Gear Guide: Back to School 2012

Keen Alamosa WP

It’s that time again.  Get ready for school.  Some of you are already in the swing of things, and some still have a few weeks to shop for school.  No matter what stage you are in, this article is worth the read.  At the Summer Outdoor Retailer we were able to talk to several companies about new and great products for your children to wear to school and everywhere else.  Here is a list of our favorites.

Shoes –

sam_keenKeen Alamosa WP

The Alamosa is a great shoe for almost anything.  My son wore them for the first time to the zoo and I heard no complaints.  There are a few really great things about this shoe that save time for busy Mom’s.  The shoelaces are simply a bungee.  There is no tying the shoe and it is very easy for your child to figure out how to loosen and tighten the bungee.  Other great features are the durability, comfort, and all around great look of the shoe.  I had been nervous to let my son wear these shoes before school knowing how beat up shoes get the first time they are worn, not a problem here.  They look like new.  No scuffs or dents.  They will look great for months because they are so durable.  I also heard no complaining about his feet hurting.  My son is 5 and any type of discomfort is generally voiced repeatedly, but nothing about his feet.  What a compliment for a shoe.  Lastly, the shoe looks great!  It is the type of shoe that would match most anything so the expense is worth every penny.  You’ll pass this shoe down through all your kids before it looks worn out.  At only $65 the Alamosa is a great buy for boys and girls alike!


• Activities: Playground, School, Trails and Parks, Puddles

• Type: Shoes, Lace Up

• Weather: Wet – waterproof

• Gender: Boys, Girls

• Lining: Moisture wicking textile

• Upper: Leather and textile

• Rubber: Non-marking rubber outsole

• Non-marking rubber outsole

• Secure fit lace capture system

• Waterproof breathable membrane

• Waterproof leather and textile upper!jester%20red

hay_keen1Keen Darby Boot

Let your little lady be a trendsetter in the Darby boot. The leather upper gives way to a flannel collar that’s hip and fun. Meanwhile, the sturdy outsole stands up to a full day of play.   Look forward to a review soon.   A great boot for a great price.  $70 retail at


• Activities: City Streets, Playground, School

• Type: Slip-on, Boots

• Lining: Moisture wicking textile

• Upper: Leather and textile

• Rubber: Non-marking rubber outsole

• Leather and textile upper

• Medial side zipper for easy on and off

• Non-marking rubber outsole

Sunglasses –

RKS (Real Kids Shades) has a great selection of sunglasses for kids of every age.  The great thing about their sunglasses is their durability.  My favorite was the RKS flex (flex duo), rubber frames so they don’t break.  The best part is the price, only $14.99 (ages 3-7).  Check it out for yourself at

rks_flexRKS Flex Duo

As an alternative to banded sunglasses we made the Flex Duo. These sunglasses have classic temples and fashion-forward two-tone coloring. The frames are super flexible so they’ll survive all the twists and turns of kid life without breaking. Flex, as in flexible


Rubberized frames, so kids can’t snap them in two. Bendable is good.

Small but important differences: Sleek boy shapes and bigger, Jackie-O style girl shapes.

100% UVA/UVB sun protection.

Wrap-around design to guard against peripheral sunlight.

Flexible frame and temples.

Every pair comes with a removable neoprene strap.

Backpacks –

doodle-daysackLittle Life Doodle Daysack

The Doodle Daysack is perfect for children who enjoy showing off their artistic skills. With a spacious main compartment, it provides a good level of storage with quick and easy access. In addition to this, it holds a doodle pad for your child to draw or paint on. They can then display their masterpiece for all to see in the clear front pocket. Or perhaps they might like to show off interesting things they find on their little adventures.


• Padded top grab handle & reflective piping

• Side mesh pocket for drinks and snacks

• 6 litre main compartment with top entry

• 40 page Doodle Pad included

hssc_fatboyHigh Sierra Fat Boy

From textbooks to sporting gear, Fat Boy's oversized, multi-compartment design, deluxe organizer and comfortable compression straps make this pack the perfect partner for your heaviest loads.


Large, multi-compartment design.

Angled adjustable compression straps.

Deluxe organizer compartment with multiple pockets and key fob.

Zippered accessory pocket on the front.

MP3 player pocket with headphone port.

S-shaped, VAPEL™ mesh AIRFLOW™ padded shoulder straps with Suspension System and integrated media/cell phone pocket.

Comfortable padded back panel.


Monster hook for attaching extra gear.

Contoured grab handle.

Hydration –

Liberty Bottleworks Kids Collection

If you are looking for a unique water bottle for your child, this is the bottle for you.  Liberty Bottleworks has come out with great new designs in their 16 oz. bottles and they have added a sport top option so you don’t have to take off the lid to drink.  Retails for $18.00 and will last for years to come.  Get yours at

Vapor Quencher

Great for you and the planet! Vapur Quenchers are here to keep you happy, healthy and hydrated while giving waste the boot.  Each lovable little Quencher comes with 3 sticker sheets of facial features and add-ons. These critters love to travel, so take your water-filled friend wherever you go!  Customize your Quencher, fill it, freeze it, pack it in your lunch and kiss thirst goodbye!



• Reinforcing Grommet

• Sport Cap

• Durable 3-ply construction

• Taste free & odor resistant

• Dishwasher safe

• BPA Free

• Made in the USA

• 3M Stickers

• Reusable

• Foldable

• Freezable

• Attachable

• MSRP: $11.99