Hardy essentials for a family trip to the Alps
Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.
This August, I’m heading to the Swiss Alpine village of Klosters en famille. With two toddlers in tow, we will have to skip the 700km network of hiking trails. Our activities will be gentler: refreshing swims at the lido, milking our farmer friend’s cows (and sampling his delicious cheese), hopping on e-mountain bikes to riverside campfires for bratwurst, and maybe even a glacial plunge in the river – though I expect I’ll be on my own there.
On Cloudvista trail running shoes (for father and daughter)
With lengthier hikes off the cards, I’m substituting boots for a pair of trail running shoes. Lightweight, comfortable and good-looking, they’re ideal for travelling and strolls into town, while still giving protection and grip for hitting the trails. My three-year-old daughter is also fond of her velcro-fastened Cloud Play – one of Swiss brand On’s recently launched kids’ models. £140, on-running.com
SunGod Renegades sunglasses
Anything within reach of my one-and-a-half-year-old is in peril, particularly a pair of sunglasses, so these near-unbreakable options are a great choice. Their classic shape looks good even on narrower faces like mine; the arms have screwless hinges so they pop back in place if pulled off; the lenses are pretty scratch-resistant; and they’re great for sports. They’re also customisable – there’s a host of lens and frame colours to choose from on the website (consider the 8KO lens upgrade for amazing clarity). From £70, sungod.co
Arc’teryx Beta Lightweight jacket
When heading to the mountains in the summer, I always pack a good-quality rain jacket in case the weather takes a turn for the worse. Arc’teryx is my go-to for waterproof shell jackets – the brand doesn’t cut corners, the fit is great and it’ll last me for years. This three layer Gore-Tex one is waterproof, breathable, lightweight and packs up small so can easily be stashed in a bag without taking too much space. £450, arcteryx.com
Joolz Aer+ stroller
What sets this stroller apart from other travel prams is its ease of fold; it could not be simpler or quicker to do with one hand – not to be underestimated when you’re holding a wriggling baby in the other. At just 6kg, it’s as lightweight as they come and small enough to be stashed in an overhead locker. The spec is high-end: four-wheel suspension, full recline setting for sleeps and good shade from the generously sized sun hood. £449, joolz.com
Voited Ripstop outdoor blanket
A picnic is not a picnic without a blanket – at least that’s how it seems to my kids. No sooner has one been laid on the ground than it becomes a base camp for mini adventures and refuelling stops. This one is water- and stain-resistant, and machine-washable – plus it doubles as a pillow, cape or sleeping bag thanks to the poppers along its edges. £102, voited.co.uk
Ever since I started visiting RSPB reserves with my father as a small boy and jotting observations in a notebook, birdwatching has been my passion. These days, there’s little time for dedicated trips; it’s a case of seizing every opportunity for a spot while out and about. Enter the pocket-sized binoculars: compact enough to have with me any time we’re outdoors and despite their small size, the 10x magnification means I’m able to get an up-close look. I’ve got no excuse to not positively identify the subject. £740, swarovskioptik.com
Hydro Flask insulated food jar
We’ve found these food containers invaluable for keeping our little ones’ tummies full of hearty goodness, and perfect when travelling or for picnics. They keep pasta dishes warm, or berries and yoghurt cool in the summer heat; the wide neck means you can eat straight from them; and they’re easy to clean too. Plus they’re completely leak proof and available in four sizes, the largest of which would probably feed all the family. From £29.95, hydroflask.com