Get outside and have fun with the whole family this winter. We found the best kids’ snow gear to keep the little ones cozy.
Honestly, there are some mornings I look outside and think, “Maybe we should just stay inside today.” It would be so much easier. But, inevitably, after a few minutes, my adventurous self gets the best of me, and we’re headed out the door all bundled up and ready to brave the elements.
No matter how long it takes to get ready, I never regret it once we’re outside. Because kids and babies are just like us — or are we just like them? — they love to be out in the fresh air.
After a few years of testing, this is our favorite winter gear for kids. Scroll through to see all of our recommended buys, or jump to the section you’re looking for:
Toddlers’ Snowsuits & Kids’ Snow Pants
Reima makes some amazing winter gear that lasts. If you’re looking for a toddler snowsuit that will go the long haul (get handed down through an entire neighborhood of kids), check out the brand’s award-winning Stavanger ($180).
It’s built for all types of winter weather, comes with an awesome faux fur-lined hood, and is easy to put on and take off. And for those who are into style, it has a timeless design.
Columbia has a great feature on much of its outdoor kidswear called “Outgrown.” When your little grows and the garment legs become too short, all you have to do is undo the bottom stitching, and voila — you have another season of playing!
These Adventure bibs ($49-82) are super durable. And our kiddo loves how comfortable they are. On warmer winter days, our 3-year-old loves to rock a base layer underneath his bibs with no jacket over top.
These snowsuits are so much fun. For those whose kids who love to dress up but haven’t found a way to do it in the wintertime, look no further.
WeeDo Funwear snowsuits (from $254) have all kinds of creatures and animals to choose from, and they’re not just fun-looking, they’re very cozy, warm, and extra comfortable. Our boys won’t take theirs off inside until they’re literally sweating.
Kids’ Winter Jackets
This versatile two-for-one jacket has everything your little one needs to tackle the long winter days no matter how cold or warm it is outside. For those ultra-cold days, the full jacket creates a bombproof barrier with its zip-in fleece and waterproof outer shell ($130).
And for when the sun comes out and it gets too hot, it’s super easy to either wear it as just a fleece or just a shell. We see this option as getting two jackets for the price of one!
If you’re looking for the best kids’ down jacket that can pull out all the stops, you’ve found it. Stio’s kids’ hometown down jacket ($169) is perfect for skiing, sledding, building snowmen, and everything in between.
This jacket has made it through two seasons with our 4-year-old and is about to be passed down to our youngest son — and it’s still looking good as new. We especially appreciate the full array of features including the helmet-compatible hood and inside stash pocket.
This ski-ready jacket ($60) is the perfect solution for big days on the mountain or the sledding hill. We love the inner handcuffs for extra warmth around the wrists and the longer backside for extra coverage when sledding down the hill or when wiping out on the skis. Our most liked feature, however, is the fact that it’s made out of rPET material, which comes from 100% recycled bottles.
If you’re looking for the perfect fleece jacket for kids, this one ($80) is it. Obermeyer is no stranger to creating high-quality, good-looking winter gear, and it shows. The elastic wrist cuffs keep cold wind out. And the jersey cotton lining feels great next to the skin.
Our parent testers love that it washes up easily. And the kiddos rave about the warm comfort and adorable ears.
Base Layers for Kids
As far as base layers go, we only dress our kids in wool or polypro. It keeps them warm from the inside out, and we don’t have to wash it as much!
icebreaker 260 Merino Tech long Sleeve Half Zip & Leggings
We love and live in our icebreaker wool throughout the year. So when our 3-year-old started fitting into the brand’s base layers, we quickly got him our favorite top and bottom set. The 260 Tech Half Zip ($65) coupled with the 260 leggings ($60) are great for those really cold and crisp days where you’re going to be out for an extended period of time.
This combo keeps him warm and cozy on the coldest of winter days.
These super-soft, USA-made merino wool thermals ($74) are equally great for long days outside or cozy nights at home. Plus, you can feel good knowing the wool is sourced from a group of ranches in New Zealand and Australia that meet strict animal welfare and responsible ranching standards.
If your child isn’t into wool, then Capilene is another great option. We love the midweight Capilene from Patagonia ($29). It’s made from 100% recycled polyester, is lightweight, and very comfortable for the most active kids. And the henley top gets extra style points.
This family-owned company based in Jackson, Wyo., is all about getting kids exploring and loving the outdoors with the help of U.S.-made merino wool base layers. We have a set ($109) for each of our kids, and they’re their most played-in fall and winter base layers yet.
The long torso, sleeves, and legs keep the wrists, ankles, and bum extra warm and limit the need to constantly pull down their shirts. Our boys love them so much, when we bring them out, they know it’s going to be a fun outdoor adventure day.
This suit ($79) is perfect for daily walks, trips to the park, and even great to put on over the pajamas if your house is cold in the morning. The cozy fleece is both breathable and warm, making it an ideal option for a midlayer on super-cold days. And the ears, tail, and pocket for a pacifier make this little piece a parent favorite as well.
For days where the weather is variable and we know our little one will want to be on the move, we put him in his Disana boiled merino wool romper ($99).
This German-made, organic, ultra-durable, soft, pliable suit lets your active toddler move easier, as it doesn’t have any extra loft to get in their way. The big buttons and the ability to cover the hands and feet make for a very parent-friendly design.
This made-in-the-USA suit ($100) is simple in design yet super functional and very warm. The 700-fill down is encased in a ripstop, water-repellent fabric coupled with elastic cuffs and a waist make this a dream cold-weather suit for both parent and child.
We tested it out on a 20-degree (Fahrenheit) ski back to a hut with our 2-year-old in the Chariot. The fact that he fell asleep for the whole ride out there showed us that he was plenty cozy and warm enough in this awesome little suit.
If we’re headed to the coast or out on a cold, wet hike, we always throw this suit ($65) on top of our boys’ layers. It keeps them dry and is breathable, durable, and ultra-lightweight. Its loose fit makes it easy for little toddlers and kids to run around.
And the reinforced knees and ripstop nylon fabric hold up to nonstop rough and dirty playing. The cuffs are easy to roll up, and the hood stays on even in the gustiest of winds.
Our 3-year-old calls it his super suit! As a parent, I especially love how packable it is in case they want to take it off in the middle of a play session.
My son loves vests, especially puffy vests. This classic-looking and ultra-functional one from Patagonia ($99) is made from 100% recycled materials. Its snap buttons are great for easy on and off. And the deep well pockets are perfect for warming up tiny hands or for storing little found treasures.
When you want your kiddo to both look and feel ultra-cozy, this high-pile, high-collar fleece ($35) from Columbia is just the ticket. Not only will it keep them warm, but it will also make you want to cuddle up with them every chance you get. This fleece, while great on its own, is also a favorite of ours for throwing under a shell for those cold, ultra-rainy days.
These soft tube leggings ($59) are made out of 100% merino wool. We love them for their adaptability, as they can be worn on their own, as a midlayer, or even as a top layer. For long days where we’ll be indoors and out, or in variable but cold weather, I always start my two boys out in these over their base layers.
If they get too hot, they’re easy to pull off, and if they need an extra layer, shell pants are easy to throw over the top. And the ability to roll up the cuffs makes it so that they can grow for up to 2 years with your kid. And that makes the price tag much easier to manage.
Kids’ Mittens & Gloves
When it comes to mittens, Gordini knows what it’s doing. The brand makes amazing gloves and mittens for all members of the family, but we were more impressed with its thumbless mitten ($25). Other companies have done it, but these are the best we’ve seen.
The outer material is grippy enough to hold onto things, so our one-year-old doesn’t even notice or care about the missing digit. Instead, both parent and child are blessed with easy on and off, and no crying over trying to put the thumb in the thumb hole!
At the end of last winter, our 2-and-a-half-year-old started revolting against mittens. He couldn’t climb up the ladder at the playground, couldn’t hold on to his sled well, and couldn’t grip sticks like he wanted to.
This year, we got him these Omni-Heat fleece gloves from Columbia ($25), and he couldn’t be happier. For mild and dry weather, these have been his everyday go-to gloves.
Hestra has been making gloves and mittens since 1936. So you could say the brand knows a thing or two about keeping fingers warm.
The My First Mittens ($50) are cozy and very easy to get on and off. The wool knit cuff instead of a zippered or Velcroed cuff makes it easy for our 3-year-old to take them on and off himself.
For mild winter days that are still chilly enough to need some protection on little hands, I always reach for our 7AM Mittens ($15). These are lightweight, extremely easy to put on and take off tiny hands, and don’t have a ton of bulk.
We’ve seen the pickiest toddler be OK with having these on for an entire outdoor play session. If your little one throws a fit at every glove or mitten you try to put on them, we suggest you try these before throwing in the towel. And at $15, they’re definitely worth a shot.
Winter Layering Basics for Kids
Does Your Baby Run Hot or Cold?
Some babies are naturally warmer, and some run on the cooler side. Ever since Max’s first day with us, he has been a little heater. And then I have friends with babies and tots who are always wrapped up in multiple layers, and they seem to be good with it.
Check on your baby’s temp by feeling their core every once in a while during your outdoor adventure time. If it seems cold to the touch, put another layer on; if it’s too hot, take a layer off. And if they’re not fussing and having a good time, then don’t mess with them!
How Much Are They Going to Be Moving Outside?
Your activity will greatly influence what you dress your little one in. Max just started to crawl, so when we go outside he is either carried in his backpack or pushed in his stroller. Hence, he is not working up a sweat when he heads outside. Tots who are walking are another story because they want to be able to move easily and without any extra bulk in their way.
Remember, It’s Easier to Take Off Layers.
So far, I am finding that putting on more layers when we’re already doing our thing outside is way more of a hassle than taking them off. Before we head out on our adventure, I put a few layers on him knowing that I can easily pull one off if he is hot and fussy.
Finding Kids’ Snow Gear on a Budget
We hear you: Kids’ clothes can be outrageously expensive. On the one hand, we want our baby to be comfortable on outside adventures. But, on the other hand, we still need a few bucks left in the bank for said winter adventure.
We’ve found a few strategies for gearing up for winter without breaking the bank. First, before you drop a ton of money on winter gear for your baby, tot, or kid, check out your local thrift stores and used gear stores. Ask your fellow parent friends if they have anything they want to get rid of. Having a go-to source for secondhand gear can be a real treasure.
Next, prioritize and think about how often you’ll really use something. We splurged on a couple of Patagonia and merino wool pieces knowing that Max would be in them for 5 months straight. We also hope we’ll have another one who can wear it next.
Most of all, just get out there. Whatever gear you end up choosing, your kid, your sanity, and your family memories will thank you for making the effort to get outside, even when the temperature drops and the snow flies.
Have favorite winter layers for your kid? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll check them out for future updates to this article.