The Best New Gear for Active Families

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The annual Outdoor Retailer Summer Market wrapped up yesterday in Salt Lake City, and Raising Rippers prowled the aisles to find the best new adventure gear for active families and kids. Here are six wow-worthy goodies.

The company that made its name making bike trailers is launching its first toddler balance bike. With an adjustable seat post and handlebar stem, the diminutive myKick is sized for tiny riders and can grow with your ripper. Firm, no-pump tires won’t puncture under pressure, but are still forgiving on rough, uneven surfaces. Nice touch: The glossy, graphic-free paint job in summer green, cotton candy pink, and fire-truck red gives it the streamlined, high-end look of an adult ride. $129;

I’m all for active pregnancies, but I have to admit that the world’s first maternity climbing harness for expecting mamas stopped me in my tracks: good idea or bad? Mountain Mama founder Teresa Delfin, who climbed through her first pregnancy, assuaged my skepticism by telling me it’s strictly for top roping, where risk and consequence of falling is much lower than when you’re lead climbing. Co-designed by the gear gurus at Mad Rock, with a full-body harness that won’t dig into the belly and padded leg loops, this is the one—and, not surprisingly, only—harness made specifically for your baby bump. Like all Mountain Mama products, it’s made in the U.S.; still in prototype mode, but should be available in spring 2013. Start 'em young! $120;

Ever since BPA got a bad rap, there’s been no shortage of aluminum water bottles on the market, but this kid-friendly one caught my eye for its snazzy designs and cool new top, which features a long straw and a rotary valve with four settings: close, air, open, and clean. In close mode the 0.4-liter bottle is totally drip-proof; even in open mode your kid will have to work hard to make it spill. If he’s sipping anything with even a little fizz, like Nuun’s no-sugar electrolyte drink, switching it to air mode for a few seconds will release some pressure so the effervescence won’t blast him in the face. In clean, the top’s lid snaps off for easy sterilization. The lightweight, durable bottle is dishwasher safe and comes tricked out with tiger, dinosaur, and Hello Kitty graphics. $22.99;

Both my daughters spent what felt like their entire first year of life wedged into a canvas Ergo Baby Carrier while I hiked the trails near our Santa Fe home. No question, the comfy pack was the MVP of new babydom, but the heavy cotton material became a sweat factory in summer and was bulky for traveling. Thank goodness for the Boba Air, which is made from super-light nylon, can carry baby front or back, distributes weight evenly over the hips, and (barely) tips the scale at a mere 0.7 pounds. A nylon hood provides shade for your little stowaway on hot days, and the whole carrier stuffs into its own nylon pocket. $65;

Energy bars that don’t contain sugar or a dozen unrecognizable ingredients are as rare as a snow bank in August. Fortunately, there’s a new option for parents who don’t want to jack up their outdoor rippers with extra sugar: Kit’s organic fruit and nut bars from Clif. Available in cashew and berry almond, the gluten- and dairy-free bars contain only a handful of simple, healthy ingredients, including the admittedly unrecognizable bilberry, which, with further research, turns out to be a smaller version of a blueberry. $17.99 for a box of 12;

When you’ve just gotta get out of the house and run for the hills, these sassy compression socks will instantly put you in a better mood. The black-and-white stripes are poppy in a jailbreak kind of way, but a pair of pink knee-high hearts is what sealed the deal. Styled as footed socks, they won’t ride up or sag down during long runs, but are lightweight enough so your feet won’t wind up in a pool of sweat. $32;

—Katie Arnold

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