There comes a time in all adventure families lives where the kids grow up and you they need to step up to the next level of gear. For Grace this was not just a matter of growing, but also growing up. Grace recently became more interested in carrying her own weight literally and figuratively when it camp to hiking and backpacking. To this end, away went the smaller day pack and in came her first real backpack.
As an active dad, trying to keep his family and especially his daughter engaged in the outdoors it is quite difficult sometime to find kid side gear that is worth the investment and will grow with your children until they are truly ready for the next step.
Bravo to the good people at Kelty for designing a line of packs designed specifically for kids or "Juniors" as they put it. The Juniors line is specifically designed to fit the pre-teenager and allow them to carry the pack potentially as mentioned till they are ready for the next transition. Grace has been carrying the Kelty LAKOTA Jr. 45L Backpack for two seasons and absolutely loves it. While she has grown over the seasons the pack has been easily adjusted to fit her and the added weight and gear she has desired to carry. She is quite the self-determined and independent lady.
Weight: 3 lb 5 oz / 1.5 kg
Capacity: 2750 cu in / 45 L
Hydration Compatible: Yes
Backpack Features: Included Rain Cover, Sleeping Bag Compartment, Top Loader
Material: 420D Polyester Ball Shadow
Water bottle pockets
Side compression straps
Lower compression and pad straps
Pack cover included
Large front pocket with organization
LightBeam single aluminum stay
HDPE frame sheet
AirMesh shoulder straps, waist belt, and lumbar
Dual density foam waist belt
Hipbelt stabilizer straps
Padded shoulder straps
Ventilating back panel
Torso Fit Range: 12 - 16 in / 30 - 40 cm
Waist Belt Fit Range: 25 - 39 in / 63 - 99 cm
Some of the features and specs that I as a dad really like in this pack for Grace is the durable material used on the pack. Kids are tough on things and a backpack is no exclusion. At this age, lightweight materials would not be the way to go given how hard they are on items. After extensive use, this pack has shown no tears, popped stitches or wear marks.
One of the other features that I think is quite a novel and nice features especially for kids on this pack is the handle on the back of the pack. This is quite uncharacteristic for backpacking backpacks and is more reminiscent of a duffel bag. Understand at this age, wearing a backpack with gear in it and the novelty of these new straps and buckles and buttons can be a lot of a youngster. The benefit of the handle helps when the youngster pick up a heavy bag when on the ground or more importantly helps pick it up to learn how to properly put on the pack without hurting themselves.
Grace loves the whistle on the sternum strap. While I know that most companies now have made this a standard feature of all packs. As a safety feature and as a parent always make sure that whistle is in good working order. Grace really likes the capability to decide between water bottle or a bladder. The Lakota Jr. comes standard with capability to house and the hose flap for the bladder. Prior to grace stepping up to this pack by Kelty, she was relegated to only bottles. She now feels like such a bigger girl having her own pack and bladder. As a dad, allowing her to have the bladder in the pack, means less stops on the trail for water breaks with the bladder.
Grace is an organization nut. She loves to have everything in it's place. The Lakota Jr. gives Grace the flexibility to put things where she wants them and ensures she doesn't lose something while on trail. Grace enjoys all the top pockets, base zippers allowing easy access into the main body of the pack and bottom compartment for her sleeping bag (also a Kelty product!).
A couple of tips for fitting your child for a pack:
For more information about Ketly's Warranty Service - Click Here
For more information about Kelty's Return Policy - Click Here
Kelty continues to make a great line of other kid designed packs suitable for your pre-teen. Check out the RedCloud Junior Pack.
Keep Hiking Forward!
Scott & Grace
The review of the Keen Chandler CNX is a fruit of cooperation with SoleLabz.com, website reviewing top rated hiking shoes, boots and sandals.
Keen - the company
Keen company started out firmly set on developing a hiking sandal that also offers toe protection. Their signature toe-covering black thick bumper was thus born. This happened in 2003, and they’ve been growing ever since by not just making some of the best hiking sandals out there, but by broadening the scope of high-quality footwear they manufacture.
In 2003, they were named “Launch of the Year” by Footwear News making them the new hot brand. In 2006, they relocated their headquarters to Portland, Oregon and got Kirk Richardson joining them after a 27-year career in Nike’s management. Salomon’s ex CEO James Curleigh joined them in 2008, and big names and achievements just became too hard to keep track of ever since.
Let’s take a look at what Keen says about Chandler CNX
The upper of the CNX is synthetic mixed with breathable mesh, ensuring light weight and optimal performance.
Toes are protected at all times by sturdy rubber rand. The model offers plenty of flexibility, and it locks the foot inside thanks to the secure lacing capture system. Collar and tongue are well-padded for extra cushioning. They also feature pull-out loops for easier on/off.
A contoured arch provides your little ones with superior mid-foot support. Outsoles are non-marking with multi-directional lugs, giving superior traction and making the shoe more durable.
- Breathable mesh lining
- Contoured arch for added midfoot support
- Lightweight performance mesh and synthetic upper
- Multi directional lug pattern for increased traction
- Non-marking rubber outsole
- Reverse strobel construction provides streamlined interior
- Secure fit lace capture system
Mine and Grace's initial thoughts
This is the first review in which we will be utilizing our new Hiking Forward Review system. The system is based on a five star review measurement, however we just use hiking boots instead of stars.
Grace has been wearing the shoes for a couple of weeks. We will continue to update our thoughts as she engages in multiple activities in them and time generally passes. We were both excited to find out that there are some hiking related shoes out on the market for Grace. At her age and size there is a limited supply of quality footwear for outdoor activities that is above and beyond normal sports. Keen to the rescue. Both Grace and I are quite familiar with Keen and their product line as all of us in the family can be found from April through October in Keens.
Keen is a company we already know and trust, so giving these shoes a try was not a hard sell for either Grace of I. Immediately you can tell from the material and stitching that the shoes are very well made and so far have no signs of wear that have caused defects in the manufacturing of the shoes. Grace is extremely hard on her sneakers. Her sneakers typically are worn out from the punishment she provides versus the soles giving out. While it have only been a few short weeks of Grace trying these shoes I doubt that the quality will diminish over time. Our initial quality rating is:
Without hesitation the first words out of Grace's mouth upon getting the shoes on was about how comfortable they were. She even mentioned this after our first initial hike in the shoes, when typically on the same route in other shoes she complains of her feet hurting. This along his a huge success in my book. Nothing will end an afternoon family jaunt in the woods then one the kids complaining about feet problems because they don't have the proper footwear, This is not their fault or yours. The availability of proper footwear for non-sport related is extremely sparse. The mesh top of the shoe allows for extreme breath-ability which enhances the comfort of the user in warmer temps. The traditional non-tie laces allow for easy on and easy off instead of having to take the time to tie up or untie when done with your adventuring. Our initial comfort rating is:
While it is hard to test true durability after only a few weeks of testing, we know that the shoes are well made and are a quality shoe. Our history and general awareness of Keen and their other footwear products that we have worn for years have lasted well longer then they should have. We both would be extremely amazed if durability of the shoe would be an issue. The protected Keen toe-box is a great feature of all Keen shoes but as a Dad, this is a great feature for the kids who tend to not look down when hiking.
Because of our initial experience with this shoe we believe it to be an immense value for parents of an outdoor minded child looking for proper footwear for hiking, camping or non-sport related outdoor activities. Our initial durability rating is:
Stay tuned as Grace continues to put these Keen Chandler CNX's to the test.
Keep Hiking Forward!
Scott & Grace
Grace wanted to be a part of the final test of the Tribe Provisions Adventure Hammock because I have been using this awesome hammock every week for the past many weeks at her soccer practice. (see pics below)
It's amazing how much nicer soccer practice is when you have two nice sturdy trees and a great hammock to hang in.
So lets throw a few things out there. I am a firm believer in quality gear, but also don't believe you need spend and arm and a leg for it.
Tribe Provisions doing both of these thing quite well. This is a quality hammock and it won't break the bank. For some, hammocking is somewhat of a new concept and idea. People are just more familiar with sleeping on the ground, I guess. Silly people! Hammocks are for everybody!
Hanging this hammock cant' be simpler and it comes with the ropes necessary for hanging it. Listen up folks, a hammock and straps (which you normally have to buy separately) can run you near $80-$100. No wonder hammocking is off limits or not in the cards for some. This hammock for $29.99 comes with everything you need to either just hang out at the park and read a book, lay and take a nap while car camping or start to seriously consider hammock camping/backpacking.
Prior to purchasing some gear we all have tribulations about pulling the trigger. We wonder, am I really going to use this? Is it worth the money? Will it last?
If you have never hung out in a hammock, my friends you don't know what you are missing. For those of you that have, I am sorry you spent so much money on your hammock. For what you spent on your hammock you could have bought everyone in your family a Tribe Provisions Adventure Hammock.
Hammock Specs: (from Tribe Provisions)
Keep Hiking & Hammocking Forward!
I am going to go on a backpacking trip with my dad and dog "Boston" soon. I will be reviewing my new sleeping bag and backpack from Kelty. We will not be gone long, just one night. Dad said we will hike two miles to our campsite and then hike out in the morning after breakfast. It is a loop hike he said.
I am so excited to spend the day backpacking and the night in our tent with Boston. We will be going to a place that my Dad said I have been before to backpack, but I don't remember it because I was only two or three the last time I was there. The campground and hiking trail is in Western Illinois.
As soon as it gets warmer and the snow melts we are going to pack up my backpack with my sleeping bag and gear and start walking at night to get used to it in the park near our house.
When we get to camp I am going to help Dad set up our camp. This is what it will look like.
As my Dad always says...
Keep Hiking Forward!
Grace and Gabby got together today to create of list of the top 10 best things an outdoor kid could love to receive from Jolly Ole Saint Nick this year. Grace took charge of creating list and detailing why these items are very important for young adventurers like to have when out camping or hiking. Gabby, helped Grace in creating the list and drew all the pictures of the items (shown below).
I hope you enjoy the list and the reasons these girls think these items are necessary.
Like our our Daddy always says...
Keep Hiking Forward!
Grace & Gabby
Today, was my first day at Ecology Camp. Ecology Camp is located at Lincoln Memorial Garden, here in Springfield, Illinois. Ecology camp is a nature camp where you hike and learn about the different habitats that animals live in. Today, we learned about woodlands, prairies, wetlands and savanna habitats.
At Ecology Camp we need to bring the following items:
A towel &
We need our notebook and colored pencils because our counselors want use to take time during the day to sketch things in the woods that we like. Maybe later in the week my dad can take pictures of my drawings to share with you. We need a towel and water shoes because during the week we will go into Lake Springfield which is near the Lincoln Memorial Garden to learn more about the creatures in the wetlands.
That's all for now, and I hope to write on Friday when Ecology Camp is over.
And like my Daddy always says...
Keep Hiking Forward
Hi, my name is Grace and I am nine years old. This is me and my dad, Scott. This is us after we recently ran our second Girls on the Run 5k a few weeks ago. Tomorrow, is my last day of third grade. I will be moving on to fourth grade in the fall. My summer will be filled with all sorts of camps. I will be attending camps with my little sister Gabby and my friend Ava. I will be attending various camps such as, an Acting Camp called PAVE, Art camp, and Ecology camp.
In addition spending my days at these camps I hope to spend time with my family doing fun activities such as swimming, camping, hiking, bike riding, canoeing and much more. Last summer we went on vacation and dug for clams in New England and climbed Mt. Monadnock which is in Jaffrey, New Hampshire. It was very cool to go and hike Mt. Monadnock because there were lots of blueberries that we could eat and they were very sweet. It was also very special to go and hike on Mt. Monadnock because that is where my daddy proposed to my mommy. We also spent a lot of time kayaking with family in New Hampshire, I love to kayak!
This summer I hope to have as much fun as I did last year doing all the wonderful things that we as a family love to do. I will continue to be in contact when I have my first summer adventure, so please stay tuned.
As my daddy says...
Keep Hiking Forward
As you may know I have two young daughters. Grace is 7 and Gabby will be 5 very soon. Both girls love the outdoors and have experienced them from a very young age. Grace in particular has taken a special liking to nature, animals and being outdoors and would like to share her experiences just like her dear ole dad does. So, today begins the first of what will be a very often and interesting segment on HikingForward.com "Grace's Adventures". Grace is very excited to share her experiences, her new knowledge as well as her gear likes and dislikes with other like minded boys and girls out there. We hope you enjoy!
Keep Hiking Forward.
Hi my name is Grace. I am seven years old. I want to share some stuff with you. Today I went hiking with my dad. Today was sunny and mild. We saw a huge cliff and deep river. We saw a bunch of trees that were laying on the ground. My dad explained why the trees were all over the place. The reason why was because the river floods sometimes and causes the trees to fall. We saw a couple trees bending like a rainbow and we walked under them. After that we sat on the side of the cliff and ate our granola bars and drank our water. I got to use my new backpack from REI that I got for Christmas today. I like that there are little secrets pockets to keep my stuff safe in my new backpack. I have a hiking stick that I used today that has many badges from the Great Smoky Mountains, Shenandoah and Acadia National Parks as well as the Appalachian Trail. I love my hiking stick. After the hike we went to go find a geocache in the park where we hiked. The geocache we found was big and had a trackable it in that we took and will move on our next hiking trip.
I hope other junior rangers are outdoors and I would love to answer any questions that little or big junior rangers would like to ask me.
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