Thursday, November 7, 2013

Favorite Winter Gear for Infants and Toddlers

Colder weather can be a little intimidating when it comes to getting outside with your littles. Riggs was a winter baby, and we never let the cold stop us from getting outside, even when he was just a few days old!

The key to having a pleasant cold-weather experience with infants and toddlers is in the gear. Our favorite cold weather essentials are wool and down, for Riggs and for ourselves. We really got into wool when Steve first started his apprenticeship as a Lineman. Polyester cold-weather gear just wasn't a safe option for him at work since he has a high chance of electrical shock at his work. Polyester is made of recycled plastic, and melts right to the skin.

Natural fibers like cotton and wool became his best options at work, especially for his base layer that he wore against his skin. He found that he stayed much warmer (even in temperatures well below zero) with wool layers than he had with polypro and so we both started choosing wool whenever we could. When Riggs was born, we chose wool for him too!

Quality winter gear can get expensive, but it also lasts much longer and has good resale value, so it's something we work into our budget, saving money in other areas to make up for it. Many times you can find these items used and in great shape, especially in infant sizes since they're actually 'used' very little.

Favorite Infant Picks

1 | 2 | 3 | 4

ONE | Stonz winter booties - We loved these for when Riggs couldn't walk. They cinch on over almost any layer and are wind and water resistant, so they really keep their little feet warm. They're also great for the transition period when your baby is learning to walk. 
TWO | Smartwool Balaclava - This is actually adult sized, but Riggs has a very big head so it fits him just fine. Balaclava's are essential for really cold days, as they protect the neck and chin. When it's below 10 degrees, Riggs wears a balaclava under his hat and hood.
THREE | REI snowsuit - A full zip snowsuit is essential for babies and young toddlers, as it's easy to get on and off and doesn't allow snow or cold to creep into their midsection as they're wriggling around outside. 
FOUR | Smartwool hat and mitten set - We had this set in a few different sizes and loved it! The mittens for small babies are just a mitt with no thumb, but the larger sizes have a thumb. They are very warm and cozy and we sometimes use them as liners for bigger mittens when it's really cold.

Favorite Toddler Picks

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

ONE | Cosilana Organic Wool Pilot Cap - These are an essential baby/toddler item (in my opinion) if you live in a cold climate. The wool is so soft and it's a thin hat that works well under hoods. They come in a few different colors too.
TWO | Columbia Snow Bibs - I know that snow 'pants' are popular these days, but I prefer traditional bibs, both for Riggs and myself. They're just more practical, since they come up higher to keep snow out and stay on better for busy toddlers. I was so happy to find Riggs' at a second hand store for only $7.
THREE | Wool Lobben Boots - Hands down my favorite winter boots for Riggs! They are so warm and cozy, plus they're sooo cute. These are expensive new, but they have great resale value. I was shocked to find Riggs' pair on Craigslist for around $30, and I nabbed them as quick as I could. 
FOUR | Patagonia Down Mittens - These are simple, warm mittens with a velcro closure that makes them easy to put on and off. We use them over the Smartwool mittens and they work great together. Another great option for mittens that I could find online are the 'Head' brand zipper ones at Costco. We have a pair of them and they are very warm and easy to get on and off as well.
FIVE | Engel Organic Wool/Silk Long Underwear - These are a wonderful base layer for infants and for toddlers. I usually put them under a thicker pair of wool longies (that I make myself using old sweaters) under Riggs' snowpants and he never gets cold. This wool/silk blend is so soft and gentle against their skin.
SIX | Bogs Classic Insulated Rain Boot - We don't have these personally, but my sister got them for her boys as winter boots and they love them. I prefer the plain black, but they also come in cute prints too.
SEVEN | Patagonia Reversable Puff Ball Jacket - We love this jacket! It's thin and easy for Riggs to maneuver in and I love that it has a hood to keep his neck and head extra warm! I love that it's reversible too, so it always matches what he's wearing. There's also a heavier, warmer version of this by Patagonia that's great too.

Girl Picks

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

ONE | Patagonia Down Mittens - the same ones I mentioned above but in pink! So cute!
TWO | Patagonia Reversable Puff Ball Jacket - the same one I mentioned above except in this adorable Ikat print. I tend to like Patagonia's girl prints better than the boy prints, they're always so cute.
THREE | REI Snowy Creek fleece union suit - We don't usually choose fleece items, but for a newborn this would be a great option, especially layered over a warm wool or cotton pajama. I just love the bright color and the hearts.
FOUR | SmartWool stripe beanie and mittens set - Girls version of what I mentioned above. Sierra Trading post has a few different versions of these sets from different seasons for great prices.
FIVE | Stonz booties - This polka dot print was so cute I had to share it here. You can also purchase a warm liner for these boots on the Stonz website. 

Hopefully this post has been somewhat useful! There are great options from other brands that are similar as well, these just happen to be our favorite picks. Please share any of your favorite must have items that I haven't listed here!


  1. I, too, live in the cold and enjoy getting out. I love your picks and have used most of them. I've also made simple fleece tubes for my toddlers to use as neck-warmers. They are only a single layer of fleece, but they fill in the inevitable gap under the little ones' chins and above the coat zipper. My kids can put them on themselves, which is great. They were cheap and easy to make. I sized them just an inch or so smaller in both directions than a store bought adult neck-warmer; no hemming needed. Do be sure to orient the fleece so that it stretches around, instead of up and down! The hardest part was deciding on a my favorite pattern at the fabric store.

  2. Oh these are great! Thank you for sharing this! It's starting to get cold here, and we are eager to get the girls outside this year and like you said it can be a little intimidating when you have little ones. I'm definitely going to look into all of these! ;)

  3. I have never heard of Stonz boots!

  4. Oo we are totally getting Stonz for Hazel. I was looking at them the other day. I really want the black and white polka dot ones but my better judgement is telling me I should go with something more neutral in case we have a boy next!

  5. I know, right?! The polka dot ones are sooo cute! I loved ours and am sad that Riggs has outgrown them. :)

  6. They are amazing! They're made in Canada but you can get them in boutiques in the US and order them online too!

  7. Glad to be helpful! I love getting outside with Riggs and I've had a little bit of time to figure out what gear works best for us:)

  8. Aww thanks Andrea! I totally hear you about the wind and rain. I feel like high winds are pretty much the only 'deal-breaker' weather for us. They can just be so miserable and cold! And I'm sooo looking forward to this winter since Riggs can walk. The crawling could get pretty challenging at times!

  9. Such a great idea about the fleece tubes! Thanks for sharing Erica!!