Zapped Outfitters is a Kootenay-based company making reflective kids clothing and backpacks that are a first of their kind in the world. Editor Vince Hempsall shines a light on its offerings.

Update: Zapped has graciously offered readers of Kootenay Mountain Culture Magazine a 25% discount on all its items. Simply visit and use offer code KMC25 at checkout.

Scarlet Kux-Kardos is a Nelson, British Columbia-based clothing designer who’s worked for the likes of Marmot, Under Armour, Columbia, and Outdoor Research. She’s also the founder of  Zapped Outfitters, a brand that’s redefined kids clothing and accessories because each item features microscopic glass beads embedded in the fabric. The jackets, hats, shoes, and backpacks appear normal during the day, but at night the all-over tonal reflective materials reveal a hidden print when hit with light. Scarlet says she first saw the reflective concept being used by the likes of Nike and Lululemon but couldn’t find anyone applying it to the kid’s market. She considered starting her own line but delayed until one day her husband was literally struck by lightning. Thankfully he survived and that was the impetus for her starting the Zapped Outfitters brand. She loaned out a full compliment of her offerings for our kids to try and says she’ll soon be expanding into the all-ages clothing and apparel market.

Snapshot: Zapped Outfitters Clothing

    1. Pros: Safety safety safety! Every parent should get these light-reflecting items for their children.
    2. Cons: The sober colour and design lacked some appeal with kids who are all about bright colours, dinosaurs, and Paw Patrol.
    3. Price: Prices range from Cdn$30 to $110.
    4. Who Should Buy: Parents.
    5. Who Shouldn’t Buy: Cat burglars.
    6. Helpful Hack: The shoebox contains blueprints for creating fun stuff with it like a mini foozball table.
    7. Author’s overall rating: 8.5/10

The Test

For this review we received the full collection of Zapped Outfitters clothing and accessories including a three-season jacket, ball cap, trucker cap, beanie, backpack, slip-on sneakers, fleece-lined high top shoes and a prototype of a new style of grab-and-go backpack. The items arrived in late winter and were used through until Spring by a variety of different testers ranging in age from three to eight. A 48-year-old also wore the grab-and-go backpack on his evening strolls.

The Verdict

Ask any responsible parent their number one priority and the response will have something to do with their kids’ safety. We’ll go to any lengths to protect our helpless tykes. I’ve seen it play out first hand with parents jumping in front of moving vehicles to whisk their children to safety. And yet, barring the most obnoxious of helicopter parents, there’s a limit. We can’t be superheroes all the time and that’s why I love the Zapped Outfitters offerings because they give our kids their own superpowers: the ability to glow at night like fireflies with 1,200-lumen butts.

I live in a small mountain city with forested bike trails two blocks from my house and yet my wife and I are hyper-aware of vehicle traffic, especially in the winter months when the sun goes down at 4pm. Every evening, during our post-supper family stroll, we’re conscious of where our manic toddler is at all times in relation to that Corolla with the near-sighted granny at the wheel or that F350 with the 20-something driver texting on his phone. In short, the streets aren’t safe for spastic little people under four-feet tall. So my wife got us high-visibility reflective vests to wear during our outings. I hate them. They look like they were designed by Soviet civil engineers and, unless you’re also wearing a hardhat, they immediately flag you as a dork. My preferred solution is kitting our son in Zapped Outfitters products because the reflective print works in the same way as hi-viz reflective tape: microscopic glass beads refract light back to the source ensuring he’ll be seen by everyone from Instagram-addicted truck drivers and bespectacled grandmothers.

I also liked wearing the prototype adult-sized grab-and-go backpack on our evening walks because it’s a more stylish alternative to the hi-viz vest and as a bonus, I could use it to cart around toys to entice the kid back home to his bath. The reflective qualities of the Zapped Outfitters products are definitely a highlight but I’m also impressed by the fabric’s durability. Most of the items are made of polyester with an abrasion resistance of over 20,000. That’s a lot of scuffs and rubs before any wear starts to show. The pricing is in keeping with a lot of other branded kids clothes out there but with the added benefit of night-time visibility. And I mean, how much is your child’s safety worth to you? The one downside of the Zapped products is the sedate colouring. When not glowing under lamplight, all products are grey and black with minor gold highlights. It can be difficult convincing your kids to wear them instead of the iridescent blue Paw Patrol onesie. But hey, sometimes you gotta make sacrifices in the name of safety.

Zapped Outfitters Clothing – The Deets

  • Products include: three-season jacket, ball cap, trucker cap, beanie, backpack, slip-on sneakers, fleece-lined high top shoes
  • Prices range from Cdn$30 to $110
  • Each product features custom reflective fabric made up of millions of microscopic glass beads that refract light
  • Packs and hats are one-size.
  • Jacket comes in XS, S, M
  • Shoe sizing includes 12, 13, 1, 2
  • Colours: Variations of grey, black, and gold.
  • More info: