Over the past 7 years we have had SO many boots come through this house. And winter boots are a big thing – they are sometimes the difference between a really good day and an outdoor “failure”.
I will keep updating this post as we try out new boots over the years and really put them through the wringer (which, apparently, we are really good at!) As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. I know we certainly aren’t covering everything!
KEEN Basin: We really like the Basin because they are somewhat of a hybrid between a shoe and a boot. The full toggle makes it easy to adjust to what fit the child needs (and, better yet, do it themselves) and makes it feel less “boot sloppy”. While we haven’t used the Basin in super cold temperatures, J hasn’t had cold or wet feet in them. They also have held up very well to the abuse of a 7 year old! Note: We actually tried out the Winterport II before the Basin and my son had a super hard time getting his feet in them. He tends to have higher arches and a bigger heel, but something to take note of when looking at KEEN boots. The Basin with the fully customizable entry was a much better fit.
KEEN Kootenay WP: If you really don’t need high boots, these Kootenay are great for winter shoes…with just a little higher sides and better protection. We love how they don’t have laces to deal with (and have no trouble with the velcro), are stiff enough to keep their shape, and enough insulation to keep kids warm without overheating. They’re perfect for school in that respect. We’ve also been impressed with their traction. Note: We have had the Kootenay in the smallest toddler size (size 4) and weren’t AS impressed for new walkers. They are a bit on the stiff side for the smallest of kiddos….but I wouldn’t hesitate putting them on my 2 year old.
Stonz Trek: These have been our bomb-proof boots for 3 years now. They are warm, lightweight and hold up incredibly well. I have NEVER had a kid with cold feet yet (and that’s saying a lot when it’s -25 degrees F). That said, the new Scout bootsare warm and light too….but the structure tends to allow more snow in and we can’t recommend them with as much enthusiasm. They are great for cold, low-snow areas….but not the best for trudging through piles. Hoping for some updates for winter 2017.
MUCK Kids’ Hale: We have had the best luck with Muck boots as far as keeping feet warm and dry. While we don’t reach for them when it’s super cold and dry, they are a must in the shoulder seasons or when we get a super random dumping of rain or wet snow.
MyMayu Boots + Liners: While we use our MyMayu boots for more wet conditions than cold conditions, they certainly still fall under the category of winter boots just because WET is what many winters look like around the country! You can read our full review here. They are super packable, keep the water out for sure, and are great for increased mobility in kids that would be hindered by clunkier boots.
I know it’s hard to imagine, but it really won’t be TOO long before the bears start appearing again, hungry and grumpy. Maybe it’s why I like winter so much – the hibernation (or at least mostly!) of bears….
But, in all seriousness, bears ARE something not to be taken lightly. I fully believe in teaching kids bear safety from a very young age too. I figure if they hear it enough, something will sink in eventually!
Here’s a list of quick tips. Save this and review it with your kids often. I also showed this video to my kids.….sort of as a scare tactic, but it’s reality! Be sure you watch it too!
Keep kids close. It’s easy to get comfortable on trails you know and frequent often….but that doesn’t mean a bear WON’T be there this time! #BearDon’tCare how much you “own” that trail!
Make HUMAN noise. Bear bells, etc. are great, but human noise is the most effective so bears know you are not just another animal. Just let kids sing their little hearts out!
Travel in groups and stay together. Attacks on groups of three or more are rare.
Keep a clean camp. Wash dishes and surfaces, and keep kid messes contained as much as possible. When we’re doing front country camping (cabin and campers included), we usually have Dawn Dish soap with us (does a great job cleaning up serious smells, is biodegradable and is cheaper), but Camp Suds, for no-scent backcountry trips when we’re really concerned. It’s all about Leaving No Trace as much as possible! Use bear boxes and keep trash out of camp every. single. time.
NOTE: Using a very small amount of soap AND disposing of dirty dishwater correctly (broadcasted – throw it far and wide – as far away from camp as possible and at least 200 yards from any water source) is essential, especially in bear country.
Be aware and alert. Don’t be plugged in to headphones, etc. Watch for sign of bears (scat, etc.) and be listening.
DO NOT RUN. And teach kids that practice again and again and again. Role-playing is particularly helpful every single time you go out.
Carry Bear Spray AND know how to use it. As you saw in the video above, one canister is not enough to have. Be sure they aren’t expired, you have a few of them ready and they’re in holsters ready to go. Teach your kids that it is a weapon and is to be treated with respect. Attend a bear safety event if possible so kids can use trainer canisters (and you too!) to know how it feels to use it on a bear. Often Kids Fishing Day events will have that available if you have one locally.
This post is sponsored by Dawn and clean camps everywhere. We are proud to represent them as Ambassadors for 2017!
Big thanks to Pat Wells for the great bear photos.
I love, love, love my kids. I don’t love when my kids are hyped up on sugar.
Not that we never have it around here (because that would be a lie), but Halloween and Valentines have become SO sugar-saturated that I have a tendency to want to avoid them completely.
That said, we do reserve some treats for our outdoor time often to bribe them along the trail.
And Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to stock up on some extra special snacks….and maybe an invitation outside with the ones you love!
Here’s some we recommend that are completely trail-worthy!
Anything heart-shaped. A cheap heart cookie cutter goes a LONG way. Cheese, summer sausage, bread, melon, cucumber, etc. all cut really easily. This post has some great ideas and I love this one too (the cabobs would be a fun end-of-the-hike/ski treat….if you’re willing to haul them!)
Sunkist Snacks. These fruit chips and trail mixes are PERFECT for babies AND kids (all except for the chili blend). While I prefer to have real fruit as much as possible, the dried stuff is WAY easier to pack…and keeps them chewing longer 😉 Check out more info on these great snacks here.
Pure Organic Fruit and Veggie Strips and Fruit Sandwiches. These are a new favorite in our home because they’re so good…and such simple nutrition. Their fruit and veggie strips (3rd photo down) have no added cane syrups, artificial flavors or colors. They are made with organic, non-GMO, vegan fruit and vegetable puree and the kids love them. SO much better than the junk in other “fruit” snacks (that tends to make my kiddos at least a wee bit crazy). More info here.
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