Are you looking to buy some new outdoor clothing for the kids this season?
I thought my two were all kitted out, but a recent check on their outdoor gear made me realise just how much they’ve grown this year! So we’ve got a shopping list to tackle before the weather really turns cold, and this got me thinking about the features that I expect when I’m buying outdoor clothing. It’s no secret that the right kit can make or break your enjoyment of the great outdoors; damp feet, uncomfortable clothes, and being too cold (or too hot) are all guaranteed ways to cut short a family outing. Add to that the fact that things like coats, snow gear and boots can be expensive purchases, and naturally you want to get it right first time.
If you’re looking for some outdoor gear inspiration, here’s my list of ideal features you should tick off before heading to the checkout.
The right size is crucial when it comes to outdoor clothing; if it’s too small or too big your little ones will struggle to move freely. When it comes to footwear, make sure you check the fit and ask your child if they feel comfortable; remember that they’re likely to be wearing thick socks, so allow for that too.
When it comes to durability, children are brilliant at putting clothing to the test. Knees, elbows and zips are all weak spots when it comes to wear and tear, so check these areas carefully. My eldest goes through the knees on trousers remarkably quickly, so when it comes to outdoor gear I always look for strong fabric at this point; I really like the kids outdoor range from Engelbert Strauss, which includes designs with reinforced knees for extra durability.
Easy to put on
If you’ve ever tried to wrestle a wriggly child into a coat, you’ll know what I’m aiming to avoid here! Anything that makes getting the clothing on easier is a bonus; look for things like zips at the bottom of trouser legs, pull cords or velcro that make arm holes wider, and smooth-running zips or easy to fasten buttons.
If your little ones are going to be outdoors in the dark, look for clothing that has reflective strips. These are great for increasing visibility in low light, and especially useful if you go on family bike rides.
Surely all kids clothes designed for outdoor wear are waterproof, right? Wrong! Water resistant and shower-proof are not the same as waterproof; the first two will protect the kids against a bit of water, but they won’t protect them indefinitely. If you want to make sure they stay completely dry, go for items that specifically reference being waterproof. This is perfect for coats, over-trousers and walking shoes.
At the end of the day, your kids have to feel comfortable when wearing the item. For example, my kids really hate wearing anything that’s itchy, so I always check linings for scratchy fabric or stitching. Comfort can be hugely affected by temperature too; kids tend to run around a lot when they’re out and about, and if they’re wrapped up in winter layers they can quickly get hot. Look for outdoor clothing that’s breathable; this means sweat can escape, which will help them to maintain a comfortable temperature.
I hope these tips help you get out there and enjoy some outdoor family time this season. And if you’d like some inspiration on what to do once you’ve made it out of the house, check out the Woodland Trust website for lots of great ideas.