The Kids 14er Essentials Kit

We’ve been hauling our little guy up Fourteeners (14,000-foot peaks) ever since his bobble-head steadied enough to manage the backpack kid carrier. It’s always a trying experience, sometimes more death march than hike, but we’ve managed to tick Quandary Peak, Mt. Bierstadt, and Mt. Evans (note that those are the easiest and shortest options) off of our list. This year, however, as we set our sights on Mt. Democrat, we decided it was time for Charlie to carry his own weight. Here’s the gear we took to get to the top.

Sawyer Kids T-Shirts

Named after the literary icon (and endearing wild child) Tom Sawyer, Sawyer specializes in kids tees, sweatshirts and headwear that embody the freedom of youth: “We aspire to inspire kids to grow through playing outside and exploring the world with a spirit of adventure.” That credo comes through clearly in their line-up of graphic tees. Our favorite slogans include “Play in the wild,” “Let’s just go camping” and “Mother Lover” (next to a picture of Mother Earth). Use this tee as an inspirational baselayer. $25 | beasawyer.com

Patagonia Baby/Kids Down Sweater

It’s rarely lonely at the top of a Fourteener. But it is chilly. Your little one will love snuggling into Patagonia’s Down Sweater. Made with 100 percent recycled polyester and filled with 100 percent recycled down (duck and goose down reclaimed from other down products), the jacket’s minimal environmental impact is a step toward preserving our world for their future. $99 for baby, $119 for kids | patagonia.com

Shred Dog Elevated Kids Hardshell

*Jacket color may not be available.

Ideally, you choose a bluebird day to top-out. Unfortunately, Colorado weather, especially up in the high country, can be as fickle as a toddler (sunny one minute, stormy the next). Be sure to bring along a waterproof layer just in case the skies sour (and of course high-tail it below treeline). Our choice? The Elevated Kids Hardshell. Fully seam-taped with waterproof zippers and a high collar to protect your kiddo’s face from wind or rain, this jacket is ready for the elements. Bonus: The Adjust-a-Fit sleeves lengthen and shorten, providing a great fit and room to grow. $120 (on sale!) | shreddog.com

Keen Little Kids Targhee Sport Vent Shoe

Lightweight, with a hook-and-loop strap that makes it easy for little fingers to put on, the Little Kids Targhee Sport Vent is a great option for extra ankle support. I especially love the oversized toe cap (a Keen staple), which will prevent the outer sole from detaching from the midsole (as so often happens with other brands). Plan to encounter wet or snowy conditions? Spend the extra $10 for the waterproof Targhee. Also available in a “Big Kids” version. $55 | keenfootwear.com

Salomon Junior Speedcross CSWP J

If your little one prefers a lower-cut shoe, check out Salomon’s Speedcross CSWP J, which is designed with an aggressive lug pattern for maximum traction on mixed terrain. The patented SensiFit system provides a secure, nearly customized fit around the foot, while an EVA sockliner ups the comfort. The minimalist Quicklace system makes the on-off process a cinch (literally). $85 | salomon.com

CamelBak Kids Scout Hydration Pack

My little guy manages to find all kinds of treasures along the trail (rocks, sticks, dirt) that halt forward motion. With the Scout’s handy drink-on-the-go hose system, you can at least eliminate the need to stop for water breaks. Its 1.5-liter reservoir provides ample water supply, while still maintaining a manageable weight. Pockets abound to carry snacks or other trail necessities … you know, like Matchbox cars and Lego. $60 | camelbak.com

bigtruck Original Kids Hat

We love bigtruck hats. And not just because trucks are omnipresent in the life of my 4-year-old, and thus my own. Their high-density foam hats with a plush headband are uber comfortable and of course the mesh back is ultra breathable. Just as important: Their trademark three-block design looks rad. Available in infant, toddler and adult sizes (because you probably need one too). $30 | bigtruck.com

Maho Uluwatu Kids

Nothing says “I’m a hiking boss” like a sweet pair of shades — especially when worn by a pint-sized pathfinder. With their classic wayfarer silhouette, the Uluwatu Kids glasses feature polarized lenses and full UBA/UVB protection. Rubberized construction means they’re durable, but it’s just $10 to replace a broken pair. $30 | mahoshades.com

Farm to Feet Kids Crew Socks

Summiting a Fourteener is no easy task in itself. Don’t let blisters be a reason to 180-it back to the trailhead. Farm to Feet’s Kids Crew Socks, knit from 100 percent U.S.-grown merino wool, feature a flat connection in the toe box, which eliminates excess bulk and prevents blister-causing friction. Light cushion along the base of the foot makes this sock an option for all seasons. $10 | farmtofeet.com

Honey Stinger Mini Waffles

Bribery. It’s a parent’s best bet. Whether you save the Honey Stinger Mini Waffles for a top-out treat or you dangle them in front of your kiddo carrot-style mid-hike (hey, no judgies), these tiny treats are a must-have for re-energizing little legs and inspiring little hikers. Organic wheat flour and organic honey are key ingredients. Available in honey and vanilla flavors. $8 for a 5.3-ounce bag (6 servings) | honeystinger.com

Headsweats Reversible Face Mask

Reaching the top is a reason to celebrate! And since there tend to be plenty of other people enjoying the summit with you, it’s also a reason to reach for your face mask. The kid-sized options from Headsweats are breathable, moisture-wicking, water repellant and made with triple-layered polyester, including a permanent middle layer that helps screen some airborne particles. Fun patterns like dinosaurs, ice cream cones and tie-dye patterns make the best of this new necessity. Be sure to follow instructions for wear, removal and washing: “Wash hands before putting mask on. Cover mouth and nose with mask. Make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask. When done, remove it from behind, avoid touching the front of the mask and place in the wash.” $13 | headsweats.com

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