The best new gear, from a smart stroller to high-tech athletic products, to alleviate some of the stress of traveling with your family.
On route to a photography assignment on the Navajo Reservation, my five-month-old and I arrived in Albuquerque around 2 a.m. The airport emptied before we made it onto the curb.
Alone in the darkness, we waited for a shuttle to the car rental center that never came. By the time I realized that everything had closed and my plan to drive four hours to the reservation was not going to happen, my cell phone died. As a travel writer, gear tester, and mother of four, high-quality, smart products have come to my rescue more than once.
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That night, it was my Raden suitcase, with two charging ports, that powered my cell phone so I could book a hotel and call a cab. Here’s the latest in well-designed, ingenious gear that my entire family, which includes four kids under 11, have put to the test.
1. 4mom Moxi Stroller
Ever wondered how much of a work out you’re getting while pushing a baby around all day? 4mom’s innovative Moxi stroller reimagines this parenting necessity. The wheels generate power for a USB port, while a LCD screen tells you the time and tracks distance traveled, speed, and temperature. And the accompanying app tracks how many calories you’ve burned.
To buy: amazon.com, $700
2. Beats by Dre Solo3 Wireless
The on-ear Solo3 Wireless headphones have 40 hours of battery life, while the new in-ear BeatsX can play music for eight hours. I love the flexibility of being able to move from my kitchen to my office to my kids’ playroom without ever taking off my headphones. A five-minute charge juices up three hours for Solo3 and two hours for BeatsX. Need something that can handle any situation? Try the on-ear Beats EP, which has stainless-steel reinforcement and has survived all my kids’ rough handling, including baby teething.
To buy: apple.com, $300
3. Diono Radian rXT
My infant, toddler, and grade-school children fall asleep on the road because the Diono car seats are so cushy, you’d never know it has a steel alloy frame and aluminum reinforced side walls. The Radian rXT can accommodate all four of my kids, thanks to its multiple modes. When the chair is rear-facing, it can support a child up to 45 pounds. When the chair is forward-facing with a harness, it can support up to 80 pounds. And finally, there’s the booster mode, for children weighing up to 120 pounds. Best of all, it folds flat, packs into a carrying case, and fits three across in most mid-size vehicles and on airline seats too.
To buy: kohls.com, $300
4. Mifold Grab-and-Go Booster Car Seat
5. Hoka One One Challenger ATR3 Sneakers
When I was pregnant, I could only wear Hoka One One shoes. But now that I’m not, the new Challenger ATR3 is still the most versatile, cushioned shoe I own, with features like a new 3D Puff Print frame on the upper and four-millimeter lugs for traction and grip on any terrain: gravel, puddles, trails, or roads.
To buy: zappos.com, $130
6. Bogs Classic Scale Kids' Boots
I buy Bogs Classic Scales for my oldest, which serves as both her rain and winter boot, then pass it on to my other kids when she outgrows them. When they’re late to catch the bus, this is the shoe my kids pull on by the handles. It is 100 percent waterproof and keeps their feet fresh and warm.
To buy: zappos.com, $80
7. Glerups Unisex Slippers
Parents and kids love these moisture-wicking, easy-to-wash slippers. Glerups is introducing a slip-resistant, natural rubber sole in August, which will provide traction for activities like walking to and from a hot tub or pool. They will also expand their kids’ collection in September.
To buy: amazon.com, from $95
8. Icebreaker Socks
Guaranteed for life, Icebreaker’s merino wool enhances muscular performance and recovery while regulating temperature (heat retention and heat dumping) and breathability. True to its design principles of simplicity, longevity, versatility, and purpose, these socks have passed from kid to kid and remain stink- and itch-free.
To buy: zappos.com, $14
9. Light & Motion Solite 250 EX
My kids nickname this versatile lighting system the “transformer.” It’s a headlamp, but can also be mounted on a bike or helmet, used as a flashlight, or set on a flat surface. It can run as long as 30 hours (or 4 hours at its brightest setting) and be charged using solar, 12-volt car adapters, or backup power supplies.
To buy: amazon.com, $170
10. MiiR Food Canister
This canister keeps food cold or hot longer than any other product I tested. The medical-grade stainless steel does not transfer flavors, which has survived (when other canisters have not) food decaying inside the canister because the kids left it in their lunch box over the weekend.
To buy: miir.com, $35