No, of course I’m not doing this as if Holly had written it. So you’ll just have to endure the poor spelling and grammar as usual.
Holly should have been wearing some test kit from KoziKidz on this trip, but I was running out of time (I was writing-up the trip for print and the deadline was looming) waiting for it so we went shopping last week. Ironically the KoziKidz kit has now arrived and looks brilliant, adult-spec just scaled down. It’s fully featured softshell stuff and I’ll cover it properly in a wee while. But, the other kit we picked up performed very well, I learned some stuff in the process too.
Sizing is an issue. There is no standard as such, some brands have 3-4 years, 5-6 years and some have Euro numbers 105/110 etc or different gapd in the year versions. Ignore all of it and just get your wee yin to try it on, even in the same brand 3-4 years in different items was vastly different. I’m picking 3-4 as that’s what Holly fitted, now she’s tall for her age of three and two thirds and often takes age 4/5/6 stuff, but the outdoor kit was mostly spot on.
Base Layer – Regatta Girl’s Skydance Tee
I looked at all the big brands offerings, the fit was often odd with a short body and huge sleeves, the fabrics were scratchy and rigid. Holly went straight for the bright green Regatta Tee with the wee motif on it and when I tried it on her I was really surprised. The fit was good, it’s well finished inside and the fabric is brilliant, very soft with a nice light weight to it, just like regular kids t-shirt but in a techy polyester. It’s been washed twice now and it’s holding it’s shape, plus Holly loves it. I’ll get another I think.
Mid Layer – Regatta Kid’s Chorus III Fleece Jacket
Again we went around all the regular names, either the sizing wasn’t there or they were too fancy, so Regatta came up with the goods again. The Chorus is really basic, just a regular tw0-pocket fleece, but it did it’s job and again Holly loved it, prefering the turquoise to the pink I was waving at her. The pockets are zipped which went down well as stones and tissues could be secured with small hands, the chunky zips helping there too.
The fleece fabric is bit like the cheapo type you see on embroidered workwear fleeces, it’s going to bobble like a mad thing, but it’s soft and comfy feeling, the fleece is well put together, has a nice high collar and as it’s a little large right now I’m sure it’ll last. The long sleeves made up for us leaving the mitts at home. Ahem…
Legwear – Regatta Kid’s Warlock Zip Off Trousers
You should have seen the reaction when I zipped off the legs when she was wearing them, it was the best thing ever. These are pretty regular looking, the fit on Holly was perfect and the articulation was great too. She can run around and scramble about in these, buit also sitting on my shoulders for ages didn’t cause any issue with seams rubbing. However, just like adult zip-offs, the fabric flaps that cover the zips have to be folded down so the zips don’t rub ther legs. Worse on kids I think as the zip teeth are disproportionately big and aggressive looking.
The waist is well done with an elastic back half and webbing and button adjusters at each side to tune the waist size to your wee yin. This gives a secure fit, we had no slipping, but the easy stretch means to chaffing either. It was a big day out and Holly had no red marks from the trousers.
There’s pockets front and back and a patch pocket on the right leg too. The fabric is nylon and feels quite robust, not the softest but not getting into the canvas area either.
Again Holly loved these.
Shell – Sprayway Children’s Hawk IA Waterproof Jacket
This just looked like a shrunk adults jacket. Holly liked the raspberry colour but was a little ambivalent when we tried it on in the shop, but I could see the fit was spot on so I got it knowing we might need it. As it turned out we did need it and she was quite happy in it, in fact it’s now her “mountain jacket” and she’ s been wearing it all week.
It’s in two layer Hydro/Dry fabric with a drop liner. The hood is well formed (the peak’s folded back in the photie below) and volume adjustable, the cuffs are elastic and velcro, there’s two outer and one inner pocket, the hem is drawcord adjustable with secured cordlocks and the chunky main zip has a poppered storm flap over it. There’s even a tab for rolling away and securing the hood and draw.
The Hawk is well cut, Holly was completely mobile in it and it stayed down at the back. There’s reflective strips around it so it’s a great general purpose home/school wet weather jacket too.
Footwear – Hi-Tec Altitude Lite IV MP JR
Aye, boots. But, we’ve had these for ages and they’ve proved a success. I flexed them in the shop and although the sole was pretty stiff, the ankle flex was okay. The outsole is a good one, quite aggressive and grippy. This was a problem initially as Holly wasn’t used to her feet having so much purchase and she kept wanting spin herself into the secenery, but she’s got used to them. They’re warm and waterproof, very protective too, I can’t say a bad word about them, I jusy wish shops stocked more options as lighter and bendier models are available from the manufacturers. Kids wear trainers, they can handle it.
Regatta, imagine that. It’s a mix of things that saw them so well represented, price is good, availability is excellent (due to price, less of a gamble to stock it?) but their kid’s kit is actually really good. They cut the crap that kids don’t need and give you basics (are kids instictively going lightweight?) where the big brands are often trying to reverse engineer all their tech designs into kid’s stuff which will have a limited use or life (kids grow) and that pushes the price right up.
The Sprayway jacket hits the balance, as a bad weather outer layer it’s got just enough tech in its design for it to be protective and useful but still be wearable and surprisingly enjoyable by my three and two thirds year old tester.
Bottom line is kids’ kit is good. You just have to find it, try it and remember that brand and basic design aren’t barriers to performance or a happy time in the outdoors.