When it comes to cold weather; the best option is layers.
Thermal Long Underwear – Wool or silk is the best option although technical fabrics will do. Cotton is NOT a good base layer. You want a fabric that wicks away the sweat. Once cotton gets wet, usually from running around and sweating, it will stay damp and then create a chill.
This layer goes over the base layer and serves to insulate on especially cold days. Fleece or another wool layer are great to keep the warmth in.
Finally, a waterproof shell; coat and snowpants or one piece suit and should go over the top to keep everything dry and warm. A once piece suit can be really easy especially for young children; however, there are drawback when potty training or if it warms up some and the child may want to take off a coat and leave snowpants on. I recommend bib snowpants as they keep the snow out and are usually more comfortable.
- What I Like: Lands End Squall Coat and Pants
In most cases, the warmer that you can keep the core the easier it is to keep extremities warm.
Wool socks – If you get a good pair of wool socks and boots, you should only need one pair of wool socks. For the same reason as base layer, don’t use cotton for socks, even under wool. The cotton will get damp and won’t dry. Extra wool socks are always good to have in case you do need to change them out. They can also double as an insulating layer for hands under waterproof mittens.
- What I Like: 100% Wool Socks like these.
Mittens – Waterproof Mittens a nice insulated waterproof mitten. If it’s particularly cold, you may want to consider a thin wool mitten or wool sock under the waterproof mittens.
- What I Like: Gordini Easy On Mittens
Waterproof Boots -A nice pair of waterproof winter boots. The outer waterproof shell should be pulled over the boot to create a seal so snow can’t get in.
- What I Like: Stonz Boots for Kids and Stonz Booties for Babies and I’ve heard good things about Kamik SnoBuster
Hat/Baclava/Face Mask – A wool or warm fleece hat or baclava to keep heads warm. A hat that won’t slip down and can be fastened under the chin is good especially for a forest school where multiple children will be running around and hats may get caught on branches or need to be adjusted multiple times. A face mask can make even cold windy days bareable.
Additional Items to Consider:
Hand/Toe Warmers – These can be used on really cold days. Typically for children you won’t want them directly on their hands or feet but between insulated layers. Toe warmers are usually smaller and fit for children. We have been out in negative zero degrees and haven’t needed them, but Ido keep them with in case.
Warm Liquid – Hot Chocolate or Herbal Tea in a //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=adventuring03-20&marketplace=amazon®ion=US&placement=B074CMGQCY&asins=B074CMGQCY&linkId=3b8b8c65000a5fcfabebdcf698023aa9&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff“>Thermos is a nice way to keep warm and a special treat for littles.
Backpack or Bag – I usually keep a couple extra pairs of mittens, hat or face mask (whichever isn’t currently being used), wool socks and snacks in a bag. I also keep a pair of kids binoculars and some guides to reference; the animal tracking oneis our most used during the winter. An extra bag for garbage that we find, kleenexes and some chapstick or lotion for windburned cheeks. It’s also nice to have a bag to put any layers that wind up being removed if it warms up.
Babies – Babies cannot regulate their temperature so make sure that you are checking in frequently. Particularly if you are wearing a baby in cold weather.