Giveaway alert! Puddlegear is offering a Puddlegear rain suit to a lucky VancouverMom.ca reader. Scroll down for details!
“What child in Vancouver shouldn’t get out and stomp in puddles?” wonders Alex Anglin-Shields, owner of Puddlegear. “What is better than a rainy day romp through Lighthouse Park?”
Tell that to my four-year-old daughter who is currently a fan of princesses and pink and refuses to wear pants unless they are leggings. Even her skirts have to meet proper “twirl” criteria. So I wasn’t entirely surprised when this past autumn, she completely boycotted her green rain jacket.
This is what makes Puddlegear’s selection of Abeko raingear initially so appealing. “Girls are always thrilled to have something girly for outdoors!” Alex says. “So much is unisex.” But look deeper and you’ll see something far more special than pink puddle jumpers.
Alex and her husband grew up on the North Shore, a location that fueled their active lifestyle – hers sailing all over the coast and his hiking around in Lynn Canyon. Today, Alex and her family play outside during the winter, along with the rest of the seasons of the year. “Swimming in the pumpkin patch was proving to much of a test for most raingear we tried,” Alex recalls, who along with her husband decided that her kids should be prepared to go out in any weather. And to do that, Alex sought to buy her gear once and make it excellent quality. When they found Abeko locally, they wore it religiously.
But when the previous distributor decided to try a new career, Alex wasn’t sure where they’d be able to buy their favourite raingear anymore. On a whim, Alex emailed the distributor but didn’t hear back until two years later when the distributor returned back from Thailand, thrilled that someone had wanted to take over. At the time, Alex was a stay-at-home mom of a baby girl and two school-aged kids, but she decided to start Puddlegear anyway.
Puddlegear is designed to get kids out playing in any kind of weather. Made in Europe by Abeko, a Swedish raingear manufacturer for over 65 years, Puddlegear meets very strict European safety standards. “These are the people that dress the North Sea oil riggers and fishermen to go out in all kinds of weather!” says Alex, who adds that adult gear is available for order as well.
When you touch the garments, you can tell that its flexible fabric is of high quality and overall design is superbly technical. I tried the Benny jacket, pants and gloves on my toddler. I’m no expert, but looking at the set I was convinced that she would stay dry in the wettest of weather and windiest of days. Features abound: there are no drawstrings; the hood pops off; reflectant tape is on both the jacket and pants; and the fit is snug so it won’t get in an active child’s way. All the seams are heat sealed rather than coated to provide watertight seams.
But a key distinction of Puddlegear is that it’s free of harmful chemicals. Alex’s goal was to keep her kids outside playing without being impeded by the elements – or toxins like PVC and phthalates usually found in similar raingear. The rainwear is certified by OKO-Tex, an ecological certification process that tests for over 100 harmful chemicals. With its inert Polyurethane, Puddlegear has no off-gassing and being PVC-free, the gear is more sustainable than comparable rainwear. And because of its quality, Puddlegear stands up to repeat wears by multiple children. “My kids have all worn the original suits we bought from Abeko nine years ago.” Alex says. “They continue to be worn by friends children.”
But its environmental and technical benefits aside, Puddlegear is really about allowing kids to lose themselves in their imaginations while playing outside.
You can view the catalogue at www.puddlegear.com and is available to North American customers directly over the phone at 1-866-586-0660. You can purchase Puddlegear from two local retail stores:
- The Secret Closet – 1844 Marine Drive, West Vancouver. 604-926-1630.
- Boomers and Echoes – 1985 Lonsdale Avenue North Vancouver, BC (604) 984-6163
Incidentally, my toddler did not want to take her Puddlegear off and refused to come inside. She’s not quite into that pretty-in-pink phase, but I’m sure that being dressed in pink from head to toe helped.
Giveaway alert! Puddlegear is offering a Puddlegear rain suit to a lucky VancouverMom.ca reader. Value to not exceed $125 and subject to availability of colour size choices. Simply subscribe to VancouverMom.ca’s newsletter (existing subscribers are already entered).
Images courtesy of Puddlegear