Nothing puts a tearful end to an outdoor winter adventure with kids than cold fingers and shivering bodies. We’ve had a lot of experience with a variety of outdoor gear, and have found some great combinations that keep all three of our kids warm, and their movement unrestricted, while we play in the snow, sled, or snowshoe. Here is our advice on how to dress kids for winter adventures in three easy steps!
The Base Layer
As the clothing closest to the body, the base layer wicks sweat away from the skin, keeping kids dry. It is important to choose the right material for this layer. Cotton does not stay warm when wet, nor does it wick moisture from the body. So toss the old-school thermals and choose synthetic materials or merino wool for the base layer.
We use Cuddl Duds COMFORTECH® Poly Set for the kids’ base layer. Made of 100% polyester, the set comes with a top and bottom, and the kids love choosing from the variety of patterns. They are also relatively inexpensive – you can often find them for less than $20 for the set! Either order online from Cuddl Duds or Amazon.com, or keep your eye out at Marshall’s – they often have Cuddl Duds in stock for great prices. (They come in adult sizes too !)
For feet, we buy SmartWool socks – they are comfortable, stylish and warm. The only downside is the price.
When putting on the base layer, we tuck the shirt into the pants, and the pants into the socks, removing entry points for snow or chilly air.
The Insulating Layer
The middle layer provides insulating warmth. For fabrics, think fleece, wool, or lightweight down. For bottoms, we use bib snowpants. They give an extra layer of warmth on the core, are adjustable for height, and keep snow from creeping into the base layer. Because they are fleece-lined, they double as both an insulating layer and outer layer.
We love Cubbies from etsApparel to wear on top. They are long-sleeved polar fleece shirts that have mittens which zip onto the sleeves! The mittens have a water-resistant nylon exterior with water proofing liner, polyurathane rubber palms, 100g Thinsulate insulation, and polar fleece interior lining.
For years, we’ve struggled to find a mitten that would stay on our kids’ hands, and out of the snow. Though some products were better than others, ultimately at least one of the kids would lose a mitten and end up with freezing hands covered in snow. Cubbies are amazing – not only are the mittens excellent for winter play, they stay on!!!
The Outer Layer
The outer layer should be wind/waterproof and breathable. In other words, expensive. This is when a local consignment shop comes in handy. Our kids have great winter jackets that we bought for a fraction of the original price. Kids don’t tend to wear a jacket for more than one season (3 months!), so buying used is a great way to get quality gear at an affordable price.
Because our kids wear fleece-lined bib snowpants, their legs are already covered. We top off the outfit with wool hats (fleece will do as well), fleece-lined waterproof mittens, and lined waterproof boots. On particularly cold days, we add a neck gaiter and liner socks for extra warmth.
So that’s how to dress kids for winter adventures in three easy steps! If dressed appropriately, kids will stay warm and cozy while exploring the snowy outdoors.