Even with all the fun plans in the world, if your children’s outdoor clothing does not keep them warm and dry, if they aren’t very easy to use and put on, and if they’re not comfortable to move in, you will certainly know about it in the form of a good old moan and whinge. However, with the right children’s outdoor clothing, our little people are remarkably resilient out in the elements, and love to be out there playing. So, I thought I would talk a little about what works for us with our children’s outdoor clothing making it easier for them to have all the outdoor play in their lives that they do! So continue reading to maybe pick up some tips and see what we look for in our outdoor gear.
Things To Consider With Children’s Outdoor Clothing:
- Fritids trousers: What on earth are these? These are a fantastic concept. “Fritids” means “free time” and these trousers are very common to wear here in Sweden when you are tackling something in your free time which needs clothes to be endurable and not fall apart at the sight of dirt. People wear these style of trousers for a range of activities, from sorting the garden out, to hunting and fishing, to hiking your way through the weekend. The best thing is they come in mini versions too. So, during periods of the year when a complete waterproof outer layer of children’s outdoor clothing is not required, we use these trousers. They are very rugged, meaning they can withstand falling and scraping knees on rocks without getting holes, climbing up trees without snagging, and are mildly water repellent. Parts of them are also stretchy so they move with the children and whatever activity they have decided to do. So, from a mother’s point of view I am not panicking about them ruining their clothes during their outdoor play, and can let them just get on with life. From a child’s point of view there are lots of pockets to hide all your treasures and finds in!
- Rain Outer Wear: We also use this as an extra layer in the late autumn and spring even if it is not raining, but the temperatures are cold, but not cold enough for full on winter gear. Again these need to have the qualities of being hard wearing, actually waterproof (we’ve tried a lot of things that couldn’t withstand proper rain or wet ground), easy to put on (if you have three children and they can dress themselves that is such a bonus plus point), and comfy to move/run around it. There are a few other details that we look for too. I like them to still use the “dungaree” variety of rain trousers. This means that if it is not raining but too warm for a coat, they are still mainly protected from the wet and the dirt and can just get on with playing. They need to have adjustable shoulder straps, so they can grow with the child i.e. be bought much too large but still fit fine, so I do not need to buy triple rain gear every five minutes 🙂 Under-the-boot straps are fantastic for keeping those trousers down over the boots for huge puddle splashing sessions or wading in water. Reflective strips are also a good feature as here in Sweden the dark hangs around later in the morning and arrives earlier in the afternoons throughout the chillier months.
- Winter Outer Gear: When it comes to this, we have very similar requirements to the rain gear, i.e. they need to have the qualities of being hard wearing, actually waterproof, easy to put on, and comfy to move/run around it…plus a few other factors. They need to have the ability to keep the child warm (it can be as cold as -15 with us plus winds), but also breathable if they are running around and getting warm. Although they are for snow and winter, you can not skimp on the waterproofing factor as a child can spend a long time on its bottoms and knees when playing and constructing out of snow! Our children’s clothing has a waterproofing of up to 10000mm! It also has very cosy fleece lining, and dries fast, which is very helpful when drying a whole family’s load of outdoor winter gear. My three will live in this kit for 5-6 months of the year (home and school), so they need to be happy with it. In fact for school I have a cunning mum plan. I send the younger double trouble with an all in one suit. That way they can not head out without their over trousers on (something they might be inclined to do and then get cold, wet, and filthy), as it is part of their coat 🙂 They have a 2 piece set as well, which is equally as durable and fantastic that we tend to use from home, as the school set can get quite a hammering and need to dry out before it is used again once they are home. Right now our little lady, who is sensible enough to put her trousers on if she needs them, is actually preferring to use her all in one and finds it easier.
- Hats: These need to be soft, warm, and not scratchy. Each of our children has a few (there is a need as they get wet, and some have bobbles which are unsuitable for wearing helmets over) but all are gorgeously warm, soft, and comfy.
- Gloves: After a few years of trial and error I think we have finally got to a place where we can say with confidence we are much better at buying these! These need to be sooooooo waterproof (ours are again waterproof up to 10000mm as they get fully immersed in the sea when they are playing, and can be handling snow for many many hours). They also need to be very warm as the fingers are one of the first things to get cold. We also still attach ours via a cord to the mini men’s coats (they are nearly 7 but there is only so much money you can afford to spend on fantastic gloves), and all three children own at least 2 sets, so one set can be recovering and drying from the onslaught of the elements, and they still have another set to use.
- Neck warmers: These are not only to keep any gaps warm between coat and hat, but can be pulled up over the face (see the photo of our little lady earlier in the post) to stop breathing in the freezing cold air, keeping the face warm, and are brilliant if your little people have a cough that gets aggravated by the icy air. We look for them to be soft and comfy.
- Boots: These are just as important when choosing your children’s outdoor clothing. The most important criteria for us with boots is that they are again extremely durable, waterproof, warm, comfy to wear, and do not have to be “done up” making them quick and easy to put on (bear in mind ours live in them again for 5-6 months of the year). The boots we have are very solid like a welly, but much more comfortable for little feet, and they are insulated and lined with a fleecy lining, keeping small toes toasty warm.
So I hope we have given you some handy tips of what to look for when choosing children’s outdoor clothing. Yes, we do tend to go for higher quality and cost of children’s outdoor clothing, but in the long run that saves us the money of having to replace kit (it’ll last our children 2-3 years….I buy large…apart from the boots and we are lucky all three have very slow growing feet). It also saves a lot of whinging and moaning when we are out and about as they are dry, warm, and comfy. All they have to worry about it getting on and playing, and we can be safe in the knowledge they are fully protected from whatever the elements throw at them.