A Forest Ranger Review…
Spring is traditionally the time when a lot of families end their winter hibernation and head back out into the great outdoors. After what can seem like an endless cold-weather hiatus, where evenings are too dark to venture out by the time you’ve finished work and freezing weather and gales putting the brakes on many weekend opportunities for outdoor fun; it’s unsurprising that young kids can get under your feet and climb the walls in equal measure. However, as the clocks have recently moved forward and with warmer weather on that ever-brightening horizon; people are now beginning to book camping trips again and enjoy more regular family walks.
Here in the UK there is just one problem…rain. Let’s face it, the threat of rain is never far away. Consequently, a quality set of waterproofs may just be the difference between you and your family checking the forecast and deciding another day in front of the TV is on the cards or checking it, realising there a fair chance of rain but, what the hell, you’ve got the kit to keep a smile on everybody’s face. You see protective gear doesn’t just stop us from getting wet and cold. Oh no. It allows us and our kids to get some physical exercise and promotes positive mental well being by enabling us to get outside whatever the weather. That’s the fundamental reason that we explore the great outdoors year round.
The problem has always been that until more recent years, parents would look at their outdoor gear wardrobe and feel bad for the kids. After all, when I’m up a mountain and the weather turns really grim I’ve got all manner of technical shells to sling on and protect me. They act as a virtually impenetrable fortress against the elements that I know, crucially, won’t let me down when I need them most. Now, I’m not staying that children’s waterproofs need to be as technical as that but they do need to be really robust and able to stand up to serious abuse (both from the kids themselves and the elements!). Because, let’s face it, family adventures stop being fun when you’ve got cold, wet kids in tow.
Over the five and a half years that we’ve been adventuring with our kids, we’ve gone through all manner of waterproof suits, jackets and trousers. The regularity at which we do get outside as a family also makes our two little explorers awesome test machines. They probably rack up as many hours outside as your average badger (and smell just as bad, believe me!) and anyone who has seen our Instagram feed will know that these Spotty Otter waterproofs have been on a thorough test with us since October of last year – that’s a whole 6 months, over the toughest part, weather-wise, of our year. They’ve seen action in the Scottish Highlands, Snowdonia National Park and in the hills of our native North East Wales. These waterproofs have impressed me so much that they’re now are our default option and get pride of place in our ‘go adventure’ bag, ready to be picked up and taken anywhere at a moment’s notice, along with our other must-have gear.
In terms of details, the Spotty Otter kid’s waterproofs are constructed of 100% PU fabric. This means they aren’t just water resistant and good for repelling a gentle breeze; it means that these bad boys are fully waterproof and windproof. That’s all well and good but, occasionally, poorly designed zips and stitching can act as weak points that slowly allow water to seep in. Not here. The Spotty Otter kid’s waterproofs have welded seams and giant storm flaps to protect the zip. Sorry wind, sorry rain, you’ll have to look for another toddler to pick on.
The other advantage of being made of 100% PU fabric is that the Spotty Otter kids waterproofs are super tough. During our adventures, we clamber down into waterfalls, we scramble over rocks and logs, and roll about in the autumn leaves making mud angels. We don’t, therefore, need an outer layer that is going to wilt at the first sign of abrasions. Fortunately, these have taken everything that we could throw at them and still smiled at the prospect of more adventure.
The bib-style dungarees are ready made for our family adventures. While the adjustable braces work to keep them up while the elements around us come down, there is no chance of wind or rain finding a way to dampen our spirits. As a family who regularly picnic outdoors 12 months of the year during our hikes, this is all the more important as sitting down usually results in the outer jacket riding up and leaving a small area of the back exposed. Not with these bib-style dungarees. Picnic on toddlers!
I’m always delighted when I know in my heart of hearts that we’ve managed to fix the kids up for the winter season with everything they need to keep them warm and dry on our family hikes. We simply couldn’t adventure 12 months of the year without gear good enough to keep them happy, smiling, climbing and exploring. These Spotty Otter kid’s waterproofs are good enough and more. Expect to see our toddlers out in them. A lot.