Minimum clothing requirements for a snow trip? - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 21 Old 09-30-2009, 04:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We're thinking of taking our 4yo and 1.5yo to the snow this winter. We won't do any skiing, just some playing in the snow with a nice warm cabin close by. We live in Southern California, so the warmest article of clothing any of us own is a hoodie.

What are the minimum clothing requirements my kids will need for a low-key snow trip like the one I described?

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#2 of 21 Old 09-30-2009, 04:15 PM
 
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Where are you going?

How cold it is will be the big factor.

You'll need hats and mitts (not gloves). If you're going to a warm cold place, then fleece is good. If you're going to a cold cold place then they should be thicker.

If it's a warm cold place, then rain pants and a water proof jacket over top of clothes would work. I'd do leggings, then sweat pants and then rain pants on the bottom and a t-shirt, sweatshirt and a jacket on the top. That's if it's around freezing.

If it's colder than that, then you'll want actual jackets. The rain pants over sweats (sometimes 2 pairs) will work until quite cold.
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#3 of 21 Old 09-30-2009, 04:29 PM
 
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or they will be cold
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#4 of 21 Old 09-30-2009, 04:40 PM
 
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Where and for how long?

I'd bring at least 2 coats/snowsuits a piece, several pair of gloves/mittens, at least 2 hats. And definitely snow boots. My kids always get wet in their snow clothes and then want to go back out before the wet stuff has dried.

Fleece and thermal underwear is really good in the cold. Under Armour is awesome but really spendy.
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#5 of 21 Old 09-30-2009, 05:12 PM
 
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Are you going to have access to a washer and dryer.... if so you can probably get by with one set of thing and just stick it in the dryer.

You will need a winter coat and snow pants, boots, hat and mittens. If the coat has a hood you may be able to skip the hat. If you get a snowsuit you can skip the coat and snowpants.

If you have access to a dryer you can put the outter clothes in there when they get undressed and come inside and have it all ready to go in about 30 mins or so to go again, if no access then you will need a 2nd set if they want to go out again in the same day.
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#6 of 21 Old 09-30-2009, 05:15 PM
 
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The temperature is important. So many people are talking about the kids getting wet. Where I live, that doesn't happen. It's too cold. The snow is "dry"...

If it's warm enough that the snow is "wet", then you can get by with extra layers of warm stuff (like fleece sweats and fleece tops) covered by rain gear which is way cheaper that snow suits and is also much better at preventing you from getting wet.

On the rare occasions we get wet snow, we all wear rain gear here. If it's near freezing, then you'll get way too hot in a snow suit.
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#7 of 21 Old 09-30-2009, 06:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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To answer some questions:

We are going to Denver, probably in February, for a long weekend.

We'll be staying with DH's sister, so we will have access to a washer/dryer.

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#8 of 21 Old 09-30-2009, 06:48 PM
 
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Bad news is there is a good chance it will be really cold with no snow in Denver. You may have to go up to the mountains. Our snow often doesn't stick around long. Either way you can get away with good mittons, boots and the layers of bottoms with rain pants and layers on top or a good borrowed jacket. We have dry snow, not the wet stuff you need two sets of clothing for.
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#9 of 21 Old 09-30-2009, 06:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by 34me View Post
Bad news is there is a good chance it will be really cold with no snow in Denver. You may have to go up to the mountains. Our snow often doesn't stick around long. Either way you can get away with good mittons, boots and the layers of bottoms with rain pants and layers on top or a good borrowed jacket. We have dry snow, not the wet stuff you need two sets of clothing for.
Yeah, my SIL lives there and has said the same thing about the snow not sticking. We're planning to take day trips to the mountains to play in the snow, or maybe rent a cabin in the mountains for the weekend.

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#10 of 21 Old 09-30-2009, 07:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by limabean View Post
To answer some questions:

We are going to Denver, probably in February, for a long weekend.

We'll be staying with DH's sister, so we will have access to a washer/dryer.
Does SIL have any older kids who could provide hand-me-downs? I seems a bit crazy to buy enough winter clothing to be comfortable in Denver in February for 2 weeks, that you will probably never use again. Even if she can't do hand me downs, if she could do the buying in Denver, she will have a better selection than you are likely to find in sunny California.

Each child will need:
  • a pair of water resistant mittens
  • thermal underwear (aka long johns) (worn over, not instead of, regular underwear/diaper)
  • snow boots
  • corduroy pants
  • snowsuit/parka/heavy winter coat
  • hat that comes down over the ears
  • scarf/muffler
  • warm socks
  • sweaters

I've found, that even when it is cold enough that the snow itself is dry, the child ends up wet. The snow often finds a way inside the clothing, where it will start to melt. Also the snow stuck to the child when they go inside, often starts to melt before you get time to brush all of it off. So, if you don't have extra sets of outdoor gear, then you will need to wait till it dries out before going outside again.

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#11 of 21 Old 09-30-2009, 07:55 PM
 
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I would get, for each child:

Winter coat
Snow pants
Mittens - not knit, they have to be waterproof. And maybe two pairs for each child.
Hat
Scarf
Boots - and they really need to be warm.

This is going to be a major expense for such a short trip. I'd find second-hand, or get hand-me-downs, or see if your family can scrounge up stuff for you to borrow.
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#12 of 21 Old 09-30-2009, 08:14 PM
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I would try Once Upon a Child or similar stores for as much of the gear as possible. If you can get to one that's closer to the mountains you'll probably have better luck. I know the one by me does carry stuff like snowsuits, snow pants, boots, etc. but I live about an hour and a half or so from the Sierras/Tahoe.

If you have to buy new shoes for them for the winter and can swing it I'd strongly recommend getting something waterproof like a pair of Keens. It'll be good for here in CA during the rains and you can use them when you go to Denver. They won't be quite as good as getting snowboots but if you're not planning on doing a ton of playing in the snow they might work. The downfall to shoes would be the fact that they're not going to be as high up on the leg as a boot so it'll be a bit easier for the snow to get down in them. If you have snowpants/suit that is long enough you might be able to tape the bottom of the leg to the shoe or around the top of the shoe. Not sure how well that would work.

You might be able to get away with a pair of rainboots if they're roomy enough to wear a couple of layers of socks too.

I'd also wait until you get closer to your trip to buy this stuff if you can, they always start clearancing out the winter stuff right after Christmas. Though you'll need to keep a close eye on the stores and snap up your sizes right away before they run out.

If you've got raincoats or similar waterproof/resistant coats for the kids to wear during the rainy season you might be able to use them instead of buying a big snow coat. If they're roomy enough you could get a few layers on underneath, one of either a thermal shirt or lightweight longsleeve shirt, one of a flannel or heavier type of shirt and a sweater or heavy sweatshirt. The key is keeping out the water and shielding from the wind.

For the bottoms you could buy snow pants. You could also try the layering trick and start with thermal pants over the undies/diaper and then a pair of sweatpants over that with jeans or cords over that. It's trickier to get the legs waterproof without a pair of snowpants though.

Hats are a must along with mittens. The mittens will likely want to fall off or the kiddos will want to pull them off. You can get little clips to clip them to the sleeves of the coat or you could try safety pinning them to the coat sleeves or a short piece of ribbon or string and then the coat.

Scarves are nice for plugging up the gap between the coat and your neck. If you don't want to buy scarves you could get a length of fleece and cut scarves from that, all you need is a long not too wide length of fleece. Just make sure it's long enough to tie easily.

The hats and mittens are a must whether you're going to play in the snow or not. The wind can cause frostbite pretty quickly.
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#13 of 21 Old 09-30-2009, 09:00 PM
 
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I only skimmed the thread, so I apologize if this has already been mentioned, but odds are that you will want warner clothes than somebody who is native to the climate and used to winter weather.

I lived in Saskatoon (think way further north than North Dakota) for awhile and got used to -35 C in the winter... at which point I thought that -10 C was practically balmy.

Last year though, we spent the winter in Seattle, and then we were in San Diego for two months before returning to Canada. And let me tell you, we whined a lot about how cold it was here when we returned. but only because we just weren't used to it anymore.

Two weeks in Las Vegas one summer also had me complaining that September in Canada was inhumanly cold!

Years ago a friend of mine went to a conference in Mexico with a girl from equilateral Africa, and again, she was freezing in Mexico in the summer because she just wasn't used to the frigid Mexican climate.

One thing you might try is posting a Wanted Ad on craigslist in the area where your SIL lives.

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#14 of 21 Old 09-30-2009, 09:31 PM
 
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OK I live in cold weather (sub zero and windy most of the winter, when it does start to warm up it is wet and fridgid and still freaking windy) and am pretty low key on winter gear. Likely, regardless of how they are dressed your kids will not want to spend much time outside if it is super cold (snow does not always equal super cold. ) we do not allow outside play unless it is above 10 degrees real temp and above -5 windchill. it would suck anyway. I am assuming you are talking about a little sledding, snow men and snow angles, maybe a snow ball fight or two. then inside for hot chocolate.

So for starters, dress in layers. Maybe a set of cotton long johns (available for cheap at discount stores.) jeans or lined athletic pants or sweats and a tshirt and a hoodie over that. long johns will also help at night. you may want tp pick up several pairs of these. my kids have some more technical ones that their dad dropped a load on but they are generally too hot in these.

Get them a decent coat (seriously most of my kids coats come from Old Navy, nothing fancy. right now they have really nice ones but if you are only going to be outside for a bit no need to drop a bundle on it) but make sure you get one with a nice water resistant shell. Also get some snow pants. they are cheap. no need to get super nice ones. get the $15 ones at k-mart. they will do fine.

hat....double layer fleece should be good. make sure it comes down low and covers their ears.

gloves - I would get a cheap pair of cotton gloves (or if they have a nicer thin pair of gloves that will work) or even fingerless gloves. then a pair of puffy waterproof gloves. look for the word thinsulate. I think your kids would likely loose their minds in mittens. you cannot do anything in them and I don't think they really offer much advantage in the day to day stuff. trekking in the moutains, staying out for hours in sub zero temps yes but for playing in the snow, not really.

scarf. get a nice wide scarf, fleece works best. wrap it up every which way. tie it up tight.

boots. get them some snow boots. my kids snow boots usually come from k-mart or target or whoever happens to have their size for cheap. again if you are just playing in the snow a little while they will suffice.

socks, we just wear regular sports socks. crew style. no fuss no muss. whatever socks you get only wear one pair and make sure they are not too tight. bring lots. that way if they get wet you can change out of them immidiately. BUT wear socks all the time and bring slippers. also bring a light weight hat to wear around the house. maybe a light vest too. this is where the fingerless gloves will come in handy. for me keeping warm inside is a bigger challenge than keeping warm outside.

check your kids regularly when they are playing outside. make sure anything ner them is dry and warm. that they do not have much exposed skin and that they feel good. before they start complainging bring them in and enjoy getting warmed up. lay the wet stuff near the heater vents and let the dry well before putting htem back on.

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#15 of 21 Old 09-30-2009, 11:12 PM
 
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For a long weekend, you sil should be able to borrow some of what you need from friends/family/neighbors.

Also note that kids love to play with snow indoors too. Scoop it into the bathtub or a sink and give them spoons, cups etc. Last winter I gave DD some colored water (food coloring) a medicine dropper and a sink full of snow on a day that it wasn't conducive to being outdoors. She played until every drop melted.

Also as previous posters mentioned the gloves and mittens have to be waterproof or they are useless after the first handful of snow.
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#16 of 21 Old 09-30-2009, 11:36 PM
 
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Speaking as a Northern Ontarioan (not a real word I know)....Warm, water-proof boots are a must!! (Rubber boots wont cut it...I speak from experience! ) A warm, water-proof coat (the ones with the removable linings are great!). Snow pants. Warm, water-proof mitts (a couple pairs). Long pants and long sleeved shirts/fleece under a winter coat and snow pants will be nice and toasty. A scarf or face mask is also great to keep those rosy cheeks warm and don't forget a nice warm hat (even if the jacket has a hood)

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#17 of 21 Old 09-30-2009, 11:41 PM
 
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We use Babylegs or other legwarmers as a way to add warmth to the extremities.

I also think vests are nice for busy kids who are running around playing and getting to warm for coats.

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#18 of 21 Old 10-01-2009, 12:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you guys so much -- great ideas for doing this on the cheap! Now if only I could post an ad on Craigslist for the plane tickets.

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#19 of 21 Old 10-01-2009, 12:28 PM
 
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Just emphasizing a little:

1. Layer, layer, layer - start with warm thermal long underwear. Layer with a turtleneck and a wool sweater and wool pants. We just often add another sweater (or 2, depending on how far below freezing it is!) on top, and then a waterproof/windproof shell jacket is all we need to keep warm and dry. For years I got by without a parka while living in some fairly extreme winter weather, using this layering system. I wasn't rolling around in the snow though, LOL!

2. Keep the extremities warm - hats, mittens, warm socks and waterproof boots. These mittens are great for toddlers because they have a longer bit for the wrist and sleeve. Snow is less likely to get inside and the kids are less likely to shake them off/lose them.

3. I would take a couple of extra hats, scarves and mittens because they are likely to get lost. I think you can manage with one set of snowsuits each, if you have a dryer.

Have a great time in the snow!
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#20 of 21 Old 10-01-2009, 12:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post

2. Keep the extremities warm - hats, mittens, warm socks and waterproof boots. These mittens are great for toddlers because they have a longer bit for the wrist and sleeve. Snow is less likely to get inside and the kids are less likely to shake them off/lose them.
Oh. My. Goodness. I totally wish I would have had these when DS was toddling... I might even see if I can get some in his size now (he's 4). Great idea - nobody likes snow/ice leaking into their mitts. And it always takes a long time for hands to warm up from the cold too.
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#21 of 21 Old 10-01-2009, 02:06 PM
 
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It is actually probably easier (and cheaper) to just get either ski jackets and pants or one piece snowsuits/skisuits, instead of dealing with how to layer everything.

Definitely a couple pairs of gloves/mittens, a couple hats, sweaters, scarf or neck wrap, warm socks and snow boots. You can get away with fleece headbands if it isn't too hot, to cover your ears up and your forehead. Same thing with earmuffs.

And, don't forget SUNGLASSES!!! The sun and glare off the snow is really bad, and do damage to your retinas. Also SUNSCREEN, for the same reason. Don't forget, if you are going to the snow, you are going to higher altitude so the sun is stronger there. (I want to suspect you'll be going to Lake Tahoe.....am I right??)

The adults will be fine with jackets, gloves, hat, boots.........but since the kids will be playing in the snow, and they tend to get snow EVERYWHERE and get soaking wet, they will need the full Monty as far as snow dressing. In my opinion, for young kids, one-piece snowsuits are better than a jacket and pants-----they'll be rolling around in the snow and playing, and the snow will get up under the jacket and down the pants, and they get cold and will be soaking wet when you get them in.
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