Gear Reviews

Muddy Munchkins Boots by MyMayu ~ Gear Review + Giveaway

I truly believe that whether in your backyard or on the trails, being active outdoors is something essential for families, especially families with toddlers, even when the grass, cement and dirt is all wet! Children love nature when it's muddy, or when there are lots of puddles to explore, and having the appropriate footwear is as essential as having the proper clothing.

Featured: Muddy Munchkins Boot by MyMayu [Gray/Fairy, Size 7/8]
Over the last few years I've run into many issues with inadequate footwear for my toddlers.  It's been hard to figure out the right shoes for my toddlers when we go outside to play in our neighborhood or if we head out to the backcountry.  I was very glad to discovered Muddy Munchkins Boots by MyMayu that even as I read their Mission Statement...
"MyMayu was created out of necessity: a little boy without proper boots wanted to follow his big brother in the rain.  Too many puddle jumping sessions had been cut short by face-plants in the water because of bulky, clunky rubber boots that were too big, too heavy and made him trip.  There had to be a better boot."
I knew MyMayu, a Canadian company, understood the needs of my child who enjoys playing in the mud but not getting soggy, muddy feet! Why? Because the owners are parents themselves who love the outdoors and understand toddlers needs! Not only did I have the chance to review these awesome boots but MyMayu is giving away a pair in this gear review, so keep reading and enter below for a chance to win one for your toddler! [Giveaway has ended]

Side Note: I'm particularly fond of the name of this company because it's part Quechua! MyMayu means My "River".  Chasqui Mom approved!

  • Water-Repellent Boots (not waterproof) and Ultra Lightweight for infants/toddlers
  • Three-Season Boot (Spring, Summer and Fall) w/Fleece Liner option for colder temperatures
    • Helio Fleece Liner (Optional) Retail Price $16.95
  • Multiple Toggles at the knee and ankle to protect from water splashing
  • Compact storage due to collapsible upper section
  • MM by MyMayu Boot Retail Price: $48.95 ~ 18 different colors and designs!
  • Current Toddler Shoe Sizes: 1/2, 3/4, 5/6, 7/8 
  • Made in North America, BPA Free, Vegan and Quick Drying.

The Pluses!

The MM Boots by MyMayu, size 7/8 were tested by my three year old daughter who LOVES to get muddy.  These boots were tested in the San Francisco Bay Area on grass, mud, cement, shallow puddles and on the dirt trails.  

  • Lightweight ~ I think this is my favorite feature of these boots.  My daughter has had the hardest time finding shoes she can comfortably walk, run and hike in.  All other shoes, including her hiking shoes, make her trip a lot.  MM Boots provides all the protection from the elements but with no cost in weight, which means my toddler can play freely.
  • Water-Repellent ~ Nothing is worse than soggy feet, period.  My daughter was able to splash around in shallow puddles, wet grass, very muddy trails and her feet stayed dried.  It's a great boot for a rainy or misty day.
  • Quick Drying ~ After an morning of walking around in the rain and splashing in puddles, I was scared that the boots would be wet for the rest of the day but they dried quickly and was ready to be worn again later in the afternoon on muddy trails.  Usually shoes take days to dry but the MM boot (without the fleece) dried within hours.
  • Great for Urban and Outdoor Play ~ Living the the San Francisco Bay Area sometimes I feel like I'm over doing it by making my kids wear their waterproof hiking boots/shoes to the playground or a short hike but I know that if their feet get wet then there will be lots of complaining and being carried.  These boots allow for freely playing in urban and outdoor play areas such as playground parks, nature trails to walking on city streets.  A very appropriate boot for outdoor play on wet days.
  • Tall Upper Section, Toggles and Helios Fleece ~ I still carry my daughter occasionally in the kid carrier and her little calves usually end up being exposed.  What is great about the MM Boots by MyMayu is that the tall upper section that has toggles right below the knee so if the pants ride up neither cold wind or rain can dribble down their little legs!  A second toggle is also around the ankle to keep the boot in place.  Also, if the Helios Fleece are inserted, it adds an extra layer of warmth and doesn't stick out of the boot.

The Minuses
  • Not Waterproof ~ Let's make this clear, the MM Boots are not waterproof and they don't claim to be but they are water repellent.  The difference is that wading through a creek or standing in deep puddles will let water seep in.  We like to test gear to its limits so my daughter stood in a very deep puddle to test the "Waterproof-ness".  To my surprise her socks and feet were damp but not soggy.  Still just to clarify these are not waterproof.
  • Limited Sizes (For Now) ~ Currently MyMayu only has toddler sizes 1-8, but the good news is that in Spring 2015, MyMayu plans to have all sizes from Toddler 1 to Youth 2 in both MuddyMunchkins and Aqua boots in stock.  Did I mention the Aqua boot WILL be waterproof?! Yay!
MyMayu Giveaway!

Here's your chance to win one (1) pair of Muddy Munchkins Boots and Helio Liners by MyMayu!

  • This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.
  • Contest starts October 9, 2014 12:00 a.m. PST until October 23, 2014 11:59 p.m. PST.
  • Winner will be announced a couple days after the giveaway has finished.
  • Your choice of boot and matching liner found HERE, granted that it's in stock, Toddler Size 1/2 to 7/8 only.

Please use the Rafflecopter below to submit your entries and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I would like to thank MyMayu who provided these product for the purposes of this review.  As always these are my true and honest opinions.

Join in on the conversation by leaving a comment here! You can also join in on the conversations on Chasqui Mom's FacebookInstagram and Twitter that is updated daily with outdoor activities and other wonderful posts and links from #OutdoorFamilies!

Gear Review: Dorcy LED Headlights Spot and Broad Beam

I'll be honest, I was a little perplexed on doing a gear review on headlights since it's always difficult to take pictures at night unless you are a professional photographer, which I'm not.  In order to show my review in action, I tested out Dorcy LED Headlights both Spot and Broad Beam on a moonless night hike with my family!  Check out my video and read my review below.

Lighting is very important to this family! Why? Because I married an electrical engineer who is a lighting specialist and even though we usually don't go on many night hikes, we are camping all the time where hands-free lighting is essential.  As you also see in the video my husband is carrying our daughter as well as holding my son's hand so his hands are tied up.

Dorcy has two headlights that fit both our outdoor lighting needs!

Spot Beam ~ Photo Courtesy

Run Time: 12 hours on 3 AAA Batteries (included)
Brightness: 134 Lumens, 387 Feet Beam Distance
Lighting: LED in Full and Half Power, Strobe
Weight: 2.9 ounces
Retail Price: $24.99
Switch: On top of light that can angle 
Weather Resistant

Broad Beam ~ Photo Courtesy 

Run Time: 12 hours on 3 AAA batteries (included)
Brightness: 120 Lumens, 157 Feet Beam Distance
Lighting: LED in Full and Half Power, Strobe
Weight: 2.9 ounces
Retail Price: $24.99
Switch: On top of light that can angle
Weather Resistant

The Pluses!

Dorcy Spot Beam and Broad Beam:
  • Lightweight ~ We are a backpacking family so we count every ounce that goes in our packs, so at 2.9 ounces both headlights are up to our weight standards,
  • Adjustable Band ~ While most headlamps are adjustable not all adult size headlamps fit toddlers.  Both Dorcy Spot and Broad Beam headlights were able to be sized down to fit my toddlers heads, which is great because children like to test out whatever gear we have.
  • Durability ~ Both headlights are weather resistant and "toddler" resistant.  Anything used outdoors should be weather resistant, period.  As in most of my gear reviews, I let my kids "test" the headlights not only were they able to manage to function the headlights they didn't destroy the head lights. 
  • Simplicity ~ There are only THREE levels of lighting in both Spot and Broad Beam, Full Power, Half Power and Strobe.  Those three levels of lighting are the only ones that are truly needed.  I don't like fumbling at night going through multiple levels of lighting before I figure out the right one.  
  • Switch Location ~ The switch is INDEPENDENT from the light, (which can be angled).  No more searching for where the switch is or accidentally hitting the switch when trying to change the beam angle.

Dorcy Spot Beam Only:
  • Great for Physical Activity ~ I prefer the Dorcy Spot Beam Headlight while night hiking.  It was a stronger, bright light and even though it's a "beam" it had a large flooded lighted area on the trail.  My husband also tried the Spot Beam out while cycling during the early morning hours and said the Spot Beam has "more punch".
Broad Beam Only:
  • Great for Low Impact Activity ~ The best use for the Dorcy Broad Beam would be around camp.  The light is very defused but still bright enough to walk around camp especially if the light is brought down to half power.  

The Minuses
  • Size, Style and Batteries ~ Even though the headlights are very lightweight the size of the headlights seem large.  The style of the both lights seem a little "outdated" but in all reality the functionality is what matters.  We are a very "green" family and we try to use rechargeable energy sources as much as we can, so the fact that we have to use batteries bothers me a little bit, but most headlights use batteries.
  • Spot Beam Only: The beam is too harsh for around camp.
  • Broad Beam Only: Not enough lighting for outdoor physical activity.

Chasqui Mom Last Thoughts...

Overall, I'm very pleased with Dorcy LED Spot and Broad Beam Headlights and would recommend them for outdoor use.  Depending on your needs and lighting likes both headlights are useful for a large array of outdoor activity and in particular, outdoor family activity!

I would like to thank Dorcy who provided these product for the purposes of this review.  As always these are my true and honest opinions.

Join in on the conversation by leaving a comment here! You can also join in on the conversations on Chasqui Mom's FacebookInstagram and Twitter that is updated daily with outdoor activities and other wonderful posts and links from #OutdoorFamilies!

Drinking from the Source: LifeStraw® Review & Giveaway

Ever since I saw the LifeStraw® in an outdoor magazine a few years ago, I've been very interested in trying out this personal water filter in the outdoors.  We are a hiking, backpacking family so having access to safe drinking water is always a concern of ours, especially for our toddlers health.  Calculating how much water to bring for a family of four is sometimes a difficult task because we have to determine who will be carrying all the water weight.

Whether we are day hiking, camping, backpacking or traveling internationally, the LifeStraw® will be something that will always come along on our family adventures.  Later on in the post you can enter in Rafflecopter for a chance to win your own LifeStraw® (enter below).

LifeStraw® product details:

  • Filters at least 1,000 liters of water (264 gallons).
  • Weighs only 54 grams (2 oz.)
  • Removes up to 99.99999 percent of waterborne bacteria.
  • Removes up to 99.9 percent of waterborne protozoan cysts.
  • Reduces turbidity by filtering particles of approx. 0.2 microns.
  • BPA Free and contains no chemicals.
  • Uses no bateries or moving parts.
  • It removes virtually all bacteria and protozoa parasites that can contaminate water and it reduces muddiness by filtering out particulate matter.
  • Swiss-based company Vestergaard originally introduced LifeStraw® as an emergency response tool and it has been used by millions of victims of floods and earthquakes.  LifeStraw® has also been used to fill the need for safe water in non-emergency situations in developing countries.

The Pluses!

Alpine water freshness!

  • Easy To Use ~ If my two year old daughter can do it, anyone can.  If you can drink from a straw you can use the LifeStraw®.
  • Motivation to Hydrate ~ Sometimes my children are so excited to be outdoors that they forget to drink water.  The LifeStraw® motivated my children to drink because it was fun to drink from the lake using the LifeStraw®.
  • Lightweight & Easy to Carry ~ When backpacking every ounce counts, so having a lightweight personal water filter is always a plus.  It also has lanyard-type necklace that can worn around the neck or attached to a pack.
  • Humanitarian Aid ~ When you purchase a LifeStraw® product, a portion of the funds goes to provide water purifiers for African schools.
  • Refreshing Water ~ Sometimes after hiking all day, all I want is cold water yet the water I bring is lukewarm.  Not refreshing at all!  With the LifeStraw® I can drink straight from the COLD alpine lake and satisfy my thirst!
  • Affordable Pricing ~ The LifeStraw® retails for $19.95, which can filter 1,000 liters or 264 gallons of water, overall that is a very low cost for that 1,000 liters of water!

The Minuses

My only "minus" about the LifeStraw® is that if you are not near water, then you are out of luck.  I normally day hike in the San Francisco East Bay hills where there is hardly any natural water sources so I have to bring in my own water most of the year.  Yet, we are always heading out to locations like the California Sierras or the Peninsula where there are lakes, creeks and rivers so it is still very useful.

Chasqui Mom Last Thoughts...

I can see many uses of the LifeStraw® outside the use in the outdoors, like traveling internationally to countries which might not have safe water to drink, or after a natural disaster like floods and earthquakes.  Water is one of the 10 essentials when heading outdoors and I'm glad I have a easy to use, lightweight LifeStraw® to keep my family hydrated and safe.

LifeStraw® has graciously provided a LifeStraw® personal water filter to giveaway!  This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only, no PO Boxes.  Contest starts June 30, 2014 12:00 a.m. PST until July 6, 2014 11:59 p.m. PST.  Winner will be announced a couple days after the giveaway has finished.  Please use the Rafflecopter below to submit your entries and good luck! [THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW OVER]

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The LifeStraw® product and information have been provided by Vestergaard.  As always these are my true and honest opinions.

Join in on the conversation by leaving a comment here! You can also join in on the conversations on Chasqui Mom's FacebookInstagram and Twitter that is updated daily with outdoor activities and other wonderful posts and links from #OutdoorFamilies!

Gear Review: The Handy Qlipter by Lulubop

It seems like anytime I go out with my children, I wish I had an extra set of arms especially when I'm outdoors! On many occasions, my kids want to take a special toy or clothing item and I usually end up holding it for the rest of the hike, which is terribly annoying.  On one of my most recent hikes, I noticed I had nothing to clip my kids wet, muddy shoes to the outside of my kid carrier!  I eventually tied them onto the side of my carrier with the shoe laces but they eventually fell off because the shoelaces were so wet and muddy.

Thankfully I received the The Qlipter in the mail a few days later and I have been using it on almost every outdoor activity I do with my kids, especially day hiking!  The Qlipter is classic carabiner (non-climbing) but with a major upgrade: a swivel 360 degree hook, plus some new securing features.

  • Size/Weight: 3 5/16 inches wide by 4 5/16 inches long (closed) 7 1/8 inches long (open) ~ Approx 2 ounces
  • Multiple Colors: Black, Blue, Classic Red, Gray, Fun Red, Kickstarter Green (temporary).
  • Retail Price: A pledge of $20 on Kickstarter Project, Delivery August 2014 (Project Goal met)
  • Product Material: Aircraft Grad Aluminum Alloy

Photo Courtesy of  The Qlipter by Lulubop

The Pluses!

Sturdiness ~ The Qlipter can hold up to 50 lbs!  I've only used to to hold shoes, shovels and hiking poles but I'm glad to know it can hold that much weight, like our backpacks while backpacking! Once again, this clip is not made for climbing activities and it is qualified to hold up to 50 lbs, non-moving objects.

Mulit-Use "Carabiner" ~ I've primarily used The Qlipter for attaching my kids shoes, toys and our hiking poles to my backpack/kid carrier on our day hiking trips.  In the picture below my daughter was adamant about taking her shovel on our hiking trip  (pictured below) and when she got tired of holding it was attached to The Qlipter, not in my hands.  I am looking forward to using The Qlipter on camping and backpacking trips, where I can see more uses such as in using the hook feature for lanterns, keeping stuff off the ground and hanging clothes.

Lightweight ~ As a hiking/backpacking family weight is a very big concern of ours.  I'm always looking at weight of every piece of gear I own.  Not only do I carry my own gear, but my toddlers backpacking gear as well as my child.  Having a light two-ounce, sturdy, multi-use carabiner will not add to my weight concerns!

Secure End Cap ~ My past clips/carabiners (non-climbing) have always buckled, broken or always left a gap and our gear like our small kid shoes would slide off.  The Qlipter has a magnetic closure in the rubber end cap to make sure the closure is very secure.

The Minuses

Photo Courtesy of Kathleen Radtke-Fitzpatrick (right photo)

I had one issue with The Qlipter, difficulty looping it into to my particular kid carrier (featured on the left).  The Qlipter head was a little too large for the ONE loop, my kid carrier has.  I looped it through the tapered end but the carrier loop prevented the swiveling wide hook from locking.  I eventually clipped it through the "paper clip" and pushed through, in the picture above (left).  The Qlipter was secure but it took a lot of wiggling and pushing to get it onto my particular carrier!

Granted, it was more about the small size of my carrier loop with the large size of The Qlipter that caused this issue.  The Qlipter clipped on with NO difficulties on my regular day pack and my husband's kid carrier.  The owner Mina Yoo, is already working on a smaller version of The Qlipter, which I am definitely interested in trying out!

Chasqui Mom Last Thoughts...

As an outdoor mom, I'm always looking for handy gear that will help me enjoy the outdoors better with my children.  The Qlipter keeps my hands free from toys, muddy shoes and keeps gear securely attached to my kid carrier.  The Qlipter is new kind of multi-use hook/carabiner that is great for family use in the outdoors.

I would like to thank Qlipter who provided this product for the purposes of this review.  As always these are my true and honest opinions.

Related Links:  The Qlipter by Lulabop

Join in on the conversation by leaving a comment here! You can also join in on the conversations on Chasqui Mom's FacebookInstagram and Twitter that is updated daily with outdoor activities and other wonderful posts and links from #OutdoorFamilies!

Gear Review: Hero Kit Road Bike Field Repair Kit

Entering the world of cycling is like learning a new language!  Lots of fun but there is also a lot to learn about "how-to's", new terminology and what to do if something breaks down on a ride. I must be honest my back up plan for a long time has been: "If something happens, I'll just call someone to pick me up."  I never carried a tube nor a pump and really didn't know how to fix anything on my road bike if something happened to me while riding.  Not a really good decision, but the Hero Kit for Road Cycling has changed that now!

The kit includes...

12 Function Multi-Tool w/Chain tool
Planet Bike Tire Levers w/tire patch kit
24 Page Waterproof Field Repair Instruction Manual
9 Speed KMC Replacement Chain Link
10 Speed KMC Replacement Chain Link
Yelo Velo High-PSI Tire Boot (Torn Tire Patch)
Frame Bolt and Cleat Bolt
Multi-Use wipe (aka Tush Wipes)
Emergency Rain Poncho
ICE (In Case of Emergency Car)
Duct Tape and LokSak (Kit plastic bag)

Regular Price: $45.00 

The Pluses!

Novice Friendly ~ I absolutely love the "Step-By-Step Instructions Tools & Materials" Manual because it explains literally step-by-step how to fix issues from a flat tired, broken chain to brake problems and more.  I'm the type of person that learns by doing rather than explaining, so having a detailed Instruction manual with a bicycle part chart is perfect for me to follow along while actually fixing the bike.  Hero Kit also categorizes the level of difficulty of fixing each issue and everything is labeled so a novice like me knows what is what!

Small Packaging ~ All the components of the kit are small, including the Multi-Tool.  The 12 Function Multitool folds down into a small rectangle and is pretty lightweight.  The whole kit fits into the LokSak (plastic bag) which is only 4.5in x 7in.  Being a hiker and now a cyclist I'm very concerned about weight, and this Hero Kit for Road Cycling total weight is 10.4 oz, (spare tube and pump not included).  This whole kit easily fits into my seat pack and would easily fit in a jersey back pocket.

It's small - 10.4 oz
Quality Product ~ When the packaging containing the road biking repair kit is a quality product, I know I have a great kit.  The LokSak has a patented Leakproof/Airtight Seal so everything inside stays dry!  Hero Kit made the manual waterproof and included a poncho just in case your day gets a little worse by being rained while fixing your bike.  The Planet Bike Levers have the tire patch kit tucked inside a little compartment, which is a great idea because I can imagine those easily flying away if they were loose in the bag.  Hero Kit's Multitool is very small but sturdy that includes a chain tool, which is great because I don't have carry our large multi-tool in our kit.  

Safety Centered ~ The kit itself is very safety centered, from protecting the rider from the elements to providing an ICE (In Case of Emergency) card that the rider can fill out.  We never like to think about biking accidents "What If's..." but having a card like that could help a passer-by or medical personnel save your life if you were found unconscious in a crash.

The Minuses

None really.  My only "minus" was that it uncovered my lack of knowledge of my very own bike but that is more of a reflection of me not the kit.  The kit has actually inspired to keep learning about bikes and riding.

Chasqui Mom Last Thoughts...

Being that I also ride with my kids, this will come in very handy with fixing any issues with my sons bike as well as my bike trailer.  It also provides me more confidence that I can go further distances when I'm riding solo and with my family.  My husband also occasionally commutes on his road bike during the week so we now share the Hero Kit.  In a good way, we still haven't had a chance to "use" the kit but I know it will definitely come in handy when we need to fix something in the future.  I highly recommend the Hero Kit for Road Cycling, as well as checking out other kits for Mountain Biking, Crash Kits and refill kits.

I would like to thank Hero Kit who provided this product for the purposes of this review.  As always these are my true and honest opinions.

Join in on the conversation by leaving a comment here! You can also join in on the conversations on Chasqui Mom's FacebookInstagram and Twitter that is updated daily with outdoor activities and other wonderful posts and links from #OutdoorFamilies!

Related Posts and Links:

  1. Hero Kit: The Repair Kit Revolution