“We have such a brief opportunity to pass on to our children our love for this Earth, and to tell our stories. These are the moments when the world is made whole.”
– Richard Louv
As November approaches and we get closer to not only winter but also the rainy season out here in the Pacific Northwest, I can’t help but feel excited knowing that we all have our cold/wet-weather gear needs taken care of. Last year at this time, my 19-month-old daughter was still a relatively new walker and my baby boy was a man-sized newborn. We geared up for my daughter on an as-needed/trial-and-error basis, not really sure how much and how often she would want to be out in the cold, or heavy rain, or snow. Every child is unique and while I really support fostering a healthy relationship with the outdoors, she was still a wee lil thing for her age and I certainly didn’t want her to feel forced. I wanted it to be her decision.
Fast forward a year later. Whoa! Things have really changed. My daughter hit a growth spurt, skyrocketing her into a high percentile on the pediatric growth chart, making her appear much less fragile than in seasons past. And while my son is still a man-boy determined to break through his new toddler title like the Incredible Hulk, they are now both fiercely independent and adventurous in the outdoors. More than that, they choose to be outside most of the time. I knew once summer started wrapping up that I was going to keep my eyes peeled for sales on high-quality outdoor gear because this fall and winter is going to be awesome for our family!
A few pieces of gear we have invested in to encourage hours of happy, independent outdoor play for our children:
The Trail Suit
The Oakiwear Waterproof Trail Suit is a surefire way for us to make sure our daughter stays dry during this long rainy season (November-March). It is durable, rugged, and loose-fitting so it’s easy to layer over a heavier winter top or jacket. Even during heavy rain, she can get as dirty as she likes, while her clothes stay clean and dry underneath. This suit comes with a hood and is also reflective, making it easy to spot at night.
Our son is sporting a similar version, a waterproof coverall made by Tuffo. This one was worn by his big sister last year, and while not as durable in my opinion, it’s definitely waterproof. This is a great budget-friendly option for infants and young toddlers who may not put them through as much wear. These are not reflective but they’re offered in a few bright colors. It also comes with a hood attached.
The Down Jacket
It can get pretty cold by us in the winter, as in the single digits, especially if you’re traveling to different elevations as we often do. I got these two awesome high-quality Patagonia Hi-Loft Down Jackets when they were on sale not too long ago. They were still pricey, even with a markdown. What made it worthwhile for our family was that I already had a generous store credit coupled with the fact that we know these will be worn every day, and then again as hand-me-downs. My children have worn these a couple times at night already. They’re pretty cozy and warm.
Patagonia is a company my husband and I love to support whenever possible. Their items have a lifetime guarantee. We have put this to the test several times with some pretty old, lifeless gear and without receipts. We have never been turned away. I believe you absolutely get what you pay for with Patagonia. This customer service and care, in addition to their conservation practices and business philosophies, makes them a suitable option whenever we’re looking to acquire gear that will last.
The Fleece Mid-Layer
These Mud Kingdom Fleece Vests are great for fall and to layer under jackets in the winter. My children have worn theirs several times already this fall and they are warm! These vests are offered in several colors and are proof positive that high-quality kids clothing doesn’t have to be expensive.
The Rain Boots
These Oakiwear Waterproof Rubber Rain Boots are budget-friendly, durable, and super cute. They are offered in over a dozen patterns and were more affordable than what I saw at some popular stores near us. My daughter also has a pair, shown in her pictures, that are camo pattern.
Along with some typical children’s winter clothing, including some synthetic base layers and socks, a couple hats, and a couple pairs of mittens, this is what we have in preparation for the winter/rainy season out here in the Pacific Northwest where proper gear can make or break your child’s outdoor experience. We, as parents, have similar items in our closets, most of which has been acquired from Patagonia and other outdoor clothing companies over the last ten years or so and it has held up with time. We hope this post inspires you to go outside with your kids in all weather and get dirrrrty!
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”