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Prevent Meltdowns With This Toddler-Approved Winter Gear

Photo: Paige Cody (Unsplash)

If you’re a parent, you know there is literally nothing worse than the full-scale screaming that ensues when your toddler loses her mittens in the middle of a blizzard, calling for you to dive head-first into a snowbank in an effort to curb the high-octave madness. Amiright?

That’s the reality of #ParentLife; it isn’t easy and it is often thankless. I think of this frequently when winter sets in and I’m bundling up our toddler for a day of snowman-making or sledding (or skiing, assuming this season goes well. TBD.) Wrestling her into copious layers of fleece and insulation often feels like an exercise in insanity.

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Where did your mittens go?

That boot goes on your left foot.

No, you can’t stash your peanut butter inside your pocket.

Why are you eating the dog’s food?  

Why didn’t you tell me you needed to pee before I put your snowsuit on?

That’s why I’ve grown to love proper outdoor gear. If it makes my life easier and her happy, it’s a win-win situation. In the spirit of simplifying parents’ lives around the country, here is the best toddler gear for winter playtime.

Godspeed, my parental compatriots.

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Patagonia is known for their eco-friendly efforts, and the Snow Pile kit is no exception. Both the jacket and bibs use polyester insulation that is comprised of 92% recycled materials. And, each item is Fair Trade Certified sewn. But, beyond the ethics, the Snow Pile combo keeps your kid warm. The snap-off hood uses a gusset underneath to cinch that sucker down on your kiddo’s head. And, both the jacket and bibs feature a “grow-fit” sleeves and legs: an additional two inches to accommodate toddler’s ever-sprouting limbs.

Columbia Fireside Sherpa Hybrid Jacket, $50
Graphic: Ana Luisa Suarez
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On uber cold days when you want a toasty midlayer for your child (or as a standalone item on moderate mornings), consider the Fireside. The plush fleece is oh-so-soft against kiddo’s skin, but the water-repellant polyester on the shoulders, arms, and chests sheds moisture. A 20-inch back hems doubles down to prevent snow from creeping up the jacket. Bonus: It’s seriously adorable.

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If you’re looking for a lot of warmth for a small price tag, snag yo’self a pair of the Toasty Toddler pants. The insulating polyester fleece is like a snuggly teddy bear against your child’s skin, and they pull double duty as a warm midlayer or standalone comfy pants around the house. They fit loose, so keep that in mind when ordering.

REI Co-Op Timber Mountain Mittens, $35
Graphic: Ana Luisa Suarez
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Finding mittens for a rambunctious toddler is hard, and I won’t lie and say that the Timber Mountain mitts are perfection (I really wish they had a string to run through the jacket sleeves, for example.) But, if you can convince your baby to keep their mittens on, these are about as warm and dry as you’ll find anywhere. Pro tip: Using the sizing guide online is tricky, so snag a pair in-store if possible.

KEEN Terradora Winter Waterproof Boots, $90
Graphic: Ana Luisa Suarez
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Guys, I think the sky opened up and showered a series of good fortunate and snowflakes on me because these boots are legit. These girl-specific boots use waterproof leather and synthetic insulation that claims to keep feet warm down to -25 degrees. We haven’t hit those temps just yet, but our daughter’s feet have been toasty warm all shoulder season. Plus, the high collar keeps snow out, so you can play outside just a bit longer.

VEER Cruiser Wagon, $600
Graphic: Ana Luisa Suarez
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The right gear encourages hours of playtime, but sometimes, toddler tantrums happen. If all else fails and your kiddo just isn’t having any fun with the snowballs, throw him in the Cruiser Wagon and run around the block at full speed. You can push it or pull it, and the burly front suspension combined with rugged knobby tires means you can navigate the slushiest of neighborhoods. Plus, little Bobby gets his own snack tray and two cup holders for full-scale enjoyment. If that isn’t a surefire way to enjoy a snow day, I don’t know what is.


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About the author

Heather Balogh Rochfort

Heather Balogh Rochfort is an outdoor expert and full-time freelance writer and author in the outdoor industry.