Saturday, October 13, 2012

Winter clothing essentials for day hiking kids

Now that autumn is here, you’re probably dressing your day hiking children in jeans, jackets and other warm clothes. But more clothes alone won’t be enough once winter arrives. To ensure your children stay comfortable and safe from the elements, winter hiking requires some additional steps that summer (and even autumn!) often don’t require:
g Socks and boots should be weatherproof – Put kids in wool socks that will better wick moisture from their feet and ensure their boots are waterproof so snow and moisture can’t get inside them.
g Don’t forget accessories – Stocking caps, mittens and scarves all are needed, even on sunny days, as winter air largely is dry and holds warmth poorly.
g Dress in layers – The layer of cloth next to the skin ideally should be made of polypropylene, the middle layer of bulky fleece, and the outside layer of waterproof material; this will ensure children stay warm and dry. Getting wet can lower their body temperature, raising the risk of hypothermia.
g Stay preventative – Put on clothes before kids start shivering; on warmer days or in southern climes, put on rain gear before the drizzle starts. Once cold and wet, no amount of clothing can reverse that condition.
g Keep change of clothes in vehicles – Kids are kids, and some will find a way on a hike to get wet despite your best efforts. Dry clothes they can change into in a warm vehicle after the hike can make the drive home comfortable.

Read more about day hiking with children in my Hikes with Tykes guidebooks.