Margot is now 3 years old, and Woods is about to turn 2. The time has flown! We’ve been on a few adventures while slinging along babies, and all their baby stuff. The most important aspect of bringing kids along in the outdoors, is transport! How are you going to get a 9 month old to the top of that mountain? How do you plan on running with toddlers? Family bike rides sound fun, but what if my kids are too small to ride a bike? How am I going to carry all their baby gear? I’ve compiled a short list of my favorite adventure mom gear for awesome family adventures, either in the city or on the mountain.
Keep in mind, baby/children’s gear is expensive! Many of these items can be found on the cheap at yard sales, thrift stores, consignment shops, or on sale. Diligence is important if you want to keep the costs down. Scour those Facebook sales pages, craigslist listings and browse thrift/consignment stores often.
One consideration that did not cross my mind when buying baby gear for Margot was the prospect of having a second child shortly after the first. I had zero foresight that I’d need double-everything because I had two kids close together. That really put a wrench into things when I suddenly needed a double jogging stroller, a second hiking carrier, etc. So I recommend having a 5 year plan for having kid(s), it will make your baby gear purchases much more streamlined, and avoid unforeseen expenses.
BABY WEARING – THE SOFT STRUCTURED CARRIER:
I really love my Ergo Baby Carrier. I had one with Margot, but I didn’t use it long because I got pregnant quickly after having her. The belt on the Ergo was uncomfortable on my baby bump, and so I sold it, only to re-buy it after I had my second child. It’s a great carrier for nature walks, short hikes, and grocery store trips. You’ll also remember I love my Sakura Bloom Ring Slings – those are great for quick-ups, city trips, and daily use. They also allow for pregnant mamas to carry their babies comfortably! They are not, however, great for hiking or long distance walks because they don’t distribute weight as well as the Ergo does. I have the original, but wish I had opted for the performance, which provides better wicking for those hot sweaty hikes.
Again, buy used! These things are considerably cheaper used, and many of them have seen hardly any use.
BABY WEARING – THE HARD STRUCTURED CARRIER:
We don’t own this particular Osprey model. We have an old REI version of this that we picked up at a yard sale for $25. Trust me, that’s the way to go! Don’t spend retail dollars on a hard structured carrier. For most city folks, hikes in the mountain are few and far in between. If you plan to hit the trails every weekend, by all means, grab yourself a brand new carrier. Otherwise, check out yard sales, sales pages, and consignment stores for one of these. You can expect to pay anywhere from $25-100 for a used one (versus $250 brand new). It’s worth it for those long hikes with heavier kids.
Strollers are a tough area, you’ll need different ones for different purposes. What you purchase will ultimately depend on whether or not you’ll have two children close in age (0-2.5 years age difference). For simplicity purposes, let’s assume you’re having two children relatively close in age. This was my experience.
ALL-PURPOSE STROLLER FOR TWO KIDS:
A note on click-in car seat stroller systems: they’re handy but they’re actually rather impractical long-term. You’ll end up buying a convertible car seat later on down the line when they’re about 11 months old, so skip the click-in, and get the convertible car seat right off the bat! Wear your baby when you run errands, and you’ll save tons of shopping cart space.
We have the Delta double umbrella stroller that is so handy for outings in big crowds. My husband has said many times that it was the best stroller investment we made – and we happened to score ours from Sears on clearance for $45. They’re currently on Amazon for $89.
If your baby is too small to ride in the double umbrella stroller (at 6 months old they typically have enough head control to do so), no problem – wear them in your Ergo. It’s no big expense to buy a cheap single umbrella stroller to cart around one child while you babywear, or one single child. Trust me on this one! You’ll be bonding with your baby, and you’ll be burning some extra calories carrying around your little one, or saving money by not buying into the click-in car seat system (we had the Britax system – $$$).
SPORT STROLLER FOR TWO KIDS:
I didn’t run much with my Single Bob Revolution Stroller when I had only Margot. Again, I was pregnant again when she was 9 months old — it was also winter in Alaska. Not many opportunities to take the stroller out. Many people swear by their bob double strollers, and I wish I had the serious dough to drop on one! We unfortunately had already gone through so many strollers already, and didn’t have the money to throw down on a Double Bob AND a bike trailer. So we opted to sell our single bob, and purchase the much less expensive double bike trailer/jogger combo– the Weehoo WeGo ($230). We saved roughly $600 by opting for combining the two (money that was better spend on cycling gear). It also takes up much less space in the garage!
I’ve put maybe 75 miles on my Weehoo WeGo jogger, and it does a fine job. Steering is difficult when the front wheel is locked, but when the front wheel is unlocked, there is terrible oscillation over bumps. I don’t think the Bob has these issues, but again, it all comes down to price. Serious runners who log 20+ miles per week, WITH children, or opulently wealthy people, yes, get the Bob. Everyone else, think twice about how much you’re willing to spend on something you may not use much. Injuries, inclement weather, and a variety of other factors might reduce the use you’ll get out of it. I’m currently training for dualthons and triathlons, and it’s summer in Alaska, so my jogger/trailer is getting a lot of use this year.
And the beauty of the WeeHoo WeGo is that it adapts to fit either one or two children! So no need to have a single bob, then a double bob, plus a bike trailer. This one unit does it all.
DIAPER GEAR BAG:
I had the Skip Hop Diaper bag, but found it useless for two kids who needed extra stuff, and it bothered me that it was only useful as a ‘diaper’ bag. I noticed that more seasoned mothers (with 2+ kids) didn’t have diaper bags, they used other multi-purpose bags to cart around their stuff. That was pretty brilliant to me, so I sold my diaper bag, and bought a used Lululemon Gym Bag on Ebay. Now that my kids don’t need breastfeeding accessories, backup outfits, burp rags etc, I use the bag to cart around my fitness gear, or I use it as a weekend bag. Luluemon bags are also great if you have a Babywearing or Mommy and Me Yoga class in your area (most of the bags have mat dividers). I used to take my kids to Babywearing Yoga classes before they started running amok and made too much noise and pierced the serenity one-too-many times. Anyway, these types of classes are a great way to get additional use out of your Ergo!
This bag is the modern equivalent to the bag I have, at least in dimensions and color. You can find older versions, and used bags on sites like Ebay, Poshmark, and Mercari. For reference, I paid $55 for mine.
I hope this guide will help steer you in the right directions when buying baby adventure gear, and in a way that your bank account will appreciate. Those first few years are so expensive, without the added cost of unnecessary gear! And to see some of these in action, follow me on Instagram! @thatyeayealife