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Winter calls for specialized apparel designed to keep kids warm and safe. If it looks great, too, then that’s just a bonus.
- We think the Columbia, REI, Amazon, and Nordstrom sell some of the best kids‘ winter gear around, and we also like Home Depot’s selection of sleds.
There’s a reason so much small talk is centered on the weather. Weather affects everyone, directly impacting how we dress, where we go, in what activities we participate, and even how we’re feeling. In the wintertime, the weather is often cold and snowy, and when it’s cold and snowy, how can you go outside and have fun? By bundling up in proper attire and getting a sled or a pair of snowshoes, building a snowman or snowwoman with the kids, skiing, or snowboarding.
After all, winter weather need not put a damper on family fun. In fact, winter can be the most enjoyable season of the year provided you and the kids have the proper apparel and hardware to get outside and enjoy it. This year, make sure your kids have the best winter clothing, accessories, and toys by shopping from retailers who offer a great selection of high-quality cold weather clothing and gear. Like, say, the brands we’ve brought together in today’s guide.
We’re featuring everything from gloves and mittens, sleds and skis, to apparel that will keep little ones warm on the slopes and stylish in the city.
Being the father of two young children and a man who enjoys high alpine hiking as well as strolling down the streets, I have personally purchased gear and clothing from all of the retailers covered. I trust this stuff enough for my kids, but if that’s not good enough for you, I’ve also checked in with plenty of experts as well as with other moms and dads.
Here are the places to shop for kids‘ winter gear:
- Best winter outerwear for kids: Columbia Sportswear
- Best ski gear for kids: REI
- Best sleds, saucers, tubes, and toboggans: Home Depot
- Best winter accessories for kids: Amazon
- Best stylish winter clothing for kids: Nordstrom
Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.
The best winter outerwear for kids
Why you’ll love it: Columbia Sportswear makes outerwear designed for use in the Arctic, so even though your kids won’t be playing in such extreme conditions, you can rest assured that they’re well covered.
I’ve worn Columbia gear at frigid mountain altitudes above 15,500 feet, in driving snow storms, in icy downpours, and while kayaking across open water on subzero days. Long story short, Columbia’s outerwear performs perfectly in winter conditions that are anything but hospitable to human beings. So when the weather turns bitterly cold and the snowfall starts, it’s Columbia clothing I trust to keep my kids warm and comfortable while they enjoy the outdoors during the winter.
Columbia’s winter apparel is designed with two primary directives: to keep the wearer warm, and to keep him or her dry. The company accomplishes the former with various types of insulation, layering, and with proprietary technologies like the Omni-Heat lining, which features thousands of small metallic dots that bounce radiated body heat back at you. As for keeping things dry, the company uses fabrics that shed water and are breathable enough to release the excess heat and moisture that have built up within a garment.
To (literally) keep babies warm from head to toe, Columbia’s Infant Meet Cute Fleece Bunting suit is an excellent choice. It has attached booties, a warm adjustable hood, and a fleece lined interior that’s soft, cozy, and plenty warm.
For toddlers who are up on their feet but still likely to topple over into the snow multiple times per outing, the Toddler Buga Set features snow pants and a winter coat made to the same exacting standards as Columbia’s legendary Bugaboo coat.
The garments are fully waterproof, feature multiple layers of insulation, and the pants have a reinforced knee and seat, adding strength to the fabric in spots where kids are prone to flop down. One mom called the Buga gear „wonderfully made“ and „perfect for northern winters.“
And for your elementary aged kids, consider the Lightning Lift Jacket, a technical hooded jacket suitable for use on snowy slopes, during snow storms in the city, or while the kids help you shovel off the driveway and stoop.
With dozens of reviews posted, the Lightning Lift enjoys more than a 90% approval rating from moms and dads. One parent called it „very durable, functional, [and] ready to take on all kinds of weather conditions.“
Pros: Winter apparel made to exacting standards, options for all ages of child, broad catalog of outerwear options
Cons: Many options run small
The best ski gear for kids
Why you’ll love it: REI offers an expansive range of snow sport gear for kids, including snowboards and skis for downhill daredevils of all ages, sizes, and skill levels.
The earlier you get kids on a pair of skis or a snowboard, the more likely it is that they will develop a love for snow sports. Wait too long, and the self-preservation instinct that counsels a human against zipping downhill at breakneck speeds just might kick in. Kidding aside, most ski mountains permit kids ages three and older to hit the slopes with a guardian or an instructor, of course, and there’s no reason not to get your little guy or gal on skis or a snowboard at that young age. That is, as long as you equip your youngster with the best ski gear for kids.
REI offers all the basic kids‘ ski and snowboarding hardware you’d expect, including skis and snowboards and boots, of course. In terms of skis, these range from broad, stumpy skis designed for beginners to long, slender skis suited to experienced downhill racers to cross country skis, such as the Madshus Snowpup Cross-Country Skis. And the same holds true for snowboards, with boards of varying length available.
But beyond the actual skis and snowboards, REI also offers all of the other gear required for safe, enjoyable downhill adventures, including poles, ski goggles, and the all important helmets, a must have for children who have an appetite for speed and little regard for safety.
Arguably just as excellent as the kids‘ ski gear REI sells are the classes the co-op offers. They offer all sorts of opportunities for people of all ages to learn the basics of downhill skiing or boarding or for those who want to take their snow sport game to the next level.
Pros: Good variety skis, multiple options for safety gear, brand offers numerous how-to resources
Cons: Prices are often high
The best sleds, saucers, tubes, and toboggans
Why you’ll love it: If your kids can’t wait to head for the sledding hills after the first snow of the season, head to Home Depot before the flakes fall because the company has a stellar selection of downhill snow toys.
Back in the day, if you wanted to enjoy some downhill snow play, you had basically two options: the age-old wooden toboggan, or, as of the late 1800s, a sled with metal runners, the famed Flexible Flyer being the prime example. Soon, the snow saucer joined the lineup, and kids had yet another way to zoom downhill, and now with the added joys of zero control over their trajectory. Inflatable snow tubes and plastic snow sleds joined the fun later, followed by foam sleds, steerable sleds, ever more advanced downhill winter conveyances.
If you want to get just about any and every type of sled ever made, head to Home Depot. The company stocks everything from the Classic Wooden Toboggan beloved by Calvin and Hobbes (well, by Calvin, at any rate) to the Flexible Flyer runner sleds with classic red steel skids to all sorts of modern sled options.
The Home Depot offers pull sleds for toddlers not ready for downhill action as well as large and rugged plastic sleds suitable for use by multiple kids at the same time or by adults who know enjoying the snow isn’t relegated to childhood alone.
Home Depot carries multiple snow tubes, steerable sleds, snow saucers, and even the unique EMSCO ESP Series Wearable Body Sled, a three-part contraption that straps to the users hands and rear and allows for speed and control.
In short, if you can think of a type of sled you can’t get from Home Depot, you probably missed your calling as a professional sled designer. As for pricing, Home Depot is competitive with all other major retailers when it comes to the sled-buying marketplace. And as for the buying experience, most customers echo the sentiments of a Flexible Flyer buyer who said „the sled arrived very quickly [and] in perfect condition.“
Pros: Great selection of classic and modern sleds, competitive pricing, fast and reliable shipping
Cons: Many styles often out of inventory
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Source: Business insider