Here’s a belated follow-up on one of the trends I noticed at Outdoor Retailer: more and more manufacturers of highly technical gear and apparel have begun making fully-featured kids’ versions of their signature products. This gear doesn’t just look like Mom’s and Dad’s, it functions just as well too. Here are just a few of the new products that caught my eye:
|Vasque Kids’ Sundowner hiking boots
Vasque has scaled down its signature hiker, the Sundowner, to fit the younger set. The Kids’ Sundowner features the same one-piece leather upper, lugged sole, padded ankle collar, and classic appearance as the adult version. Available in kids' sizes 10-13 and youth size 1-6, the Kids' Sundowner will retail for $60 and should be available in late summer 2008.
|Osprey Sprint Series backpacks
Osprey’s new internal frame backpacks for kids, the Ace (2,900 cubic inches, $149), Jib (2,100 cubic inches $129) and Imp (1,400 cubic inches, $99), feature the same construction and technical features as Osprey’s adult line, but are sized down and redesigned specifically for Junior’s proportions. The smallest pack, the Imp, can even be clipped onto many of Osprey’s adult packs (for those times Mom or Dad has to carry the load that last mile into camp). The Sprint Series packs will be available this spring.
|66° North kids’ outerwear
Iceland’s 66° North makes a surprisingly complete line of children’s outerwear. Many pieces in the adult line have direct descendants in the kids’ line, including waterproof-breathable outerwear and 66° North’s signature down insulation in kids’ proportions. Shown at left, the kids’ Askur ($130, available in mid-August) and adults’ Stormur ($336, available now) jackets are feature-for-feature nearly identical, from the Polartec WindPro Highloft fleece to details such as draw cords, pockets, and zippers. Many of the kids' models also have a feature the adult versions lack: reflective taping for increased visibility in low-light conditions.