Outdoor Retailer Summer Market '06: Children's product trends and news

The kids market is booming, so say the trend pundits. But, at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market this year, there seemed to be more dog products than kids' products -- what does that say about the kids market in outdoor? Still, despite the apparent preferential market attention to pooches, our editors did manage to discover some outstanding innovations for kids and some interesting news to report on the small human front.
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The kids market is booming, so say the trend pundits. But, at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market this year, there seemed to be more dog products than kids' products -- what does that say about the kids market in outdoor? Still, despite the apparent preferential market attention to pooches, our editors did manage to discover some outstanding innovations for kids and some interesting news to report on the small human front. The biggest trend in kids is the use of reflective taping and accents for both infant/toddler and youth sizes. And pink, it seems, is here to stay for girls.

What follows, is a select summary of product that caught our wandering editors' eyes and it is by no means complete! So if you're not mentioned, we were either too busy dodging all the dogs and kids wandering the aisles to pay attention, didn't think your product was cool or new enough, or we were just plain clueless -- you pick one.

With that in mind, here's our take on cool new outdoor products and trends for kids:

Molehill has added reflective logos and taping to its All Weather Gear for spring. And, because the company is seeing increasing demand for girls' outerwear, it has added the color pink to its All Weather Pants (retail $49.99) and Jacket (retail $69.99) and popular Yampa Pants (retail $29.99) and Yampa Shorts (retail $24.99).

Mountain Sprouts introduced reflective in both its youth-sized Yeti Jacket (retail $104) and Pants (retail $88). The strip of reflective adds a good-looking design touch, while providing a safety feature. The same reflective strip can be found on the infant-sized Snowy Egret Bunting with its weather-resistant shell, fleece lining and rollover cuffs at a retail price of $88. Additionally, Blackhawk Equity Group, the parent company of Mountain Khakis, recently bought Mountain Sprouts. The investors see an opportunity to capitalize on the hot youth segment of the market by exploring the possibilities of Mountain Sprouts and Mountain Khakis collaborating in the future to produce "permanent clothing" for kids. Stay tuned.

Outside Baby came to market with a new apparel line that includes the Malden Wind Pro Light Fleece Jacket and Pant with micro curly fleece running down the side of the pant legs, around the hood and down the side seams. Also new are the two-layer Windproof Collection Jacket (retail $54.95), Pant (retail $29.95) and Vest (retail $44.95). Outside Baby products are well thought out and the new apparel offering is no exception. The company knows that if baby is comfortable outside, Mom and Dad will be too!

The youth sleeping bags from Sierra Designs are the coolest bags around. They make one want to be a kid again. SD has added three new bags to its youth line, the 40-degree Coyote for boys, and two new girl’s bags, the 40-degree Twinkle and the 20-degree Dragonfly. The original youth bag, the 20-degree Big Dog, has been updated. At first glance, one can tell these bags are something special from the whimsical printed linings to the pillow pocket in which one can stow the colorful pillow that comes with each bag. Other cool features include an inside clothes warming pocket, attached storage bag and tricot-lined foot box. The bags weigh from 1 pound, 12 ounces to 2 pounds, 4 ounces. The 20-degree bags retail for $99 and the 40-degree bags $79. They are winners!

If you're "doo for a change," Doo Duds may be just the line for you. This company, new to Summer Market, carries a line of graphic tees, bloomer sets and rompers in toddler sizes and tees in youth sizes at wholesale prices that range from $5.50 to $7. All the products can be printed with a shop or resort name, and there's a graphic theme to cover just about any activity from biking and hiking to rafting and skiing. A six-dozen order gets you a POP merchandiser. Contact Doo Duds at 866-644-6795.

Kids love hats and the place to go for all kinds of kids hats is the San Diego Hat Company. Its collection ranges from cowboy and wide-brimmed straw hats to adorable crocheted hats shaped like strawberries, dragons, fish, frogs and ladybugs. Hats range from $6 to $10 wholesale. Check out its website at www.sandiegohat.com.

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