Although summer days are still months away, if you’re like me, your June-August calendar is probably pretty filled up. Between vacations, summer camp, out-of-town friends, overnights at grandmas, family events and camping trips, the calendar is booked with upcoming adventures. One thing I’ve learned about adventuring with kids:

The right gear can make all the difference.

This summer we’ll be adding two new pieces of gear for our 5-year-old adventurer – the Junior Backpack from Deuter and the expandable Big Dipper 30 sleeping bag from Kelty.

Deuter Junior Backpack – Whether it’s beach toys or library books, clothes for an overnight or a mountain of Legos, it’s an exciting phase when your kids get old enough to start carrying some of their own stuff. The Deuter Junior backpack is the perfect starter backpack. The 17″ x 9.4″ x 7.5″ frame is big enough to be useful but not so big as to overwhelm your child. Other features of the Deuter Junior include two mesh side pockets, two zippered front pockets, a “secret” zippered top pocket, chest strap, 3M reflector tape and S-shaped padded shoulder straps. Available in blue or green, my son is thrilled to be able to wear a “big boy backpack” and I’m thrilled that my bag just got lighter. (Available at Deuter for $39)

Kelty Big Dipper 30 – say sayonara to the kids growing out of this one for a while. The unique Big Dipper 30 sleeping bag fits kids from 4’4″ up to 5’4″ with an additional zip-out 12″ extension at the foot of the sleeping bag. While this mummy-style sleeping bag has many of the same standards as their adult sleeping bags (zipper draft tube, sleeping pad security loops, two-way zipper, pillow pocket), the Big Dipper 30 also comes with some kid-focused features like an integrated compression sack that won’t get lost and an elastic (instead of drawstring) hood for safety. My son is measuring almost 3 1/2 feet tall, so this sleeping bag will fit my son perfectly for the next year – and come the following year, when he’s probably shot up another two foot, I’ll be glad to know I just have to unzip the extension instead of buying a whole new bag. Available in blue and pink. (Available at Kelty for $69.99)

What gear makes traveling with your kids easier?


Disclaimer: Kelty and Deuter provided samples for this review.

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