Dressing kids for winter isn’t hard; you just need the right things to keep them warm and comfortable while they are outside. Besides knowing how to pack for a family ski trip, we have created this guide with our best tips for dressing your kids like a pro this season. We promise it will keep them warm from head to toe because the bottom line is, the warmer your kids are, the happier and longer they will stay outside and play!

Layers

Ultimately the key to dressing your kids for winter is layering. It is easy to add or remove layers to adjust to the weather or temperature. This enables your kids to keep doing what they do best — having fun in the great outdoors.

Dressing Kids for Winter
Burton Fleece Base Layer

Base Layer

A base layer wicks moisture away from the skin to keep kids dry. Synthetic fabrics like polyester (fleece) or natural fabrics like wool or silk are better than cotton. Mama Sarah recommends this Burton fleece base layer for toddlers. She says, “these are pretty epic as well as super cozy and warm.” Her son wore them all last year and never complained about being cold. They do double duty as PJs as well. He likes to wear them to sleep sometimes on chilly nights.

Mid or Insulation Layer

A fleece jacket or vest works well as an insulation layer to keep in the heat that little bodies make. Babies will stay cozy in a fleece onesie. This one from Burton even has flip over mittens and booties to keep their extremities warm.

dressing kids for winter

Shell Layers

For spring skiing or milder days, a shell layer will help keep out wind and rain. Look for softshell jackets that are water and wind-resistant. They can be worn alone or with a base or mid-layer, depending on the conditions.

Outer Layers

Jackets, snow pants, bibs, and one-piece snowsuits should all be windproof and waterproof. Investing in quality gear isn’t cheap and at the rate that kids grow, you want these items to last as long as possible. Many Burton toddler and kid’s jackets include the room-to-grow system, which extends the sleeves’ length by 1.5 inches!

How to dress your kids for winter
Burton Toddler Jacket

Winter Boots

Good insulated, waterproof boots are a crucial component to dressing kids for winter activities. In addition to comfort, you’ll want to consider warmth, weight, and slip-resistant traction. Look for winter boots that have sealed seams and waterproof rubber soles. For younger kids, pull-on or zip-up boots will be easier to pop on versus ones that lace up. If you are worried about the snow getting in, look for velcro or bungee-cord closures.

Accessories

Socks

The Mamas love Darn Tough Socks. We don’t ski or ride without them, and neither do our kids. They are on our must-have gear list and never fail to keep our toes toasty warm throughout the season.

Mittens & Gloves

Keeping fingers warm and dry is just as important as toes. Mittens tend to be warmer than gloves because when the fingers are not separated by fabric, they will generate a bit more heat. For little ones, we love the Burton Mini Heater Mittens. They are waterproof and insulated, plus they have a long cuff and have a velcro strap to pull them tight around the wrist. Fo older kids who want more dexterity, check out Rossignol gloves, which are reinforced for an excellent ski-pole grip.

Mama Tip: Avoid buying black mittens. Instead, pick a color or pattern. This makes it easier to identify them in the lost and found bin or if they are dropped on the mountain.

Dressing Kids for Winter
Skida Neckwarmer

Neck Warmers, Balaclavas & Helmet Hoods.

No one wants frostbite. It is essential to protect the epidermis on the face. Skida makes cozy neckwarmers that are lined with Polartec® micro-fleece. They come in fun prints and colors.

Balaclavas offer more coverage for the face. Burton takes it one step further and makes a Hooded Clava that goes over the helmet and offers total protection from the elements. It has a magnetic connection to seal the face mask to their Anon goggles.

Hats

Experts say you can lose up to 7-10% of body heat through your head. To keep little noggins warm, look for a trapper style winter hat with a fleece lining and a velcro closure, so they don’t yank it off their head.

Keep kids warm in winter

Hand Warmers

We always keep a stash of disposable heat warmers in our ski bags. They are cheap and lightweight. Electronic hand warmers are reusable and better for the environment but are more expensive.

Mama Tip: Who says they are just for hands? Sometimes we’ve been known to put them in the back pockets of our ski pants to keep our bums warm on the chairlift.  

Let Us Help Dress Your Kids for Winter

Enter to win a family assortment of goodies from Skida and Darn Tough by leaving us your best tips for dressing kids for winter activities in the comments below!

Dress for Winter Giveaway

 

49 Comments

  • Layers!!! Pick quality gear for hands and feet because they get the coldest. Don’t skip the ski goggles or a good neck/face warmer. Layers can always come off and many will stash in coat pocket nicely.

  • We are a snow bunny family! Especially now with mandatory face masks, having the neck warmers and balaclavas that also go under your helmet are super helpful and warm! Be sure to have proper thick and tall socks on the whole family.

  • Best tips for staying warm for our kiddos are bib snow pants under their jackets! This way, snow cannot get under their jackets and into their pants. We also buy gloves that fit over the jacket sleeve to minimize snow and when not wearing a helmet, it’s hoods up on the jacket!

  • Research before you purchase. Buying the correct gear/clothes makes all the difference. Some companies make winter clothes that work, and some make just cute winter clothes that look like they work. Checking out reviews about the brands is really key. Asking mama’s about their recommendations along with brand successes and fails is a good start. I have some go-tos and avoids. The right clothes make outside time an all day affair.

  • Look for warm outer layers in the brightest colors possible so that you don’t lose sight of your little ripper on the trails!

  • Make sure your kid loves what they wear so they love what they are doing! Comfortable kids = happy skiers and riders. Have spares of neck gaiters and mittens to switch it up when they get soggy. Gloves that open to the fingers with zippers are way easier for little kids (and their parents) And when you go to pack up all the gear for their outdoor adventure have the kids lay out their “gear person” on the floor to make sure they aren’t forgetting anything before it all goes in the bag.

  • We love all the layers but find the 3 in one winter coats great for the coldest January days and we zip out the fleece and wear a long sleeve base layer and shell for spring skiing. Until my guys we 6 or 7 we used a one piece snowsuit (burton/llbean) for skiing. Lots of falls and never any crying that they had snow down their back. We still all (adults too!) use bibs and snow skirts to keep snow on the mountain and not on our chilly skin!

  • Best tips for staying warm for us is a quality base layer, fleece layer, then quality snow gear. My kids use all bibbed snow pants, and coats that have a tapered edge. We’ve been the most happy with Burton & Obermeyer. They wear a balaclava under helmets (and if not skiing a hat that snaps under the chin to cover cheeks/chin). On their feet it’s wool socks & quality boots. When skiing on a cold day, I open hand warmers ahead of time & place in their pockets for a quick grab (I use one for my cell phone to prevent the battery from dying too!). For my babies: I’ve always worn them under an xl coat so I could keep track of their temp. …biggest limit is watching the temperature and doing a check in regardless of how you/they “feel.” Under 15 degrees: automatic come in to warm after 15 -20 min.

  • i can’t emphasize the socks too much especially if the kids are skiing or riding. NEVER cotton. Be sure socks fit well and don’t sag or bunch. One layer of cloth around the ankles inside ski boots. Dry out boots and mittens every night. This is advice from someone who has taught hundreds of kids to ski.

  • I always pack extra snow pants, gloves and hats when we head to the ski area in case someone in our ski group forgets theirs. Also, we have found lost and found will loan out items in a pinch.

    • I do this too – bring extra stuff bc there were times we left home and had to go buy, also if warm day and wet – good to have extra gloves and socks if they are getting really wet!

  • Amazon has these great reusable hot packs. My kids use them every trip to warm up cold hands and toes. Plus environmentally friendly. You just boil them to reset and repack them for your next trip.

  • Yesss your kids will thank you later for dressing then well in the cold bc they will learn all the fun that winter has to offer!

  • Hand/ feet warmers are my favorite! But my kids don’t like them.. balaclava are a must for the whole family and helps soo much, along with good base layers 😌

  • Neckwarmers! I had a parent make enough for each student in my class a few years ago. They keep us very warm. Hope to win 🤞🏻 Thanks.

  • Buying the best quality gear is my best recommendation! Worth every penny. All these brands are made for surviving the winters here in Vermont comfortably! Cozy, stylish and functional!

  • We like to wear baclavas when we are doing outdoor activities, like snowshoeing or outdoor work. They keep us all warmer!

  • Invest in quality boots, hats and gloves. They want to be outside as much as possible, the least you can do is make them comfortable and having fun!

  • Having high quality winter gear that allows us to be outside during the long winter months as a family is so important!

  • I pack extra gloves and socks for the kids to change into if the trails are wet! We also warm up with hot cocoa if it’s really cold outside in between runs. Hand warmers are a must! And good, quality socks. This year, it will look different without lodge use so we will ride up, gear up in car when we get there so we don’t overheat on way up and head out!

  • I always bring large trash bags to sit on so ski pants don’t get wet during drizzle days. You can put them on picnic table seats outside (especially important this year) or if you are a great lift loader sneak them under before you sit on chair lift seat. If you can stay dry all the great layers you have on will keep you warm! If all else fails all the wet gear can be stored in trash bag until it gets home!!!

  • Being avid outdoor family, my kids grew up with the saying “Cotton kills”. I love wool, the new kind not the old scratchy kind. The other saying my kids always had in the their heads was “you loose most of your heat through your head and your feet”. Wool socks are the best! Don’t skimp on the mittens either. Buy the good ones because the cheap mittens never keep those tiny little fingers warm.

  • Keep extra gloves or mittens, scarves and face coverings available. These items seem to get lost frequently and, unfortunately, we had some taken during a bathroom break. Hopefully, mistakenly, but having the extra allowed us to stay at the mountain.

  • Definitely all of the above! Keeping an extra pair of dry gloves and socks in the lodge locker will also ensure you have a full afternoon of happy kiddos. Don’t forget the snacks too!

  • We ski with a backpack so we have access to snacks to keep their bodies fueled (and warm!), a place to stash extra layers (or to hold the layers they shed), and hand warmers. A must for this year especially since we won’t be going in any of the lodges!

  • Keeping kids warm on the slopes can be tough. This year might be even more challenging with less access to the lodges. I always make sure we have a second set of mittens and a change of neck warmer to take the chill off midday. Adding or removing a this hat under the helmet helps with temp regulation too.

  • This doesn’t really fall in the ‘keeping warm’ category but for older kids, getting mittens with the tether strings to strap them on your wrists is super helpful. No fear of dropping them when you are on the lift having a snack or fixing your helmet!

    Second the comment about splurging for good gear. I have managed to find some decent used items at local consignments shops or on craigslist. Makes it a little easier to swallow when dishing out for children who grow so darn fast!

  • Always, always keep extras in your ski bag or the car, at all times, unless you like having to hit to the lodge ski shop in the middle of the day or worse, when you first get to the mountain! Try as you might pretty much every time every other weekend we go out, something happens to someone (including the adults)! 💙

  • Wool layers for sure. Extra neckies for everyone bc they get wet and gross. Pocket snacks make you feel warmer if you’re frigid- a Snickers on a chair lift can make anyone feel better. Proper fitting goggles- no goggle gap or it covering the nose. Honestly, Oakley kids or Oakley youth fit everyone great. I like the full foot warmer vs just the toe. Dermatone on faces! What else?! A good thermos filled with tea or hot chocolate…. or hot toddy. We’re going to bring our camping Jet Boil for warm water/lunch… might even buy a portable propane fire pit for the lot … 🤷🏻‍♀️ This is going to be a WEIRD season!

  • This year we got our three kids trigger finger mittens, and electric boot/mitten dryers for all of us. They are 7, 9, and 12. Also got a lumbar pack to haul around extra mittens for them and a thermos with hot chocolate;)

  • Putting dry socks on right before you head out is key. You might not think your socks are wet- but they mostly likely are from foot sweat. Also having something to stand on as you gear up at the ski area will be important this year. We use a wool blanket and some crates to make staging area in the parking lot. This allows for putting on boots without getting socks muddy or wet.

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