Just because daylight diminishes and temperatures drop doesn’t mean your outdoor adventuring needs to stop. All you need is a good attitude and the right gear! Winter is one of the best times to venture outside and discover the true riches of nature. You’ll hear critters scurrying underneath the snow and the whispers of the trees blowing in the wind. And if you have the right layers for your kiddos, you won’t hear any complaining (alright, maybe you’ll hear some complaining but that’s natural).
What exactly are these layers, you ask? They’re actually the same throughout any season but they are especially important in the winter months to prevent hypothermia.
The first layer you should dress your kids (and yourselves for that matter) in is a wicking base layer. This means that the clothes you keep closest to your skin should WICK AWAY moisture. There are several types of materials that do this but one of them that does not is COTTON.
It’s a fairly well-known phrase in the outdoor world that “cotton kills” and, honestly, it does. Cotton is a highly absorptive material so when you sweat (or if there’s precipitation of any kind), your body stays wet. When your body stays wet, you can’t effectively regulate your body temperature. This is bad and can accelerate hypothermia especially in winter conditions.
Instead, we suggest using layers made out of synthetic or wool materials like the Reima Kinsei Thermal Base Layer and the Nui Merino Nature Socks (which are naturally anti-bacterial so say goodbye to smelly feet). Reima prides itself in ethically produced products that are built to last so you’ll feel good about helping out Mother Earth when buying their products. Nui is no different and live by their mission of putting both people and the planet first.
The next layer is an insulating layer. This one is meant to keep your warm so your mid layer will change depending on the temperatures outside.
For warmer days, you might only need a light fleece or light down jacket like the Reima Packable Jacket.
On slightly colder days, you’ll want to reach for a thicker layer like the Reima 2-in-1 Paahto which can also be slimmed down to a vest if it warms up throughout the day.
The outer layer is most often called a “shell” and you should think of it as such. A turtle and snail have a bunch of gooey bits that they need to protect, right? The same goes for us and our kiddos. You might have the base layer and a solid mid layer, but the outer shell will be your first line of defense in the winter. This is the layer that protects YOUR KID from nature’s harshest elements.
The key ingredients to a good outer shell include being waterproof, windproof, AND breathable. That last part is key because simple rain paints will not bode well in the winter. They won’t be breathable which means it’ll make you sweat more than you should and can lead to dehydration.
We suggest the Reima Stavanger Snowsuit for this, hands down. The Stavanger is the Cadillac of snowsuits out there and worth every penny. Kids won’t even know that it’s 12 degrees with a -17 degree wind chill outside with it on. Plus, Reima sizes tend to run large so you can likely use these suits for two winter seasons (which adds to the sustainability of the company and keeping things out of landfills). Depending on the temperatures that day, you might even get away with forgoing the mid layer and just doing the base and outer layers by themselves. But we always suggest keeping the mid layer handy just in case. Don’t forget to top off (literally) your outfit with a warm and comfy hat like this Hemp Knit Beanie. And that’s it! You’re ready to head out!
Venturing outdoors any time of year can be hard especially when you have kids in tow. Make it easy on yourself by remembering that you just need to bring the three layers discussed: a wicking base layer, an insulating mid layer, and a waterproof/windproof outer shell. So grab your Rover Pack (make sure you bring one for your kid too) filled with your outdoors needs (like this wooden compass or dual magnifier), your water bottle, and create some grand memories. Just make sure they’re warm and dry memories – believe us, your kids will THANK YOU!