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Review: Outdoor products for families this fall

POSTED: November 9, 2017 4:00 a.m.
Grant Olsen/

The upcoming holiday season will bring road trips and other adventures for many families.

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THE GREAT OUTDOORS — The summer road trip season may have come and gone, but that doesn’t mean family excursions are coming to a halt. Nearly 50 million Americans will hit the road for Thanksgiving this year, with tens of millions more also traveling during Christmas and New Year's.

Whether you’re driving south for a warm weather retreat with the kids or are literally driving over the river and through the woods to your grandmother’s house, it helps to be prepared. Here are some items that might be a good fit for your next outing.

ALPS Mountaineering Camp Creek 6

PRICE: $249

GRADE: A

This six-person tent is spacious enough to accommodate most families. It has a 10-foot by 10-foot base, and the steep walls ensure there’s plenty of room for cots and other sleeping gear.

The Camp Creek 6 has fiberglass poles that connect to steel uprights, hoisting the roof to 7 feet in the middle. So unless your name is Shawn Bradley, you can comfortably stand up inside the tent.

While the Camp Creek 6 is also available in a four-person version, the six-person offers the best bang for your buck. It’s big, sturdy and quite easy to set up. And because it has sealed seams on the floor and fly, you’ll be protected from foul weather.

Sposie Diaper Booster Pads

PRICE: $9

GRADE: A-

For parents of little ones, these diaper pads are an interesting option. Simply add them to your child’s diaper and they provide added leak protection. This is particularly helpful on long road trips when there might be inconsistent pit stops.

Sposie Booster Pads can actually hold up to 8 ounces of fluid, so they can make a big difference for your child. Plus, they’re designed to wick away moisture, resulting in less skin irritation.

Mountainsmith Mellow Meadow Blanket

PRICE: $99

GRADE: A-

Whatever the family activity, it’s usually helpful to have a blanket. In fact, most minivans in Utah probably have a blanket or two stashed in the back.

The rugged Mellow Meadow Blanket from Mountainsmith takes the usual utility of a blanket and elevates it to an impressive level. It’s part camping mat, part beach mat, part picnic blanket and part sleeping bag. And it’s big enough to give you 31 square feet of coverage.

The Mellow Meadow Blanket has a waterproof bottom panel and a microfiber top panel. And the 350g Hollowfill insulation inside delivers warmth when it’s needed and comfort all the time. The blanket has stake-out loops, and there’s a perimeter zipper that quickly converts it into a sleeping bag.

FUGOO GO Waterproof Speaker

PRICE: $69

GRADE: A

There are times on family trips when music makes all the difference. For example, it can help children stay engaged and pass the time. And, in the case of a breakdown, most children have special songs that will help them calm down.

For these reasons, an all-purpose speaker is a great idea for family outings. The GO speaker from FUGOO is one of the most affordable waterproof Bluetooth speakers on the market. It cranks out 360-degree sound and the Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery provides 10 hours of battery life.

There’s a mounting cord on this speaker, so you can securely attach it wherever you want. The speaker has two full-range drivers and two bass radiators and provides Bluetooth connectivity up to 100 feet. Plus, it’s drop-proof and 100- percent waterproof. So whether you’re at the pool, camping in the mountains or splashing around at the beach, this speaker is up to the task.

Fishpond Teton Rolling Carry-On

PRICE: $279

GRADE: A-

This versatile luggage is ideal because it’s smooth enough to roll through the airport, yet durable enough to be at home on trips that are off the beaten path. It’s specifically designed for anglers, with tackle storage and external fly rod straps, but it can be used for any kind of trip.

The Teton is made from super-tough 420d nylon that can really take a beating. And the compression molded bottom and ballistic accents on the high-abrasion areas help to resist damage and extend its lifespan.

Like any carry-on luggage, the Teton has a retractable handle for times you’ll be using the wheels. For outings on rough terrain, there’s a comfy rope handle for toting it around. And with a 45L interior capacity, it can hold enough gear for a wide array of trips or activities.

Mountainsmith Cooloir 24

PRICE: $139

GRADE: A

This tough little cooler is designed for extended cold storage, and it definitely delivers. You get up to 72 hours of cold, with nary a leak once the ice starts melting.

It’s lightweight, as a soft-sided cooler should be, while still delivering the toughness you’d expect from a hard-sided cooler. With nearly an inch of closed-cell EVA foam insulation, plus a seam-sealed outer construction made with TPU- and PU-coated 400d nylon, you get double-walled protection for your food and drinks.

Additional features include a removable interior cooler box, PU-sealed zipper, attached bottle opener, adjustable shoulder sling and a lifetime warranty.

BOB Rambler Stroller

PRICE: Varies by retailer

GRADE: A

The best road trip strollers can handle a wide array of terrain. Because whether you’re ambling around Disneyland or bumping along a mountain trail, your stroller should be able to keep up.

The Rambler is designed to do just this, with 12-inch air-filled tires on polymer wheels. The swiveling front wheel can also be locked for stability when you’re jogging and traveling at higher speeds. The adjustable suspension system is based on high-end mountain bikes, with coil spring and elastomer core shock absorbers that provide about 3 inches of wheel travel.

As with all BOB strollers, it’s got a super strong and lightweight frame. The aluminum alloy construction ensures that the stroller weighs only about 25 pounds. Yet, it can handle riders up to 75 pounds and has handy features like an extra-large UPF 50+ sun canopy, one-handed recline adjustment, huge cargo basket and extra-padded seat.
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