Cold weather is oh so suddenly upon us. It’s shocking how quickly we can change from a beautiful fall to full-on winter. Our inbox has also been flooding with the question we are all asking: “how to keep kids warm?!?”
Since in many parts of the country the temperatures didn’t gradually drop, but instead switched drastically in the matter of a couple of days, we’ve all been thrown into the task of keeping the kids warm outside with little to no practice.
Over the years we have developed a system that works for us, though that “system” is a little different for each kid not only because of their ages, but also because they are different kids.
Just like adults, some kids run warm and some seem to be always cold. Our kids run the full gamut of extremes – so we’ve had to tweak things just a bit for each one of them individually.
We will be listing our best tips below, but it’s important to take your own children into consideration and know that there is no “fool proof right way” to dress them and keep them warm.
Please note: humidity is a huge factor as far as how cold it feels. Twenty degrees in Montana or Wyoming feels much different than 20 degrees in Washington or Oregon.
Humidity levels must be taken into consideration. Thankfully that’s easy to do by just stepping outside.
Choose Quality Gear
I think it’s essential to note that while I do not think you need to go out and spend big bucks on each child, seeing proper clothing as an investment for your peace of mind, their comfort and safety AND the greater likelihood of a successful outdoor experience for all is priority.
It’s easy to fall back on the notion that “they will just outgrow it quickly so I am not paying that money”, but good gear really does make all the difference.
The good news is that kids everywhere also happen to outgrow clothing quickly so quality secondhand kids gear is relatively easy to find.
We spend the money on quality pieces that we know we can pass down. Kids also could care less about what they’re wearing, as long as it keeps them warm and it feels good, so last years’ versions are just as good.
Layering Is Key
Layering is the best way to keep kids AND adults warm all winter and in changing conditions. We lined out specifically how we layer for kids in this post.
Our System for general wintery weather
- Quality base layers
- Fleece suit or wool mid layer
- Down bunting or coat/pants and/or wind layer
- Wool socks
- Quality warm and waterproof boots
- Hat that covers ears completely
- Quality mittens (much warmer than gloves)
For the coldest weather
This is what my kids wear when it is below zero (yes, it’s ok to go out with them in it in most cases!) The trick is to keep all skin covered, check them often, wear quality layers, and keep them out of the windchill if at all possible.
Also, having warm drinks handy for breaks, snacks to keep the body nourished and just limiting prolonged excursions in general helps.
- Quality non-cotton base layer
- Mid layer
- Fleece suit
- Down suit
- Glove liners + hand warmer + thick outer mitten
- Wool socks + foot warmer + quality outer boot (for babies, I stick the foot warmers in between the layers on Stonz booties.)
- Ski mask made for kids (to keep at least chin covered and more of their face)
- If needed a fleece neck warmer (do NOT use scarves – they can get caught and tangled and become a safety hazard)
- Warm hat that covers theirs ears and sides of their face completely.
- Ski goggles (If exposed because they are riding in a carrier)
- An enclosed trailer (Chariot, Burley D’Lite, or Ski Polk) and adding on blankets in the coldest of conditions helps significantly.
Special Note for Babies
I’ve found that wearing babies is the best way to regulate their temperature and know how they’re doing at all times. I really REALLY love the “Make My Belly Fit” panel because I can wear my winter coats with it. Just be sure not to overdress Baby. Usually a great hat and good base layers are enough if they are close to your body.
© 2015, Tales of a Mountain Mama. All rights reserved. Republication, in part or entirety, requires a link back to this original post and permission from the author.