Honestly, there are some mornings I look outside and think, “Maybe we should just stay inside today.” It would be so much easier. But, inevitably, after a few minutes, my adventurous self gets the best of me, and we’re headed out the door all bundled up and ready to brave the elements.
No matter how long it takes to get ready, I never regret it once we’re outside. Because kids and babies are just like us — or are we just like them? — they love to be out in the fresh air.
After a few years of testing, this is our favorite winter gear for kids. Scroll through to see all of our recommended buys or jump to the section you’re looking for:
- Best Base Layers
- Best Bunting Suits
- Best Midlayers
- Best Winter Jackets
- Best Pants & Snowsuits
- Best Mittens & Gloves
Best Base Layers for Kids
If your child is not into wool, then Capilene is another great option. We love the Midweight Kids’ Capilene Crew & Bottoms ($35-39) from Patagonia. They’re made from 100% recycled polyester and are lightweight and very comfortable for the most active of kids. Our son’s even double as his winter cabin pajamas!
This sister-owned, Jackson, Wyo., company is all about getting kids exploring and loving the outdoors with the help of U.S.-made merino wool base layers. We have a set ($109) for each of our kids, and they are their most played-in fall and winter base layers yet.
From sleeping to mountain climbing, these are worn all day long when we are out camping or having a big adventure day. The long torso, sleeves, and legs keep the wrists, ankles, and bum extra warm and limit the need to constantly pull down the shirt. When we bring them out, our boys know it’s going to be a fun outdoor adventure day!Check Price at Iksplor
Columbia Toddler Midweight Crew 2 Base Layer Top & Bottom
For the past 3 months, our family has been romping around our winter wonderland in these thermal reflective base layers ($25) from Columbia, and we are in love with them. They feel smooth on the skin, wick moisture, and keep us toasty even after the most intense snowball fight! The price tag is also nice on the wallet.
Best Bunting Suits for Kids
This ultra-warm duck-down suit ($149) is now seeing its fifth season on a different baby in our neighborhood, and it still looks like it’s brand new. For those super-cold morning walks or skis, it’s comforting to know your baby is warm and fully covered.
From easy entry and exit to zipper placement to extra length for the hands and feet, Patagonia thought of everything. But this suit is not waterproof. So for those super rainy or wet snowy days, it’s not the best choice.
For days when the weather is variable and we know our little one will want to be on the move, we put him in his Disana boiled merino wool romper ($109). This German-made, organic, ultra-durable, soft, and pliable suit lets your active toddler move easily, as it doesn’t have any extra loft to get in the way. The big buttons and ability to cover up the hands and feet make a parent-friendly design.Check Price at Amazon
This U.S.-made suit ($100) is simple in design yet functional and warm. The 700-fill down encased in a ripstop water-repellent fabric coupled with elastic cuffs and waist make this both a parent’s and a child’s dream cold-weather suit!
We tested it out on a 20-degree ski back to a hut with our 2-year-old in the chariot. The fact he slept for the whole ride showed he was plenty cozy and warm enough in this awesome little suit!Check Price at Amazon
Ever since our son started Forest School (where kids spend up to 5 hours a day outside in any weather), we’ve had a lot of time to test outdoor gear. This Oaki suit ($70) is our most versatile and most used outer layer. It’s lightweight, highly adjustable, and waterproof.
My favorite feature is the long off-center zipper that goes all the way down past the crotch, making nature pees quick and easy. We also love that every time we unzip our son after a full day of school, he is dry, warm, and clean underneath — no matter how muddy and wet he is on the outside!
Best Midlayers for Kids
In this family, we love vests — especially our 2-year-old. He despises being too warm on his arms but loves having a warm belly. And who could blame him?
Our favorite outdoor vest is Patagonia’s down sweater vest ($99). It’s lightweight and packable, and it fits underneath all of his jackets. On super-mild winter days, it fits over a thin fleece for a perfect layering combination!Check Price at Patagonia
When you want your kids to both look and feel cozy, this high-pile, kangaroo-style pullover ($50) from Columbia is a great pick. Not only will it keep them warm, but it will also make you want to cuddle up with them every chance you get. This fleece, while great on its own, is also a favorite of ours for throwing under a shell for those ultra-rainy and cold days.
Finally a kids’ wool sweatpant and sweatshirt! Equipped with the same thermal-regulating, quick-drying, and breathable properties as the Chasing Windmill base layers, this cozy sweatsuit ($59) is the perfect addition to put on over base layers for a big day on the slopes or long play sessions outside.
Our 4-year-old wears his for both Forest School days and cozy afternoons at home. We parents now wish that we had a matching pair!
Best Winter Jackets for Kids
This versatile two-for-one jacket ($129) has everything your little one needs to tackle the long winter days no matter how cold or warm it is outside. For those ultra-cold days, the full jacket with its zip-in fleece and waterproof outer shell creates a bombproof barrier.
And when the sun comes out and they get too hot, it’s easy to either wear it as just a fleece or just a shell. We see this jacket as two for the price of one!
If you’re looking for the best kids’ skiing jacket that can pull out all the stops, look no further. Stio’s Kids’ Rafferty Insulated jacket ($199) is perfect for skiing, sledding, building snowmen, and everything in between.
This jacket has made it two seasons with our 5-year-old, and we’re excited to pass it down to our youngest son — and it’s still looking good as new! We love that it’s fully waterproof, is long enough to cover his butt, and has inside stash pockets for snacks, a ski pass, and one small toy.
The hood does not quite fit over his ski helmet, which does not bother us, as the interior gusset and tricot collar both keep him plenty warm. However, we could see this being a deal-breaker for another family.Check Price at Stio
For those looking for a less bulky option that will grow with them, be sure to check out Patagonia’s Everyday Ready Jacket ($159). This jacket is fully waterproof and double-layered, and it has a warm insulated hood.
Our soon-to-be 5-year-old loves this bomber jacket for long days on the bunny hill and even full Forest School days. We love that it will fit him for one, maybe two more seasons!
The Patagonia Baby Tribbles Hoody ($109) is not only fully reversible but it’s also made out of 100% recycled fleece on one side and 100% recycled polyester on the other. We love this jacket for its big, cozy hood that comes with two snap buttons around the chin.
We bust it out on super-cold Forest School days or ski days when we know our 4-year-old needs to stay warm for a long time. While we have yet to wear it with the fleece lining on the outside, so far, it is great for keeping the snow out and the warmth in.
Our only complaint is our son will only put it on when he’s already outside because he says it is “way too warm to wear inside even for a minute!”
For the hip kid on the block — who is also hip to wearing 100% sustainable clothing — check out this incredibly warm little navy puffy jacket ($190) from Mon Coeur. It’s ultralight and made from recycled PET bottles and Ecodown fibers.
Our 2-year-old wears it almost every day. We think he loves it for its warmth, but he may also really love it for its big zipper hand pockets because we always find little pinecones, rocks, and sticks in them.
Either way, if you are in the market for a sustainable, warm, and stylish jacket for your little one, check it out. We wish they made one for adults!
Best Ski Pants & Snowsuits for Kids
Reima makes some amazing winter gear that lasts. If you’re looking for a winter suit that will go the long haul (like, last through a bunch of kids), check out this award-winning snowsuit ($190).
It’s built for all types of winter weather and comes with an awesome faux fur-lined hood. It’s easy to put on and take off, and it’s timeless in design.Check Price at Reima
Columbia has a great feature on much of its outdoor kids’ wear called Outgrown. When your little one grows and the legs become too short, all you have to do is undo the bottom stitching and you have another season of playing!
These Omni-Heat insulated bibs ($90) have the Outgrown feature, and we are excited to give it a go when it comes time. In the meantime, we are loving how durable, comfortable, and insanely warm these bibs are.
On warmer winter days, our youngest loves to rock a base layer underneath his bibs with no jacket over top.
When your 2-year-old wakes up and immediately asks to put on his snow pants and go outside, you know you’re doing something right. These Obermeyer Snoverall Bibs ($90) have been worn since the very first day it snowed, and they are still going strong.
Thanks to double-layer reinforcements on all the seams, knees, and butt, along with a grow feature, we are excited to see him in them next year as well!
Best Mittens & Gloves for Kids
When it comes to mittens, Vermont-based Gordini knows what it’s doing. The brand makes amazing gloves and mittens for all members of the family, but we were more impressed with the brand’s toddler mittens ($30).
The outer material is grippy enough to hold onto things, and the dreaded “thumbhole” is super easy for them to put their own thumb into, thanks to the long zipper on the side of the mitten.
The side zipper also makes it easy to put the mitten over any jacket. Both our 5-year-old and 2-year-old agree — these are the warmest and most playful mittens out there!
At the end of last winter, our then-2-year-old started revolting against mittens. He couldn’t climb up the ladder at the playground, couldn’t hold on to his sled well, and couldn’t grip sticks or poles like he wanted to.
This year, we got him these Omni fleece gloves ($25) from Columbia, and he couldn’t be happier. While I wouldn’t send them to the ski hill with these gloves, for mild and dry weather, these have been his everyday go-to play gloves.Check Price at Amazon
Hestra — a glove company based in Hestra, Sweden — has been making gloves and mittens since 1936. You could say it knows a thing or two about keeping fingers warm. When our son started cross-country skiing (and loving it), we quickly realized we needed gloves that would let him hold onto poles better.
These Hestra tracker gloves ($45) have all the features needed when working hard in the cold. Durable stretch polyester on the palm makes it easy to hold onto poles, while the three-layer breathable-yet-warm outer layer keeps his hands warm, but not too warm!
For slightly older and bigger kids, the Vent Mittens from Burton ($40) really take the cake. These mitts are easy to adjust at the back of the palm, cinch at the wrist if weather requires, and have a zippered pocket for your kiddo’s hand warmers too.
The Vent Mittens have Burton’s DryRide Insane Membrane for waterproofness and breathability, Thermacore synthetic insulation, and two-layer shell fabric. The mittens also have a grip texture feature on the palm, and a soft microfiber lining to keep hands and fingers cozy inside.
Reviewers like these most for their different size options (from 2T toddler sizes to mitt sizes for teens), ease of use and adjustability, and warmth. Parents we asked also raved at the length of the cuffs and cinches that do a great job at keeping snow out.
Buyers Guide: Winter Layering Basics for Kids
Does Your Baby Run Hot or Cold?
Some babies are naturally warmer, and some run on the cooler side. Ever since my sons’ first days with us, they’ve been little heaters. On the flip side, I have friends with babies and tots who are always wrapped up in multiple layers, and they seem to be good with it.
Check on your baby’s temp by feeling their core every once in a while during your outdoor adventure time. If it seems cold to the touch, put another layer on; if it’s too hot, take a layer off. And if they’re not fussing and are having a good time, don’t mess with them!
How Much Are They Going to Be Moving Outside?
Your activity will greatly influence what you dress your little one in. When my sons were just starting to crawl and we went outside, we either carried them in a backpack or pushed them in a stroller. Hence, they weren’t working up a sweat.
Tots who are walking are another story because they want to be able to move easily and without any extra bulk in their way.
Remember, It’s Easier to Take Off Layers
So far, I’m finding that putting on more layers when we’re already doing our thing outside is way more of a hassle than taking them off. Before we head out on our adventure, I put a few layers on my boys knowing I can easily pull one off if they’re fussy.
Finding Kids’ Snow Gear on a Budget
We hear you — kids’ clothes can be outrageously expensive. On the one hand, we want our baby to be comfortable on outside adventures. But, on the other hand, we still need a few bucks left in the bank for said winter adventure.
We’ve found a few strategies for gearing up for winter without breaking the bank. First, before you drop a ton of money on winter gear for your baby, tot, or kid, check out local thrift or used gear stores.
Ask your fellow parent friends if they have anything they want to get rid of. Having a go-to source for secondhand gear can be a real treasure.
Next, prioritize and think about how often you’ll really use something. We splurged on a couple of Patagonia and merino wool pieces knowing that our boys would be in them for several months. We also hope we’ll have another one who can wear it next.
Most of all, just get out there. Whatever gear you end up choosing, your kid, your sanity, and your family memories will thank you for making the effort to get outside, even when the temperature drops and the snow flies.