Children’s Winter Outdoor Kit: 6 tips for dressing the kids this winter
Now more than ever we need to be getting outdoors and having some fun, and why should bad weather stop us? The key is to get the children’s winter outdoor gear right. As long and they’re warm and dry, they’ll be happy outside. How does that saying go? ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing’.
Here are our 6 top tips for kitting out the kids this winter;
1. WELLIES ARE NOT FOR WINTER
Wellies are great in many many ways but they are definitely not a good winter shoe. Squelch in autumn’s muddy puddles, run through the wet dew in spring, splash through summery streams but in winter leave your wellies at home. From personal experience, I know that wearing my wellies in winter will soon turn my feet into ice blocks! Though the children’s feet may be dry, the frost bite will soon settle in to their little toes and that’s when they start to complain!
Warm feet are essential for a successful winter adventure outdoors so we make sure the children have proper winter boots. The perfect set of kid’s winter boots are fully waterproof and lined with wool or a wool-like material. They’re usually pretty sturdy and the kind of things that make you say ‘coooorrr, I’d like to wear those!’ The difference that proper boots can make is incredible. With warm and dry feet, the children will be happy for hours.
Rather than buying new, you could try to get a second hand pair of good boots. 90% of our children’s winter boots are hand-me-downs. A good pair will last through numerous children!
Want to stick with the wellies? You could turn them into warm winter boots by wearing woolly socks or getting some woolly welly liners to keep their toes warm like these super cool ones from Muddy Puddles.
2. GET YOUR THERMALS ON
Thermals are an essential item of outdoor kit for kids in winter.
Put any images of old men in longjohns out of your mind, thermals are FANTASTIC and perfect for getting the kids dressed and ready for a winter outdoor adventure!
What are thermals?
Thermals are a thin layer of clothing to be worn under your normal clothes. They should be light and breathable, merino wool is often the best material. The extra layer keeps them roasty-toasty and ready for adventuring!
Even better, when you get home and you peel off all those wet and muddy clothes, the children can run straight into the house wearing their thermal layer which is still warm and dry. (This also counts if you’re going to the pub for lunch, the kids can sit and eat in their thermals!)
Don’t have thermals? How about wearing their pyjamas? Long sleeved/trouser cotton pjs can act as a great thermal layer.
3. HEAD-TO-TOE WATERPROOFS
I have vivid memories from my childhood of being soaked through to the skin and freezing cold on winter walks with my family. Either I’m so old that waterproofs weren’t a thing then (surely not!?) or else my family missed a trick.
This is a really simple one, we make sure we’re kitted out in full waterproofs from head to toe for every family winter excursion.
Waterproof coat – a winter one with thick padding if possible. If the children’s coats aren’t as waterproof as you’d like, add a thin waterproof coat or anorak over the top
Waterproof trousers – an essential bit of outdoor kit for winter. Even if it’s not raining, it’s likely to be wet on the ground and, let’s face it, the children will find any puddle to splash in… Waterproof trousers are the answer.
Even better, get fleece-lined waterproof trousers for extra warmth. We got ours from Mountain Warehouse.
Waterproof gloves – all those gloves with pretty patterns are great for keeping the children’s hands warm but as soon as they get wet they’re useless! Some sturdy waterproof gloves, or ski gloves, will mean that little hands stay warm and dry enough to throw yet another snowball!
All-in-one waterproofs are great too, but my children never seemed to like them… and wild wees in a onesie are a nightmare!
Struggle to get the kids into waterproofs?
We frequently had this battle.
I used to have a bet with the children… if they wore their waterproofs but didn’t get wet, I’d give them a treat…. If they did get wet they’d have to give me a big kiss. I got a lot of kisses and kept all the treats for myself. Now they don’t bother to argue!
4. WARM INSIDE OUT
It’s not all about what kids should wear in winter… sometimes it’s about warming from the inside as well. On any outdoor winter trip with the kids (or without the kids for that matter), I always go armed with a backpack filled with a thermos of something warming.
It’s a real treat for the children to take a break on their adventure and share some hot chocolate, warm Ribena, or hot soup.
Take some tea or coffee for the grown-ups. A friend of mine is renowned for arriving at our joint family outings with a thermos of kahlua coffee….. perfect for warming the cockles and having a giggle.
5. TAKE A BACKPACK
It can be very irritating on winter family walks when the children are constantly either too hot or too cold! A backpack is a priceless piece of kit. Pack up the extra layers as they throw them off, and then hand them out again as they start to get cold.
Plus, it’s worth throwing in a few extra layers and spares just in case. An extra pair of gloves can help if the first ones get wet. An extra layer to throw on if you stop for a picnic. Plus your thermos of hot chocolate and plenty of snacks of course!
We have always used Osprey Packs and the kids now have their own backpacks for adventuring.
6. KEEP YOURSELF WARM!
As parents we spend all our time thinking about what the kids need to wear for winter walks, but when do we ever think about ourselves? We want to enjoy our winter family outing too! As you tick off the above checklist for the children, make sure you’ve kitted yourself out properly too.
If you’re likely to be standing still for some time, whether on the side of a rugby/football pitch or watching the kids build a den, pack a hot water bottle and stuff it up your top! Great for keeping warm (thanks for the tip Marita!)