still represents good value for money, the other bonus to this jacket is being a synthetic jacket is more hard wearing and durable and less susceptible to water damage.

 Kid's Khuno Padded Jacket

          Total spend at Mountain Warehouse £207.91

Millets/Blacks

          whilst I am not the biggest fan of the Peter Storm Adult range when it comes to the childrens range I do recommend it, as it usually represents good value for money, is robust and has a wide range of sizes from 3/4 years old right through to extra small and small in adults.
          THE KIT Boys waterproof jacket retails at £30 and is very good value at this price, being waterproof, breathable and having an interactive zip as well,


the torrent waterproof trousers complement the jacket and are fully waterproof as well. (£10)


          the Troos sandals although not offering the same toe protection as the Keen Sandals are a decent pair of sandals that provide excellent grip in the wet and are made from a water repellent material improving the life of these sandals. (£20)

Boy's Troose Sandals


          Although Millets/Blacks don`t do a specific kids water bottle (with the exception of the Camelbak bottle) any water bottle can be used for the purpose as long as its big enough, about half a litre and the 0.75 litre water bottle fits this perfectly, being made for tough plastic its unlikely to break and will fit quite happily in most side pouches of a rucksack, you could probably decorate the outside to make each bottle individual as well if you needed to. (£8)

0.75L Plastic Bottle
          Again Millets/Blacks don`t make specific bags for children but there are a few within the range that can be used by them all with various different features and using bright colours that kids like, the four that I have chosen are no bigger than 20 litres and cost no more than £25

Axten 20L Daypack
Regatta Axten 20L (£20)

Dublin 15L Daysack
Highlander 15L (£9)

10 Litre Stone Daysack
Vango 10L stone (£15) also available in blue

BLKS Sonic 18 Mid Blue 0
Blacks Sonic 18L (£25)

          Hats are included in the Peter Storm Kids range and come a variety of different guises, from standard caps through to mini river ranger hats and prices from £5 to £12 


Boy's Texas Baseball Cap
Mini River Ranger Hat

          Again each of these hats has a different advantages and disadvantages to them and ultimately the choice is yours.
          Ironically the cheapest headtorch I could find was the Tikkina 2 by petzl at £20
          Unfortunatly Millets/Blacks don`t stock Kids Technical T shirts, they do however stock a wide range of insulated jackets and fleeces, as mentioned above THE KIT boys fleece is interactive with the jacket and forms an extra thick and bulky jacket when put together, (£15)
Boy's Fleece
          The insulated jackets are not interactive but some are packable and they are made from synthetic material meaning increased durability and resistance to the damp. prices start from £20 for a full jacket

Boy's Packable Insulated Jacket

Total spend at MIllets/Blacks £125 (£145 including Tikkina 2)

Go Outdoors

          As one of the UK`s biggest outdoor suppliers Go Outdoors would naturally have a wide range of children`s clothing and equipment at a reasonable price, this prices here are full and do not take into account the discount card.

           The Hi Gear Rainpod Jacket retails at £15.99 and like the other jackets mentioned in this blog is fully waterproof and breathable, it isn`t however interactive.


Black
          To complement the jacket Hi Gear offer the Stowaway Children`s overtrousers at £25 and whilst these are fully waterproof they are not breathable which is something you will need to consider





          Go Outdoors stock the usual array of brands when it comes to Kids footwear and are all priced within the same price range of £20-£30, the example shown below are the Freedom Trail Fabric Sandals which retail at £20.

          Go Outdoors do not stock specific children`s water bottles and the cheapest bottle I can find is the Camelbak Podium at £8.99


          There are nine childrens rucksacks on offer at Go Outdoors ranging in price from £10.99 through to £24.99, the one I have chosen below is the Hi Gear Champ 10 at £10.99, with 10 litres of storage capacity within multiple pockets. 


Champ 10 Children's Daysack


          Once again when it comes to sunhats Go Outdoors has a wide range to choose from ranging from £4.99 to £18, the majority of them are based on legionnaire style caps. the one below cost £8


          where Go Outdoors really excels in kids clothing is with the amount of fleeces on offer, with separate sections for lightweight, mid weight and heavyweight fleeces (which also includes down and synthetic down jackets) prices start from £10 for a basic micro fleece and go up to £40 for an padded gilet, the microfleece below is a simple crew neck but could be used to teach the layering system

Black 

Total spend at Go Outdoors, £122.97

          As can be seen it is possible to equip your children for considerably less than £400 with the same equipment in the article (not including child carrier) normally at this point I would say As with all outdoor equipment personal preference is key to any decision you make, however in this case pester power will probably mean you end up with the prettiest one or the coolest one. 

Follow the link below to go to the Lone Wolf Mobile Bushcraft website.
www.lwbcfs.com

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