Category: Gear

WarmMuffs: The first sleeping bags for the person pushing the stroller, not riding in it.

When I first saw a pair of WarmMuffs from our friends at 7AM Enfant earlier this winter, my brain instantly filed them under Things You Totally Don’t Need In Life. One arctic freeze of a winter later, I admit I’ve come back to thinking about them. Now I firmly place them in the Things You Totally Don’t Need In Life But Will Probably Be Really Glad You Have During an Arctic Freeze file. Essentially these are super warm, cozy, sleeping bag style stroller mittens, that are designed specifically to grip a stroller handle. The Velcro closure lets you wrap your fingers around the bar for a tighter grip than you’d get with...

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Klean Kanteen, now insulated for keeping that extra-hot macchiato extra-hot on the go

Along with so many other parents, we’re longtime fans of the cult favorite, eco-friendly, stainless steel water bottles from Klean Kanteen. They give us confidence in the “not killing our kids” department, and do a great job of making our water tasting like water, even when the bottle held a strawberry smoothie the day before. And now that we’ve spent a few weeks crunching through icy snow every day, I’m pretty excited to get my hands on their new double-walled, Kleen Kanteen vacuum insulated water bottles, designed to keep drinks steaming hot for up to 6 hours. This is big news! And a definite improvement to the cold coffee I’ve been...

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The Lugabug child travel chair: A brilliant alternative to the ride-on suitcase for children.

Traveling with kids to fun places is almost always worth the schlep it takes to get there. But trying to rush through a crowded airport with a child or two in tow can put a damper on our enthusiasm quicker than you can say They moved our gate where? For a while, there have been a few cool ride-on suitcase options for kids, like the trunki, but now there’s what may be the smartest one of all. Frequent flyer families need to check out Lugabug, which makes carting your kids through an airport as easy as rolling your luggage. Mainly...

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The Bentgo lunch box for kids: Could this be a better bento?

My kids tend to like a lunch made up of several snack-sized options, which can be such a pain to pack. And certainly no fun when they get home with a bunch of little containers for me to clean out. And while their bigger-kid appetites might be too large to be contained in the clever Bentgo Kids portable lunch box, those of you with younger grazers will appreciate this smart, easy-to-pack, dishwasher-safe container. Bentgo Kids makes the compartmentalization that we love about bento lunch box systems a little more kid-friendly. The one-piece molded tray is just perfect for half a sandwich or a small salad, plus three other...

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The BabyBjorn bouncer gets a modern makeover with polka dots

I’m determined to keep the baby clutter to the necessary minimum for this second round of parenting, and not a wipe warmer more. (Actually, not a wipe warmer at all.) We misplaced a few of our essential items, though, including the trusty baby bouncer so what great timing to discover the new BabyBjorn Bouncer Balance Soft from the BabyBjorn Dots by Karin (as in, the company’s art director Karin Hoxster) collection that’s exclusively at Kohls. I was raised in a house designed almost entirely in black and white, so this very cool modern polka dot collection caught my eye right away. It’s exactly what I have been looking for —...

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Nuna MIXX stroller: a swanky, sturdy recliner on wheels

As we get ready to welcome our newest bundle I have been catching up on all the hip and inventive baby gear that has surfaced in the past 5 years. Of course, the stroller is one of the most essential pieces, so I have been taking my time on this one. The brand new Nuna MIXX stroller is a strong contender from my recent test drives. The Nuna MIXX stroller is solid for my new task of keeping up with a baby and a kindergartner.  I love the sleek, modern look, but my favorite part of this Dutch-inspired design is the seating flexibility. The...

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The 5 best double strollers from our favorite baby gear pros. (And a sneak peek at the newest ones coming out!)

File under problems I never thought I’d have: Agonizing over double strollers. With a 17-month-old in tow and a brand new baby, I’ve been feeling the pressure to pick the perfect ride. If I was still in New York where my primary means of transportation were my own two feet and unpredictable winter weather was inevitable, I just might be plunking down serious cash for a Bugaboo Donkey. But now that I drive just about everywhere in sunny California, my priorities have changed. How easy is the stroller to fold? How heavy and wide is it? Will it fit in my trunk? Is side-by-side...

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Be the last stroller standing, no matter how many gifts are weighing you down.

Maybe you’ve been there, too–out holiday shopping or enjoying a lovely family day when your kid hops out of the stroller and down it goes. Thanks, overstuffed stroller bag! There is a chance that tipped strollers could be a thing of the past with SureShop, a new stroller bag designed to keep your baby’s vehicle upright no matter the cargo. This reusable shopping bag connects to the back and sides of your stroller with a simple clip. It redistributes weight up to ten pounds on each side of the stroller, keeping it standing. I really like the handle pocket that holds the bag straps in place on an umbrella...

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Family road trip tips: Tons of sanity-savers, tricks, and essential products to keep the back seat under control and save your vacation.

A lot of us are heading out for family vacations this month, and while a lot of parents consider a long car road trip with the kids the seventh circle of hell, I like to think of it as…a character building experience. But as tired as I get of hearing, “How much longer?” I’m sure it’s less fun for my kids, who are squished together in the back seat on a seemingly endless journey. When we took a 16-hour road trip (each way) with a 3-year-old and an 18-month-old, I had plenty of time to discover what works and what doesn’t. And after talking...

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The Orbit Baby G3 travel system: a good stroller just got a whole lot better

I never would have guessed that a ten-pound baby could bring so much joy–and so much back pain. I’ve recently been trying out the Orbit Baby car seat, and from my perspective it’s a game changer. Plus a real back-saver that I’m thinking could have eliminated a few trips to the chiropractor for me over the years. My back and I appreciate Orbit’s SmartHub Technology, which allows me to set the bassinet into the base (or the baby into the car seat) with her facing me while we walk; then I can twist it to the rear-facing position for driving. It’s such a simple, innovative detail that makes a huge difference....

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The best new all-terrain strollers: We see you rollin’.

Having been the resident stroller expert around here for years, believe it or not, I still get excited when I hear about cool new jogging strollers. It’s great to know that stroller manufacturers are increasingly thinking about us who want to push our kids around more places than a shiny mall floor. And now there are three new all-terrain stroller models on the way that are so cool, you new parents in the market for one are going to have a tough time choosing a favorite.   ORBIT BABY O2 STROLLER I loved my Orbit stroller with my own children; it was so versatile and easy...

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10 completely over-the-top, absolutely gorgeous, seriously splurgy baby gifts for a lucky kid (that’s not ours)

One of the obvious—and awesome—perks of writing for Cool Mom Picks is that I get to scope out the newest, coolest products for moms. And sometimes, those products fall into the I-can-only-dream, outrageously chic, over-the-top gorgeous category. Then again, sometimes we get emails make us ask, are these for real? Here are ten seriously splurgy baby gifts I’ve seen lately, in no particular order. If you’re a 90201-er or $4500 for a crib doesn’t blow your mind, have fun. My wish list can be your shopping list.   1. Silver Cross Kensington Pram Stroller, $2,750 Feel like Kate Middleton when you stroll your baby around town; she has one...

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Shake it up baby.

In my early days of parenting, finding beautiful handmade baby gifts was something you really had to work on. But now, they’re popping up everywhere. And as we try to pare it down to just our favorites we’re happy to discover Cheengoo who just might make the cutest crocheted baby rattles in the world. Besides cute, the handmade rattles are totally eco-friendly, crocheted from 100% pesticide-free bamboo yarn that makes them super-soft, naturally antibacterial and hypoallergenic. That may sound like marketing speak until you think about how much your newborn is going to have these against his sensitive skin–or in that sensitive mouth. (Fact.) Plus they’re made by...

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A fashionable pacifier clip? Who knew.

Teething babies have been sinking their chompers into colorful, fashionable and safe Chewbeads ever since their bracelets and necklaces started appearing on the coolest new mamas. And now, along with their toddler-friendly teethers and playful older-kid Juniorbeads, they’ve come up with their own line of pacifier clips to keep many babies’ favorite mouth accessory right where they want it. Chewbeads’ “Where’s the Pacifier?” Pacifier Clip keeps those pesky binkies attached with a cute silicone clip tethered to their trademark soft beads that are safe to chew on, and bright enough to find should they become lost in a pile of stuffed animals. Even better, some of those...

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Orla Kiely blooms at Target. Otherwise known as designer handbags for less. Whoo!

I have toted diapers, work stuff and even my computer in Orla Kiely bags and have become an avid fan, so I was shocked to find out I was not the first of her cult followers to learn that the popular designer had partnered with Target for an affordable cosmetic bag collection. Orla Kiely Etc. has two new exclusive collections at Target in cheery poppy and bright garden themes. The hole in my make up bag that sends my lipgloss straight to the bottom of my purse makes this especially exciting news, for me at least. The pieces are lovely, at a price point that make it possible to collect them all. My first...

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Raise your hand if you’d like your kid’s food to stay on the plate, not on the floor.

Meal time with a toddler can feel like a special kind of hell. Aside from picky eating, the real frustrations for me came in when my little eaters managed to throw what seemed like all of their food on the floor. If you’re the type of parent who spends countless hours pureeing your own organic yams, then food waste is especially irritating. Then again…it’s especially irritating for those of us who put a few Cheerios on a plate and call it a snack. Let’s just agree that extra clean-up stinks no matter what. Enter Adi, the brand new Stay Put Plate that I am so...

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The Petunia Pickle Bottom Cake Collection: Have your cake and wear it too.

Having three kids is just fine by me, but Petunia Pickle Bottom almost makes me want to keep having babies just so I can keep using their gorgeous diaper bags year after year. I said almost. And kids or no kids, I think any woman would be excited to use a bag from Petunia’s new Cake Collection launching today, which we’re happy to give you a first look at exclusively on Cool Mom Picks. We have been fans of the highly coveted Petunia diaper bags (and clothes and accessories!) for a long time now and the re-imagined Petunia Cake Collection of bags still has us ogling its beautiful wares....

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Cool travel accessory alert: The reinvention of the travel neck pillow

I don’t travel light. It’s hard to with two kids and an affinity for shoes, which is why a neck pillow is one of those useful travel accessories that never really make it into my carry-on. For the first time I’m reconsidering, now that I’ve discovered the new Sleeper Scarf, which reinvents the travel neck pillow and looks way better than those garish things in the airport gift shops. Essentially it’s an inflatable neck pillow, only smartly hidden inside an infinity scarf that you can wear any time. The Sleeper Scarf sounded a little As Seen On TV-ish to me when I first...

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ToGoKins: Little cloth napkins with a big impact

My kids’ backpacks are filled to bursting every morning as they leave for school, with books, lunch, snacks, and whatever else they can find to cram in there, it seems. Adding something else to that haul might seem ludicrous, but I love the environmental aspect of sending them off with cloth napkins like ToGoKins. Those of you who are crafty might be able to make them yourself,  but for me, it would be June before I pull out my sewing machine and actually do it. So this little Etsy shop is a great resource. Their adorable little cloth napkins are just that. Little. (And...

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Brown bagging it

Even though we’ve entered an age of eco-friendly everything, especially when it comes to lunch bags and school supplies, I still have this nostalgic fondness for the brown paper bags of yore. So I am utterly charmed by the reusable brown paper lunch bag, from UK company Luckies of London. On the outside it looks just like a regular old brown paper bag. But when you pick it up, you realize it’s made of Tyvek, a sturdy coated material that’s tear-proof and leak resistant. Basically it feels like a Fed Ex envelope, and if it’s good enough for them, it should be good...

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Bringing lunch to school just got cooler with these quirky reusable lunch bags

Packing lunches is one of my least favorite parts of the back-to-school grind, but I think these quirky reusable lunch bags from Etsy shop Oh Little Rabbit would make it a little more fun. The unexpected designs on these handmade, screen printed bags make me smile, and make low-tech lunch packing very cool.   Each lunch bag is made from 100 percent recycled cotton scraps, then screen printed with one of Jason and Carla Hibb’s whimsical, original hand-drawn prints. Large enough to fit a tall drink inside, these bags are the perfect size for kids who have to pack a lunch...

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The insulated water bottle that makes my heart S’well

When I asked my friend at the park about her water bottle and she told me it was, and I quote, the best water bottle in the world, obviously I had to know more. She introduced me to S’well, a line of insulated water bottles that keep drinks cold without leaking or getting any condensation on the side. And it turns out I may be the last to know about them, since they were featured in our back to school guide this year as one of the coolest lunchbox accessories. The first thing you’ll notice is that S’well bottles are absolutely...

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Best affordable jogging stroller? Reader Q + A

Hi Cool Mom Picks. Any recommendations on the best affordable jogging stroller that’s ideally lightweight, compact and versatile? -Pamela J.   Hi Pamela, Though I will admit right off the bat that I am not a jogger, I have reviewed my share of jogging strollers and I have a few recommendations for the best ones that ought to give you a good start when looking. There’s one catch, though: Affordable and jogging stroller usually aren’t two phrases seen together. The best jogging strollers are definitely the priciest options, but they’re also the ones that last, which means you should have no trouble finding gently...

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Beyonce-approved backpacks that give back: We’re crazy in love.

Listen, we know how tough it can be to find a fierce backpack for older kids that will last, which is why some of our kids still don’t have the perfect one yet. It’s also why we put together an entire Back to School backpack round-up of the darned things. So you can understand our excitement when Queen Bey herself helps to design a high-end bag that looks like Darth Vader and will last almost as long, while giving a backpack to a kid in need. (Which is a very un Vader-like act of benevolence, of course.) This limited edition...

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A custom backpack our kids can’t wait to design themselves

My kids wear uniforms to school, which makes it hard for them to find ways to express their personalities while staying within the dress code. One great option is of course custom backpacks (and backpack accessories) that reflect their fun spirits, like the new ones we just discovered from Adelaide NYC, already one of our favorite spots for kids’ accessories. They’re pricy, but definitely something we haven’t seen before. DIY backpack in this case means design it yourself, which is definitely easier and less messy than handing your kids a sewing machine and some backpack fabric. Kids can choose from 12 different geometric...

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Diaper bags so smart they almost pack themselves.

Having three babies in the past nine years has taught me that I need to be able to find what I need in my diaper bag, stat. There is no time for digging around to find the wipes when I’m dealing with a diaper blowout, or for, well, anything during those lovely tantrums at the grocery store. So with my next baby, I’m going to be carrying a PacaPod diaper bag, a fab diaper bag just introduced in the U.S. that keeps things organized in zip pouches, or pods (hence the bag name) for easy access. Designer Jacqueline Waggett is a mom of two girls who learned...

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Herschel toddler backpacks: The kinds that won’t break before circle time

We featured Canadian brand Herschel in our 2013 Backpacks for Big Kids Guide because we’re so impressed with their sturdy construction and stylish design. Now we’re digging on the the Hershel toddler backpacks at My Sweet Muffin, which are slightly smaller but just as long-lasting. because as parents know, toddlers sure are rough on their backpacks for people without homework. I even discovered a faulty zipper on my kindergartner’s first bag–right after he tore off the tags on the day before school started. Yay. With gender neutral colors, padded straps, and plenty of reinforcement, we love Herschel Supply’s Plaid Survey Bag, Cobalt Blue Bag,...

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Eco-friendly baby bags to organize your mother load

As we prepare for baby #2, I dug out our old, flattened diaper bag, and I’m suddenly revisiting the idea of ditching it and just working with a cool tote. Luckily someone has gone a step further and invented an adaptable solution. Check out Mother Load eco-friendly baby bags. Mother Load bags are the brainchild of another mom who just couldn’t get used to conventional diaper bags, and wanted to use her own bags to adapt her packing approach instead. She created these eco-friendly mesh and nylon bags to help sort and organize her load o’ mom stuff and keep the chaos to a minimum. While yes, you...

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These cute personalized lunch boxes that go beyond monograms and first names

The sting of summer ending can be hard to bear, but I know that accessories always make me feel better. I mean uh, my kids. So take a look at this adorable line of personalized lunch boxes  by Itzy Ritzy for, of all places, Shutterfly. Maybe it will help? We have covered many lunch boxes,  but the Lunch Happens lunch bags may be the first line I’ve seen where you can personalize a lunch box with your kid’s name and pictures. It being Shutterfly and all. The designs are pretty cute — robots, fruit with faces, colorful photo bubbles. Once you’ve picked one, it’s really easy to upload photos from your...

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Cool messenger bags for back to school. For you and the kids.

I love pretty much every part of back to school shopping, but picking out the new school bag might just be the best part. And it’s even more fun these days now that there are so many cool options, like these cool messenger bags (and backpacks) from The Medium Control on Etsy.   If you’re shopping for a big kid or yourself, I’d definitely take a whirl around their cool shop full of fun printed messenger bags and backpacks. I’m partial to the old school turntable bag myself, or the Eames chairs backpack. Monogrammed bags are a cool way to help identify your...

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