Benefits of Summer Sports for Kids

summer sports

Summer is quickly approaching and you know what that means – school’s out! Kiddos will soon be free of the pressures of school and able to enjoy the great outdoors.

While your children might be thrilled about the freedom that comes with the summer months, having your kids around 24/7 can be pretty stressful. On top of that, they will no longer have the structure in their lives that has kept their minds stimulated over the past several months.

It’s safe to say that children will need to do something else to pass the time they now have on their hands, and summer sports are a great option! Here are all the benefits of enrolling your kids in summer sports.

summer sports

1. Exercise

It’s common knowledge that kids aren’t getting nearly as much exercise as they need nowadays, thanks in large part to video games. Putting your child in summer sports is a great way to get them to exercise while also having fun!

No matter which sport they participate in, it’ll encourage much healthier habits than just staying indoors all day. They’ll also be much more likely to carry these good habits into adulthood!

exercising kids

2. Socialization

Socialization is of utmost importance in early childhood. Interacting with others will help your child to develop their sense of self and reach necessary milestones. They will also learn important skills like sharing, problem-solving, and setting boundaries.

Getting your child to play summer sports in a team setting is a great way to have them socialize with other kids their age!

kids playing soccer

3. Self-Confidence

Good mentorship from supportive trainers and coaches can do wonders for your child’s self-confidence. Sports also provide a healthy competitive environment for your child where they can achieve milestones and grow their confidence.

Self-confidence is a difficult attribute to develop for fully-grown adults, so why not give your kid a head start in life? They’ll have a much greater chance of being successful down the line!

boy with volleyball

4. Teamwork

You know what they say – teamwork makes the dream work! Teamwork skills are essential in every area of life – school, extracurriculars, and eventually in the workplace.

Team sports encourage children to work together in order to achieve a common goal. This forces children to learn how to communicate, help one another out, and feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves.

5. Problem-Solving Skills

Knowing how to problem-solve is necessary if you want your child to make good decisions in life. Good problem-solving involves finding solutions to issues in an effective and timely manner. This can really come in handy when they are in a sticky situation.

Enrolling your child in summer sports will provide them with a positive environment in which they can gain the strength of mind to deal with anything life throws at them.

6. Perseverance

Perseverance is yet another life-altering skill that could make all the difference in your child’s life. Having perseverance means that you have the persistence to keep doing something despite any difficulties or delays that may come about.

Summer sports present a challenge to your child since it takes time to pick up the skills required to participate in them. By the time the summer comes to an end, your child will be able to see and feel the progress they’ve made by putting in hard work!

7. More Personal Time For You

There’s no better way to finish off this list than by mentioning the huge benefit you’ll get by enrolling your kid in summer sports – personal time!

As a parent, you’ve probably already relinquished a lot of your personal time to meet your child’s needs. Having them enrolled in sports gives you the option to drop them off and pick them up after a few hours of me time.

If you’d like to stay and watch the game you’re more than welcome to do that as well! Thankfully, this still gives you a little bit of leeway since they don’t constantly have to be under your supervision.

children playing basketball

There you have it, all the benefits that can come from enrolling your child in summer sports! If you’ve decided you’re going to do just that this summer and are in need of a cleaning service to eliminate all the odours and dirt from your kid’s equipment, there’s no better place to go than Love Your Gear!

At Love Your Gear, we have state-of-the-art odour elimination machines and technology that is guaranteed to remove all odours, bacteria, and viruses. Contact us today for a free quote on our gear cleaning services!

The Benefits of Wearing Uniforms At Work

uniform

When you hear the word “uniform,” you may get bad flashbacks of having to get up for school every morning and throw on a frumpy outfit that you absolutely detested. But despite your personal feelings about them, there’s no disputing the fact that uniforms serve a purpose in the workplace. This is especially true when it comes to public servants like police officers and firefighters.

Uniforms are used to make employees easily distinguishable and prevent potentially disastrous situations that can result from misidentification. Besides serving as a form of personal protection, there are a plethora of other benefits that arise from wearing uniforms at work. Here are all the reasons why wearing a uniform at work is essential.

uniform

Staying Safe

As was mentioned earlier, uniforms protect employees, and more specifically, police officers, from dangerous situations. Police uniforms have a psychological influence on citizens and lets them know that the person they’re encountering is an authoritative figure that deserves respect. Their attire also helps to explain why they might be carrying a weapon or using force.

Wearing a uniform is also essential to your safety if your job involves you regularly going into stranger’s homes, such as pest control or providing cleaning services. Uniforms help to create a much-needed sense of trust in these scenarios.

Police officers

Looking Professional

Some people simply don’t have a sense of style and may not know how to dress for work despite their best effort. Others are particular about what they wear and will do anything to push dress code boundaries to the limit. Uniforms get rid of these problems entirely and ensure all employees are dressed in a way that aligns with the company image.

Representing your place of employment well and looking great while doing it is definitely a perk that makes wearing a uniform well worth it!

Increasing Productivity

Believe it or not, what people wear to work has actually been proven to affect their performance. Dressing in a uniform puts employees in a working mindset, which means they’ll be prepared to get a job done as soon as they’re on shift. By contrast, when employees wear more casual clothes to work, they can sometimes feel a bit too comfortable, which puts their productivity at risk.

Inspiring productivity in workers is a difficult feat for even the most experienced executives, and if uniforms can help with that even a little, why not take advantage of them?

Saving Time and Money

Time and money are undeniably two of the most valuable resources we have, and many people don’t have enough of either. Wearing a uniform at work buys you more of both.

Uniform wearers don’t have to spend hours every morning deciding what to wear. They also don’t have to purchase a bunch of work-appropriate outfits. Having one less thing to worry about on a day-to-day basis is a pretty irresistible benefit!

Waitstaff in uniform

Promoting Team Spirit

You know what they say – teamwork is the dream work! Uniforms promote a sense of team building and belonging that otherwise wouldn’t be present. The unified look that uniforms provide help employees feel more aligned with company values and communicates to the outside world that everyone in the organization is equal.

This can result in long-term success and ultimately, more loyal employees. Who doesn’t want that in an organization?

People in Uniform

Free Advertising

Having your employees wear a uniform is a relatively inexpensive way to generate brand awareness and get some free advertising. In fact, putting a unique logo that stands out on employee uniforms is one of the most effective ways to get customers to recognize your company and keep them coming back.

Considering how expensive advertising campaigns are to run, it’d be a real shame to miss out on this opportunity for (basically) free promotion!

Evidently, work uniforms are beneficial for both employees and employers alike. If you’re not the biggest fan of them, hopefully, this blog helped to change your mind (even just a bit)!

Why Love Your Gear

At Love Your Gear, we offer top-of-the-line uniform and gear cleaning services that remove all odour and bacteria from your possessions. We are so confident in our advanced Ozone Destruct Technology that we offer a 100% customer satisfaction money-back guarantee. Contact us today to get a free quote on our uniform and gear cleaning services. We can get the stubborn smells and stains out of pretty much anything!

 

 

All the Gear You Need For the Perfect Camping Trip

Camp

Summer is coming and you know what that means – it’s camping season! It’s time to get your hike on, go on fishing excursions, and roast marshmallows around the campfire late into the night. There’s nothing quite like enjoying all that Ontario has to offer during these warmer months, and you definitely want to get the most out of your camping trips.

In order to optimize your camping experiences, you have to be well equipped to deal with the great outdoors. This requires quite a bit of planning and forgetting even one piece of gear can be detrimental. In this blog, we’ll go over all the gear you need for the perfect camping trip.

Camp

Seven Camping Gear Essentials

1. A Tent

For obvious reasons, this is one piece of gear you don’t want to forget. Sleeping outside and being exposed to all the elements would make for one uncomfortable camping trip!

Make sure you have a tent that is a suitable size for the number of people going camping as well as all the accessories needed to put up said tent. These accessories include stakes, footprints, poles, and a cord. Also, practice putting up your tent before you arrive on the campgrounds to make sure you’re well prepared.

Tent

2. A Tarp

Having a tarp under your tent is needed to keep it dry and warm. While tents may appear to be waterproof, their walls are actually just water resistant. If you’ve ever endured a heavy rainfall without a tarp, you’ve probably come to this realization.

Putting a tarp under and around your tent is a pretty easy way to ensure your gear stays dry and you get the maximum amount of uses out of your tent.

3. Sleeping Bags and Pads

Sleeping bags and pads are another essential for camping if you want to have a good night’s rest. There’s nothing worse than feeling a bunch of lumps and bumps on your back when you’re trying to fall asleep.

Sleeping pads elevate your level of comfort while sleeping on the ground tremendously. Sleeping bags add an extra layer of cushion and keep you warm, which is much needed considering there’s no heating system in a tent!

Sleeping bag

4. Camping Pillow

These inflatable wonders have forever changed the camping game and no makeshift pillow can compete with the level of comfort that camping pillows provide. On top of being super comfortable, camping pillows are also versatile and can double as a seat cushion when needed.

You definitely don’t want to miss out on all that camping pillows have to offer!

5. Camp Chairs

If you’re planning on doing any laid back camping activities, like sitting around the campfire, camp chairs are an absolute must. This foldable piece of gear is super easy to transport and allows you to sit in the same spot for long periods of time comfortably.

Camp chairs can also come in handy outside the camping environment, such as during outdoor concerts or firework shows.

6.  Flashlights and Lanterns

Since campsites are not as well lit as city streets, flashlights and/or lanterns are absolutely necessary to get around once the sun goes down. How else are you supposed find your way to the washroom in the middle of the night?

Don’t forget to pack some extra batteries along with your flashlights/lanterns!

7. A Backpack

Last but certainly not least, you need a durable backpack with lots of compartments for any camping trip. This piece of gear is especially handy if you’re planning on doing any hiking during your trip.

A good backpack makes it incredibly easy to transport and access all the food, water, and other essentials you need to get through your journey. It’ll also last a long time and have some great stories attached to it!

Backpack

By including these items on your camping checklist, your trip will be set up for success. And if you need your gear cleaned after your expedition, Love Your Gear has got you covered!

At Love Your Gear, we offer specialty equipment cleaning services that cover gear including backpacks, tents, cushions, and pillows. Contact us today to get a free quote on our gear cleaning services. We’ll make sure all your gear is in tip top shape for your next camping trip!

History of Hockey Gear

Ice hockey players on the grand ice arena

There are few things you can do with your time that are more rewarding than playing sports. From the endorphins that rush through your body and cause you to sweat with delight, to the positive impact that being active has on your body, there are a wide variety of reasons that sports can positively impact both your mental and physical health.

One of the best things about sports is that there are so many options for those looking to join a league! Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are you an independent spirit who prefers to do things on your own? Then avoiding team sports in favour of tennis, squash, or swimming may be great for you!
  2. Do you like being outside or derive joy from scenic nature and fresh air? Perhaps hiking, skiing, or trail running are worth looking into!

At Love your Gear, we love cleaning the gear from any and all sports!

We’ve found it simply fascinating to watch the evolution of sports gear take place. Nowadays, athletes are decked out in only the highest-functioning heat-reducing gear perfect for withstanding long hours of movement.

As Canadians, we’re particularly invested in the world of hockey. Since the late 19th century, hockey has been having a huge impact on Canadian culture ­– and we’re here for it!

Ice hockey players on the grand ice arena

We’ve come a long way from the days of hockey games being played with wooden pucks, now haven’t we? Here’s everything you need to know about the history of hockey gear:

The 1800s

While player safety is the top priority of all hockey leagues, from the NHL to the minor atoms leagues of your hometown, this wasn’t always the case.

So how did hockey gear of the past differ from the gear we see today? Firstly, there were no skates. How did they play hockey without skates? Players would attach blades to the bottom of their boots! Utilitarian? Certainly. Safe? Not quite!

In addition, pucks were either made of wood or a rubber ball with the top and bottom cut off.

What about all the defensive gear you see hockey players wearing on the ice nowadays? Well, it was essentially minimal at the time. In fact, shin guards made of strips of leather reinforced with wood or cane were the first invention to be made in the realm of protection.

The 1900s

Goalie staring ahead inhelmet

After many sustained injuries in the hockey world, players began to take matters of personal safety into their own hands, often constructing makeshift gear out of materials such as felt for shoulder pads, leather for kneepads, animal hair to pad their gloves, and bamboo to reinforce their wrists!

While these proactive innovations were a great start, they failed to address a glaring issue in the world of contact sports – head protection. That all changed in 1933 when Toronto Maple Leafs star Ace Bailey’s head hit the ice, causing him to prematurely end his career due to a horrible head injury. Eddie Shore, the player who collided with Bailey, went on to become the first NHL player to consistently sport a helmet.

It was also around this time that players began wearing goalie masks (despite being subjected to accusations of lack of toughness), leather elbow pads outside their jerseys and reinforced fibre thumbs in their gloves. By 1973, all NHL goalies were donning masks on the ice.

Interestingly enough, some players were actually sustaining injuries due to the plastic and fibreglass materials that were striking other players. Around the 1950s, the NHL issued a rule that all elbow and shoulder pads must be made with a soft outer covering to reduce these occurrences. In 1955, an impressive new elbow pad was fashioned made out of sponge rubber that became commonplace in the league.

By 1959, the league realized that the backs of players legs were vulnerable to injury via skate blade, and players began wearing leg protection that wrapped around the back of their legs to ensure maximum coverage.

Finally, in 1979, helmet wearing became mandatory for all players who joined the NHL. Oddly enough, helmet wearing was not mandatory for players who signed their contracts before this time.

Why Love your Gear

As you can see, the evolution of hockey gear and the understanding of personal safety has evolved dramatically over the past century. Thankfully, the public perception that questioned the toughness of players who used gear has faded from the norm, and hockey players young and old can all enjoy a game without having to forgo gear due to the fear of seeming weak.

At Love your Gear, we offer specialized hockey gear cleaning services to ensure your equipment can last for years to come! Call us today to receive a free quote on our gear cleaning services.

The Best Canadian Getaways for Skiing and Snowboarding

Skier and snowboarder

If there’s one thing Canadians know how to do, it’s make the most out of winter.

Sometimes the best way to do this is with an epic ski and snowboard getaway. Whether you’re seeking mellow cross-country ski trails or scenic glacier views and perfect powder bowls, it’s the season to get outside, make some memories and give your gear a workout.

Here are our top picks for snow-themed getaways:

Skier and snowboarder

Whistler, B.C.

With two massive mountains, plentiful resorts for all budgets and a quaint village full of shops and restaurants, British Columbia’s Whistler is easily one of the top Canadian winter getaways. In fact, people come from all over the world to spend time here, whether for the skiing and snowboarding, or just for the breathtaking winter scenery as seen from a hot tub.

Thanks to Whistler’s two separate mountains, it’s actually the biggest ski area in North America, which means that you could easily spend an entire week here without ever repeating the same slope twice. That being said, it’s not just seasoned snow enthusiasts who are drawn to the towering ski slopes here. There are tons of green runs as well, and no shortage of beginner programs if you just want to get your feet wet … er … snowy.

The mountain’s location on the west coast of British Columbia’s mainland – in close proximity to the Pacific Ocean – means no shortage of powdery snowfalls. Whistler is also a fantastic winter getaway if you’re not into skiing or snowboarding. The main village has tons of lively restaurants and shops, and both mountains offer a number of activities, including tubing, snowshoeing, zip lining and wildlife tours.

Many of the resorts have great entertainment features too. So while your well-used gear is drying off after a long day on the slopes, enjoy a glass of wine in an outdoor hot tub or end the day with a massage and a stop in the eucalyptus steam room, all of which you’ll find in many resorts.

Whistler ski resort

Lake Louise, AB

You’ve probably already seen a photo of Lake Louise, even if you don’t know it. Its placid turquoise waters and sheer cliffs have graced many a travel magazine and adventurous Instagram feed.

Turns out its peaks and glaciers are equally scenic, making this one of the top Canadian skiing and snowboarding getaways if you want a view to go with your action. Nestled in Alberta’s Banff National Park, Lake Louise’s ski facilities include both beginner and intermediate runs, combined with awe-inspiring views. From the top of many peaks, you can see the frozen Lake Louise – which is stunning in its own right – as well as the nearby Mount Assiniboine.

As a ski and snowboard destination, Lake Louise has a less touristy feel than some locations, as there are no resorts or lodging accommodations in the immediate area. Lake Louise Village, however, is a short drive away and has a quaint, charming feel to it. Make sure you stop for a steaming cinnamon roll at Laggan’s Bakery or a rejuvenating spa session at the Temple Mountain Spa, located inside the Post Hotel, one of Lake Louise’s main lodging facilities.

Lake Louise

Mont-Tremblant, QC

Nestled high in Quebec’s Laurentian Mountains, this resort boasts over 600 acres of ski and snowboarding trails and a bustling pedestrian village, making it one of eastern Canada’s most coveted winter destinations.

It has an equal amount of beginner, intermediate and expert routes, so there’s something for almost everyone. The sheer size of the resort allows it to cater to many other winter-themed activities too, including dog sledding, ice climbing, skating, sleigh rides, tubing and snowshoeing. Plentiful ski schools make it a top spot for families with children who are just starting to build memories and learn the ropes of a truly Canadian holiday.

Much like Whistler, if you need a break from snow-based activity – perhaps to give your gear a break – there’s still plenty to do. Hop on the open air gondola and descend into the pedestrian village, where you’ll find trendy shops, eateries and spas to pass the time. This is also where you’ll find much of the resort’s accommodations, which include everything from budget condos to luxury chalets.

Mont Tremblant

Panorama, B.C.

Easily one of the top Canadian ski and snowboard destinations for families, Panorama straddles the border between British Columbia and Alberta.

The resort is car free and divided into two bustling villages. The upper village is arranged around a skating rink and outdoor heated pool, complete with water slides, hot tubs and a sauna. Many visitors stay in the condos in this part of the area, which offers free access to the rink and pool facilities; a big draw for families.

Not only is it easy to find ski schools and beginner programs here, but there are also plentiful childcare centers and options for after-hours care, should mom and dad need a little break. Aside from kid-friendly features, Panorama actually features one of the biggest verticals in North America, rising 1,300 metres in total. There’s also plenty of cross country trails and powder bowls, so really, something for everyone.

Panorama

Hey, does your gear need odour and bacteria elimination services after all that activity? Contact Love Your Gear today to get it looking and feeling like new again.

Everything You Need to Know About Martial Arts

Martial arts

Martial arts are a form of athletics that get a lot of buzz whenever an action movie comes out. High-head kicks, takedowns and dramatic blocks are woven into many combat scenes and as a result, this is what many people think of when they think of martial arts.

However, each form of martial arts has its own unique characteristics, along with some surprising psychological benefits too. It’s more than a sweaty, action-movie-worthy form of combat. Here’s what you might not know about the different forms:

Martial arts

Karate

This ancient form of martial arts is usually what people think of when they hear that term. Developed in the Ryukyu Kingdom – near what is now modern-day Taiwan – it’s estimated by the World Karate Federation that there are 100 million people who study or practice Karate.

  • It’s a unique form of combat, in that it focuses not just on the physical aspects of self-defense, but on the psychological forces surrounding it too, including: perseverance
  • fearlessness
  • self-restraint
  • leadership skills

In some forms of Karate, weapons are used, but most people who practice this form of martial arts use only their own body weight and manipulation to spar with partners.

There are two main aspects involved in Karate training, including the basics and the sparring itself. Training usually begins with a student mastering the basic moves, which include:

  • stances
  • strikes
  • kicks
  • blocks

In sparring – whether competitively or for recreation – two participants use these basics to gain dominance over one another in short rounds that usually last only a few minutes. Points are awarded based on things like the technique used, form, timing, sportsmanship and other criteria.

The levels of expertise are ranked based on “belts,” which are worn around the waist of the uniform. The lowest ranking is white, while the highest – considered expert level – is black. Achieving a black belt can take several years, even longer, and is something that many practitioners aspire to, whether their main focus is competition or not.

Karate belts

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

A combat sport with a healthy amount of ground fighting, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is actually a form of Judo. Like most martial arts, it focuses on the idea that a fighter doesn’t have to be the biggest person in the ring to defend themselves. Instead it’s about:

  • skill
  • leverage
  • balance

All of which are employed when two competitors spar against each other, either in training or competition.

This element of ground fighting is really what sets Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (also called BJJ) apart from most forms of martial arts. Along with holds and strikes, BJJ can be seen as mastering the art of maneuvering and manipulating.

Matches last anywhere from 4 to 6 minutes, depending on the rank of the two fighters. Points are given based on positions obtained throughout the match, including various mounted positions, takedowns and other forms of pinning.

Like almost all martial arts, minimal gear is required to practice this sport. All that’s needed is a mat, and, for formal competitions, a Judogi, which is the typical Judo uniform.   In Jiu Jitsu, the Judogi is normally a closer cut, which makes it easier to move in for ground fighting. For judo uniform cleaning or judogi uniform cleaning, contact Love Your Gear.

Though many people compete in this form of martial arts and progress up the ranking scale from white to black belt, many people practice BJJ as a form of physical fitness and community involvement as well.

Jiu jitsu

Taekwondo

Easily one of the most high-energy martial art forms, Taekwondo is a Korean sport best known for its spinning kicks, high-speed moves and head-height kicks, which are impressive to watch.

It has roots as a Korean military practice, but has since become a popular form of recreation that’s places an emphasis on:

  •  self-defence
  • speed
  • agility.

Despite its high-energy appearance, there are many more subtle things taught in Taekwondo, including breath control, equilibrium, balance and mass.

Participants typically don something called a Dobok uniform, as well as padding and a helmet, which is usually worn during sparring.

Like most martial arts, there is a belt ranking system and competitors are usually matched with people of the same ranking. Points are given in sparring for certain types of kicks and their impact. Despite the focus on high-impact moves, the philosophy of Taekwondo is similar to other martial art forms and prioritizes self-control, integrity and self-defense, as opposed to aggression.

Taekwondo

The popularity of martial arts can likely be attributed to its wide-reaching benefits. Though many people approach this artful form of combat with the goal of competition, just as many take part for physical benefits, to be part of a community and to reap some of the psychological benefits as well, including focus, confidence and leadership skills.

Like most sports, all that physical exertion can mean gear that gets well-used. This can lead to odour, bacteria buildup, mold and other pathogens. To make sure your gear is clean and in good repair, contact Love Your Gear today.

The Best Activities to Try This Winter

Winter activities

In the winter it’s a lot more tempting to stay inside because of the dreary, cold weather.  Resist this urge because there are so many fun winter activities to try. We may not feel fortunate to experience Canadian winters but we’re so lucky to be able to participate in so many outdoor sports. Getting bundled up and heading outside for some fun winter activities is a great way to liven up this somewhat dark and dreary season. Throw on your parka, gloves, hat and snow pants, here are the best activities to try this winter:

Winter activitiesHockey

Nothing is as uniquely Canadian as hockey. It might seem difficult but it’s fairly simple. There’s also a lot of gear to protect you from any slips and falls. For beginners, we highly recommend wearing all the padding when you first start out to avoid any injuries. If you’re a more advanced player, all you need to play a quick pick-up game is sticks, a puck and some goal posts. The rules are basically just shoot and score. If you’ve never tried hockey, be patriotic this winter, lace up your skates and head out on the ice.

Skating

If you’re not up to the challenge of hockey, try out skating first. Learning to skate is the first step in playing hockey. There are plenty of outdoor rinks scattered around Southern Ontario where you can practice. There are always a lot of people on the ice of all different skill levels. It’s all part of the fun to take a few tumbles. Skating is also a fantastic cardio workout. Even if you’re not a professional, you’ll likely burn some calories laughing at how much you look like Bambi.

Child skating with mom

Snowboarding

Snowboarding is probably the most thrilling winter activity. Whether you’re just going down the bunny hill or rushing down a double black diamond trail, nothing beats the rush. It requires a great center of gravity and some balancing skills so if you’ve got that, you’re set. If you’ve ever surfed or skateboarded, you’ll likely be able to pick it up in no time. Start out by practicing on some of the smaller hills then you’ll eventually be able to work your way up to the mountain. Snowboarding is the ideal sport for the adventurous ones and adrenaline junkies among us.

snowboarder

Skiing

If being strapped onto a board and going down a hill is too intimidating, try the more traditional sport of skiing. You’ll be in more control of your movements but have the same amount of thrill. Skiing is a classic winter activity that people have partaken in around the world for centuries. There are several different types of skiing from cross country to alpine to Nordic. There’s something for everyone when it comes to this sport. If you’ve never learned the “pizza” stop and “French fry” go, hit the slopes this winter.

Snowshoeing

For a low impact winter activity that will still engage your core strength, strap on some snowshoes. It’s a fantastic way to go on a lovely winter hike without constantly getting snow up to your knees and in your boots. Plenty of ski hills and resorts have trails for snowshoers. You could also just bring a pair to your local park on a snowy day.

Snowshoeing

Tobogganing/Sledding

If you live near a lot of snowy hills, bring out your snowsuits and toboggan or sled. Sledding is always a lot of fun. It’s the easiest activity to do on this list. The only skill it requires is a little bit of balance. Just ensure that the hill you’re going down is nice and smooth so you don’t hurt yourself on any bumps.

Here are some extra fun activities you can do in your own backyard on snowy days with the whole family or your friends:

  • Have a snowball fight
  • Make snow people
  • Build a snow fort
  • Form snow angels

Wooden Sled

At Love Your Gear, we’ll make sure everything you need to have fun during the winter months is in the best possible shape it can be. We have a wide variety of gear and equipment cleaning services from hockey equipment to ski and snowboard gear to any specialty snow gear. Contact us today to make sure you have everything you need to partake in all the best winter activities this upcoming snowy season.

Best Army Surplus Stores in Toronto

Army boots

The army-inspired look has really become a trend in the past few years. You can hardly walk down a city block without seeing someone wearing camouflage pants or combat boots. Army gear is extremely practical because it’s meant to last in even the toughest weather conditions. We’re glad the look has become fashionable because it’s nice to be warm and comfortable while remaining on trend. Toronto is fortunate to have a number of fantastic army surplus stores. Whether you’re planning on going hunting, getting a new winter parka or just getting a last-minute Halloween costume, here are the best army surplus stores in Toronto:

Camouflage jacket

Wolf Army Surplus Fashion

878 Kingston Road

This spot is a definite go-to for all the east-enders out there. Even though fashion is in the store’s name, they have a vast selection of paintball gear as well camping equipment and survival tools for the adrenaline junkies. You can rest assured they have a variety of army surplus clothing and boots in all shapes and sizes as well.

Paintball

AAA Army Surplus

199 Baldwin Street

If you’re looking to gear up for winter, head down to AAA Army Surplus. It has been a popular destination in Kensington Market for decades. They have a wide range of surplus to browse through including:

  • puffy parkas
  • thick peacoats
  • waffle knit thermals
  • wool headgear
  • colourful toques

The price is right, you’ll look great and feel great. It’s a win-win!

Parka

Nick’s Sport Shop and Central Surplus

579 Yonge Street

This Yonge and Wellesley staple has been supplying loyal customers with clothing, accessories and army-related collectibles since 1961. You can grab a stylish and cozy Alpha Industries bomber jacket as well as some high-quality security equipment. Another bonus is there are almost always deals at Central Surplus. Keep your eyes peeled for bright yellow signs to get a discount on one of the many products you’re sure to pick up.

Bomber jacket

The Little Army Store

50 Northline Road, Unit 5

This “little army store” is small but mighty. For all East York residents looking to stock up on a number of camping accessories including grills, lamps, thermoses and more, this is the place. This warehouse is a neat freak’s dream. All of the products are displayed on racks in a highly organized fashion. They offer traditional uniforms from the Military, Navy, Air Force and Army as well as jackets and other armed forces related memorabilia. If you need a long-lasting backpack to carry groceries, books, or your laptop around, check out the Little Army Store’s vast selection. All of their gear is built to last.

Beavers Surplus Exchange

3269 Dufferin Street

If you don’t find anything you want at Yorkdale Mall, head south on Dufferin and check out Beavers Surplus Exchange. Their specialization is bona fide surplus straight from the Canadian and American militaries. They also buy, sell and trade military gear hence the “Exchange” in their name. If you’re looking to get some cash or store credit for old gear you don’t have a use for anymore bring it on over to Beavers Surplus Exchange.

TNT Surplus Centre

2938 Lake Shore Boulevard

If you’ve been to Etobicoke, you’ll likely remember seeing a massive Canadian flag painted on the side of a building where Islington Avenue and Lake Shore Boulevard intersect. This display of patriotism signifies that you’ve made it to TNT Surplus Centre. It was painted to celebrate the Canadian flag’s 50th birthday. TNT just celebrated its own milestone 60th birthday last year. This classic Etobicoke storefront offers piles of hunting and army surplus and racks of footwear. From rubber boots to coveralls, you’ll definitely find the army merchandise of your dreams here.

Army boots

The products sold at all Army Surplus Stores are built to last. However, in order for them to keep their durability, they must be well-maintained. At Love Your Gear, we are dedicated to ensuring your gear lasts. Whether you’re wearing your parka on the city streets or camping in the woods, we want it to look as good as possible. We offer specialty cleaning services to clean army surplus uniforms, boots and backpacks. To keep your newly acquired gear in tip-top shape for decades to come, contact Love Your Gear today.

 

Best Sports to Sign Your Child Up For

Fall means back to school and for some children, it means back to sports. It’s no secret that kids have a lot of energy. Why not let your kids expend their energy while learning important teamwork and social skills. They’ll boost their physical health as well as their mental health and likely make some new friends. It also gets them out of the house and allows you, as a parent or guardian, to take a break.

Children should play a variety of sports to figure out which one they like best. There’s a lot of recreational activities out there that have different benefits and will help cultivate different skills. Here are the best sports to sign your child up for:

kids playing sports

Lacrosse

Lacrosse is Canada’s other national sport that’s often overlooked. It pales in comparison to the popularity of ice hockey but it’s still a fantastic and fun game. Children will have a blast using lacrosse sticks to try to pick up the ball, catch it from teammates and throw it back and forth. An advantage that lacrosse has over ice hockey is that it requires less equipment than ice hockey. Children will need helmets, gloves, elbow and knees pads and cleats for protection but this about half of the gear required to play hockey. Another benefit is you also won’t have to sit in cold rinks during practices and games.

Soccer

Whether you call it soccer or football, this is truly the world’s sport and for good reason. You really only need a ball and your feet to play. However, in a formal setting kids will need cleats and pads to protect their shins from bruising. Soccer is a great option for overly active children. Running up and down the long field will cause them to burn a lot of energy. It’ll increase their eye-foot coordination and encourage teamwork by passing the ball to teammates instead of hogging it.

boy playing soccer

Baseball

“Fall ball” is a great way to introduce your little one to the thrilling sport of baseball. A lot of little leagues offer a laidback autumn season where kids can learn the rules with less competition than the spring season. Tee ball is also a fun option for younger children. Baseball helps to improve communication skills as players have to be able to collaborate well whether they’re a pitcher or outfielder. Amplify the games of catch you played with a baseball glove in the park by signing them up for fall ball.

Kids playing soccer

Gymnastics

Although gymnastics isn’t a team sport it has a lot of advantages for children. There are the physical benefits from increased flexibility, strength and agility as well as the confidence gained from being able to execute a trick properly. There is additionally a certain concentration and focus that comes with learning gymnastics. These skills will transfer over to other aspects of your child’s life and stay with them.

Boy doing gymnastics

Flag Football

Flag football, like fall ball, is essentially a pared down version of football. It has fewer confusing rules, less start and stop action and hopefully less injuries. It’ll teach your younger children the basics of football in a fun way in case they want to play later in life. Kids will learn impeccable hand-eye coordination and let out energy by running up and down the football field. They’ll also develop basic strategizing skills by learning different plays from their coach. It’s a win-win.

kids playing flag football

Basketball

Basketball is another simple sport that is appropriate for all ages. It’s a great teambuilding sport and can be played either indoors or outdoors depending on the time of year. Dribbling and passing while running up and down the court is no easy task. Basketball involves incredible balance and coordination as well as endurance. We highly recommend signing up your child for the sport

Signing your child up for sports is valuable for a variety of reasons. Always check in with them to monitor their interest in the activity. If they don’t like the sport after one season, sign them up for another one the following year. Switching up the sports they play ensures they enjoy what they’re doing and maximizes the number of skills they’ll develop.

If you’ve signed your children up for sports that require a lot of sporting equipment, don’t risk ruining the gear by attempting to clean it yourself at home. Bring their gear or uniforms to Love Your Gear and allow our experienced staff to deodorize it and clean it for you thoroughly. Contact us today to find out more about our services.

Why Love Your Gear is the Top choice for Cleaning your Kids’ Sports Equipment

boy with baseball and gym bag

Summer is the best time of year for many athletes. Finally, the baseball pitches can open and the soccer and football fields are clear of snow. Even winter athletes find new activities to enjoy in the offseason!

Of course, with the heat comes summer sweat, and no athlete is immune, including your kids. After a summer spent sweating under the hot sun, there’s no doubt that their equipment is starting to show signs of excess odour, despite your best efforts to keep things fresh. While you may have been diligent in airing out their gear after every practice, washing equipment at home, and even keeping deodorizing products in their sports bags, eventually the sweat is going to catch up to you, and your kids’ gear will need a professional cleaning.

Children playing soccer

You might be wondering why you should take the time and spend your money on professional gear cleaning. At Love Your Gear, we have the largest sports equipment cleaning facility in Toronto and can handle any type of specialized equipment.

We are experts in the field of bacteria removal and cleaning when it comes to footwear, sports bags, protective pads, uniforms and more. But beyond our facilities and expertise, there are some really important reasons why we’re the top choice for getting your kids’ sports equipment cleaned. Take a look to see why: 

1. We Can Help Eliminate Those Nasty Smells From Your Home, Garage and Car

We’re big proponents of airing out your kids’ equipment, including their bag, after every practice and game. But with busy lives, it can become difficult to stay diligent with this task, especially if you’re carting different kids to various sports and activities throughout the week.

Young baseball player

Unfortunately, the more time sports equipment spends in a stuffy bag, garage or car trunk, the more likely it is to build up various types of bacteria, which ultimately leads to odours. We all try our best to keep things clean, but over time the sweat eventually starts to win. Dead skin cells that come off as your kids are wearing their equipment contribute to bacterial growth and the ensuing smells, and while home remedies (such as hand washing and deodorizing products) may provide temporary relief, the thing that will ultimately get rid of those odours is a professional cleaning that can really dig deep into padding, shoes and other items to eliminate bacteria.

boy with baseball and gym bag

2. We Can Help Keep Your Kids From Getting Sick

Children playing sports

Socializing is a big part of growing up, and between school, home and their other activities, kids spend a lot of time in communal environments. While it’s likely that they’ll pick up a common cold or flu at some point in their childhood, it’s important to remember that places like locker rooms and sports facilities can be breeding grounds for the viruses that cause these illnesses. Just as you and your children’s school have kids wash their hands on a regular basis and promote proper hygiene, it’s important that this message continues into their sporting lives as well.

It’s an unfortunate fact that sports equipment can be an effective conductor of viruses, which are especially easy to pick up when your kids are using the same spaces that other, potentially sick, kids and parents are using to spread out their gear and get dressed for a game.

We always recommend having hand sanitizer with you and cleansing cloths for your kids’ post-game sweat. You should also make showering at home a priority if possible, as damp communal environments like locker room showers can be places for viruses to spread as well. And at the end of the season, to make sure you’re not storing anything other than the sports equipment itself, a professional cleaning will help to keep their gear in top shape, and help keep your family from getting sick.

3. We Can Help You Save Money in the Long Run

Boys playing flag football

A few of the most difficult things to eliminate from sports equipment using at-home remedies are three major enemies of cleanliness – fungi, mold spores and yeast.

Since sports equipment absorbs sweat, it can’t help but become a damp environment over time, which is the ideal condition for the growth of mold and fungus. Not only do these organisms create their own smells, but over time they contribute to the breakdown and weakening of your kids’ sports gear.

Many sports, especially hockey and football, require a lot of expensive equipment to get kids through a season. If possible, parents are always looking for ways to save money on this gear, especially if they have another, younger child who will likely be playing the same sports as their siblings as they get older. Getting your kids’ gear professionally cleaned at the end of the season will extend the life of this equipment, and help to make your investment less fleeting. Contact us today to ensure your children’s gear lasts a lot longer.