Category: Gear

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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Panda school supplies: Our vote for cutest 2014 back to school trend.

We thought hedgehogs, foxes, even narwhals would hit it big as the hot animal for kids his year. And yes, they have. But of all things, we’re also noticing a ton of adorable panda school supplies and we can’t say we’re complaining. If your kids awwww at them as much as ours do, here are some of our favorites.       Panda preschool Backpack and Panda Zoo Lunchie ($20, $14 Skip*Hop) What preschooler or little kid would not want to skip to school holding one–or both–of these cute panda supplies in their paws. Actually, my seven-year old likes the lunch...

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GB Ellum stroller review: Lightweight, compact and affordable, it’s a parent’s dream

Ever get the feeling that a new stroller will cost about as much as baby’s future college education? Stroller trends over the years have certainly made it seem that way. Which is why I love finding awesome strollers at prices that won’t prevent our little geniuses from actually being able to go to college, and the brand new GB Ellum stroller is one of them. We’re talking, the $200 range. And that’s pretty darn good these days. It’s a simple stroller, perfect for city strolling — so no off-roading with this one — and designed specifically for “fashion forward parents.” Heh....

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The Creeper ate my homework!

If Minecraft ate a bunch of your kids’ time this summer, this Minecraft Creeper backpack is the perfect way to head back to school, where sadly, Stampy Longnose videos are not part of the daily curriculum. Of course teachers will not accept “The Creeper ate my homework,” as a viable excuse but that shouldn’t stop your young Minecraft fan from begging for a creeper backpack to start the school year. With oodles of compartments, pockets, organizers, and sturdy double zippers, the Minecraft Creeper backpack from our pals at ThinkGeek is an unusually savvy way to merge video games and a workhorse of a...

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10 of the best diaper bags under $150 that any mom of multiples (or any over-packer) will love

Like a lot of you out there, I can’t live without my favorite handbags, yet for some reason, diaper bags were not at the top of my priority list when I began preparing for baby number one. Now I know better. However I’ve run into trouble recently, in my attempt to plan for baby number two, in finding a stylish, affordable diaper bag with room to spare. Room for bottles and sippys. Room for extra clothes. Room for wipes of every kind. Room for what-are-those-things-called again? Oh right, diapers. For two kids this time. We’ve covered so many fantastic diaper bag brands over the years, and now mainstream handbag designers...

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7 tips for keeping your car seat clean. Or, mostly clean. We’re realists.

Having lived through hundreds of road trips with dozens of children between us all, we’re no strangers to the joys (ahem) of keeping your child’s car seat clean. Or at least, attempting to. So on behalf or our newest sponsor, Evenflo, makers of some of our favorite car seats, we’ve got lots of great ideas for you, from a few BTDT moms who’ve seen (and smelled and wiped) it all. Besides, have you seen the new Evenflo ProComfort line of car seats? Gorgeous. And we bet you’d like to keep them that way as long as possible. Especially because this line...

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The ultimate cute self closing pacifiers for germaphobe parents

None of my kids had any interest in baby pacifiers, which was not for lack of trying on my part, let me tell you. If they had, I know that my germaphobic tendencies mean that I would have carried around lots of extra clean binkies and pacifier wipes, and  tried to heed the urging of my Cool Mom compadres to never invest in a useless pacifier sterilizer. But here’s something up my alley without a big investment: the Keep-it-Kleen baby pacifiers from RaZbaby. We first discovered these self closing pacifiers years ago, and since then they’ve added a ton of new adorable designs–I totally love how retro the...

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Happy birthday Prince George! Today, our babies suck British binkies in solidarity with you.

I am not a big royal watcher but I can’t help but peek at all the adorable photos circulating of Prince George this week as he reaches his first birthday today. I can’t even imagine what he’s going to to be getting for gifts: A new pony? An original Banksy of his likeness?  One of these outrageous children’s playhouses perhaps? (And here we all are wondering whether we should get our own one-year-olds a new outfit or a small toy.) In honor of the royal milestone, we thought we’d send a shoutout to British baby company Tommee Tippee which hit American shores about four years ago, and  now...

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HALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper totally reinvents the bassinet

Waiting for someone to build a better bassinet? Well exciting news, expectant parents: HALO, creators of those cozy, fool-proof sleepsacks we love, is launching a bassinet called the HALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper, and trust me when I say it’s a game-changer. (Get it? Bassinet + Nest? Bassinest.) Now I will say that when I had my first baby last summer, I was showered with tidbits of new mom advice, one of which was not to buy a bassinet no matter how adorable I thought one would be. I was told that a bassinet would take up too much room (a hot commodity where we lived), delay sleep-training,...

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SIGG water bottles for kids get an international makeover

They may not get filled with anything more exotic than ice water, but a new travel series SIGG water bottle for kids will get your brood thinking about far-away places while they sip. With six different cities represented in the series there is bound to be a little wanderlust around the lunch table once school is back in session. The Paris bottle is parfait for little Francophiles. Or let them pick from London, Shanghai, Switzerland, Germany, and New York City bottles, all illustrated with iconic images from the location.While there is a boy and girl version of each bottle, starring either “Max” or “Ruby” (oddly) on the front, the color scheme and illustrative...

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Bumbleride Indie 4: Lightweight and off-road ready.

I’ve owned one too many strollers in a quest for one that my child can grow with, that can handle my local terrain, and also not break the bank. So when I heard that Bumbleride, a favorite of ours, was coming out with a new “crossover” stroller called the Indie 4--lightweight enough for everyday errands with four off-road-ready wheels–I was eager to test one out. In the past, living around NYC, I never owned a car that I had to pack a stroller into, so I wasn’t as concerned about a stroller’s weight or how easy it was to fold. I only cared if its wheels were...

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Handmade travel bags and accessories that get you more excited for travel.

I have an obsession with toiletry bags and dopp kits. As in, I believe that you can’t have too many for travel. I use them for my many cords and adapters, for wayward pens and a small notepad, for toiletries of course, and even for underthings–tuck a little lavender sachet in one and fight that not-so-fresh feeling on the road. Ha. So I got all happy finding the beautiful handmade travel bags and pouches from Hallie Gray that we’re carrying at our indie shop through GREAT.LY. Clockwise: Tribal Stripe Toiletry Bag, Zip Pouch Travel Bag , Raspberry Toiletry Travel Bag, Moshi Toiletry Travel Bag They’re all...

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The Skip Hop Duo Signature Diaper Bag is back, redesigned, and better than ever. Can we talk pockets?

It’s safe to say that Skip Hop revolutionized the diaper bag category with its cool modern twist on the new mom essential accessory. When it launched its first Duo diaper bag ten years ago, parents finally had a sleek and durable bag that wasn’t bright pink or emblazoned with teddy bears for all their baby stuff. (Yes, new parents, there was a time that those were your only choices; hard to believe, right?) Skip Hop just announced the new and improved version of their Skip Hop Duo Signature Diaper Bag, with updated extras like a tech pocket that’s easily accessible and will hold most smart...

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Camp labels: The bane of your summer parenting existence made easier

I admit I have been lax in the clothes labeling department, inadvertently donating way too many cardigans and water bottles to mysterious children at our school. But now that my kids are going to summer camp for the first time, it has been mandated in no uncertain terms, ALL ITEMS MUST BE CLEARLY LABELED WITH THE CAMPER’S NAME. So of course I turned to our label mainstay, Mabel’s Labels, whose labels actually stay on well and don’t get all worn away in the wash. Turns out their personalized label camp combo which they launched about 6 years ago is now wonderfully updated with loads more design...

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A new hedgehog backpack from Skip Hop. Like that won’t be the most popular thing ever.

Skip Hop is inextricable from my memories of my boys in their early years. My older son started preschool with a frog backpack and ended Pre-K with a very well worn monkey on his back. My three-year-old is currently toting the fox around on his tiny shoulders, but the replacement this September will undoubtedly be the adorable hedgehog backpack. And you may know how we feel about hedgehogs. He was just added to the Skip Hop Zoo Pack lineup this month, along with a pretty butterfly and kids will love them.   Matching butterfly and hedgehog lunch boxes— which Skip Hop refers to as the cutesie “Zoo Lunchies”–are...

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7 cool snack containers for kids that beat plastic bags

We’ve got a gaggle of snackers in our homes, so cool snack containers for kids are an absolute must. They’re a far more eco-friendly choice over plastic bags, which as we all know by now not only saves waste but plenty of money over the long run. Plus, we’ve found that packing our own snacks before we head out actually forces us to make healthier choices for the kids when we’re on the go. Let’s admit it–rest stops and c-stores can be filled with some less ideal temptations when you’re already starving. We’ve rounded-up seven of our own favorite reusable snack containers that are...

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Is the innovative Taga Bike Stroller worth the price tag? Here’s the real scoop.

Last month the, Taga Bike began selling in the US after six years in Europe, and I’ve been fascinated by this innovation in biking for parents, and the whole bakfiet trend that’s slowly making its way to our shores.  I totally see the appeal of a bike-stroller hybrid like the Taga; there is a cute outdoor shopping center about a mile from my house, and I’ve frequently thought how nice it would be to ride my bike down there, shop a bit, grab some groceries, and head back home with my four-year-old, who isn’t big enough to ride his own bike that far himself. And...

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What to pack for kids: From spoons to scooters, 9 surprising items that make family travel easier and more fun

It’s officially the season for travel (whoo!) and whether you’re planing it, driving, or taking the subway uptown for a picnic in the park, we’re all for getting out with the kids. A top question from our readers is always “but what do I pack!!??” (Number of exclamation points not exaggerated.) Well, you’ve come to the right place because we’re huge advocates of traveling with kids, and we do it ourselves, a lot. Even Kristen, and she has four of them! So while yes, you need clothes and snacks and crayons, on behalf of our awesome new partner Micro...

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If you can’t run away to the circus, run away to camp with the circus in your lunch bag.

As I start to evaluate my kids’ lunchboxes and decide which will actually hold up through summer camp, and which require a loving send-off, I come across these wonderful new lunch bags for kids and coordinating accessories from our friends at ISAK. There’s a wonderful, quirky collection filled with Scandinavian style and color that includes a lunch bag, bento boxes, a plastic water bottle and a vacuum-packed flask for hot and cold drink.  And if circus isn’t your theme, I also love the playful purple set with their signature happy girls across the lids.         They’re adorably colorful...

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7 celebrity diaper bags we’re drooling over from affordable to whoa.

We have to admit: sometimes it’s fun to spy into the lives of the rich and famous to see what baby gear they use. So this week we thought we’d check out a few celebrity diaper bags, should you need Halle Berry’s or Brad Pitt’s style guidance. Yes, cool dads carry diaper bags too. And even cooler, he’s carrying one that’s fairly affordable. Note: if you want to see celebrity babies, you won’t find them here. We respect and support the paparazzi photo ban of celebrity kids.   The chic leather satchel at top, which happens to be Jessica...

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