Getting outside as a family isn’t just limited to the heady days of summer. With the right gear and a little bit of planning, winter can be downright magical.
Some families choose to haul their younger kids in enclosed trailers for skiing, hiking or snowshoeing, but many children actually prefer to be riding right in the middle of the fun on the back of a parent. The trick is keeping them warm!
Framed carriers like the Deuter Kid Comfort series allow children wearing many layers to be carried easily. They’re high enough up to see, they have the ability to duck behind a parent for a little more protection from the elements, and they usually love watching and chatting with whoever will listen.
Here’s a quick list of what we use to layer kids up, specifically if they are riding in a framed carrier exposed to the elements:
- A wool base layer. We love the ones that are shirt and pants for easier diaper changes if necessary. NOTE: Even if a child is in the midst of potty training, it’s a good idea to put them in a diaper, just in case, that they can wear for a while. Diaper changes in the snow are not always well-received.
- Wool socks. They should fit well around the child’s foot. Socks that are too big actually end up not keeping them warm.
- A low-profile hat or balaclava. This allows a hood to be put on easily for extra protection. Sometimes we use a balaclava AND a hat for really cold days.
- A mid layer. Fleece or wool is best. Remember the child is just sitting there so a good rule of thumb is they should have one more layer on than you do. Fleece pants and a fleece jacket is great! Fleece buntings work, too.
- An insulated wind/snow proof outer layer. It’s actually best for the child to be wearing one slightly big on them so when they are sitting, it still covers their legs and ankles. Often we choose snowsuits just for less possibility of a jacket riding up, but anything warm will do!
- Boots or booties. For non-walkers, it’s easy to layer under booties with a bit more space. Regular boots are tougher, but are great for kids who want to get in and out throughout the adventure.
- Mittens you know are warm. Ones that cover their wrists and go up their arms are best. On very cold days, layer with a small knit base glove or mitten.
- On longer adventures and/or colder days, we stick hand warmers in between mitten layers AND bootie layers. They have been lifesavers for us!
- Finally, ski goggles are a great idea to cover up that last bit of skin on their face. They’re an added bonus when they double as sun protection too!
Remember that kids need opportunities to get out and walk around every 1-2 hours just to let their blood get pumping. Prevents boredom, too!
And don’t forget snacks and water! A fed kid is a happy kid. And bribing them with something special they don’t normally get is never a bad idea either!
More from the Mayers on how to handle the wee ones in the outdoors!