Getting your kids outside during the coldest months of the year is a great way to keep them healthy and active. But there is nothing more heartbreaking than seeing your child melt down because they’re frozen to the bone. Dressing your kids for below-freezing weather starts with the extremities, which is why quality boots and mittens are important choices. Next comes keeping their core warm and cozy, which is where insulated bibs excel. Choosing items that are waterproof, well insulated, rugged, and designed to put on or take off easily are also key. With so many different clothing options out there, how do you choose the items that will work best for your kids? Here are three things to consider when choosing boots, bibs, and mittens that will make your cold-weather clothing choices a lot easier this year.
Eliminate Frozen Feet
Look for boots rated for sub-zero temps, so you’ll never have to worry about your kids getting cold feet.
Nothing will send kids running back indoors faster than frozen feet. The solution is insulated boots that slip on and off easily and provide plenty of insulation. Look for boots that have totally sealed, waterproof lowers (uppers made of nylon are fine). Outsoles should have an aggressive sole that grip the ground in snowy conditions. Ratings on insulation vary widely, but the more the merrier. Definitely choose boots that have a rating well below zero to ensure warm feet. A cuffed top with a drawstring will help keep snow and cold out, and hook-and-loop fasteners (rather than laces) will make getting boots on and off easier.
Bibs Are Best
Filled with insulation, snow bibs offer warmth with bulk—perfect for toddlers.
Bibs provide more warmth than regular pants because they extend farther up to insulate the back and chest, and the higher cut keeps snow out, too. What you want to do is balance insulation/warmth without adding so much bulk that your child looks like the Pillsbury Doughboy and can’t move. As a general rule, 80 to 100 grams of Thinsulate insulation will be sufficient for average cold days that don’t go below 20 degrees (F.). If the weather where you live gets a lot colder, 100 to 200 grams of Thinsulate is what you’ll want to look for. Two other nice things to consider in bibs are built-in gaiters at the bottom of the legs to fit over boot tops to keep snow and cold out. Finally, look to see if key stress points—knees, ankles, bottoms—are reinforced with a thicker material (like ballistic nylon) as these are the areas that will take the most abuse as kids hit the snow.
Waterproof mittens with Thinsulate insulation keep little hands warm.
Mittens are always a warm option than gloves for little kids because fingers touch each other inside the mitten to circulate warmth more evenly. You’ll definitely want to look for mittens that are totally waterproof, so your kids can build snowmen or ski all day without having to worry about moisture seeping in to create cold hands. Many models offer a breathable inner liner, which is excellent for wicking moisture away to keep hands dry and warm. Drawstrings on the cuffs are great for keeping snow and cold out while hook-and-loop closures make cinch ups easy.