Looking for a quick way to end a fun family adventure? Throw some wet, cold kids into the mix and you’ll be headed back home in a flash.
As much as it seems like a no-brainer, keeping kids (and adults for that matter) warm and dry is one of the biggest contributing factors to a successful family adventure.
So, how exactly do you go about doing that? Honestly, it’s all about the gear. No, you don’t have to spend a small fortune just to outfit your family, but you do have to be smart about what you buy. Though it’s tempting to just head to the nearest Wal-mart to save a few bucks, you’ll be much better in the long run if you head to an actual outdoors store, and get something that’s specifically made for what you’re doing. I’d recommend checking out someplace online like Cotswold where you can easily find something to fit any budget. Though it us true that if you pay more, you will get higher quality gear, there are options out there to fit every family, and every wallet.
Keeping your family warm and dry isn’t incredibly complicated, but it does take a little planning and following a system. Here’s what we do:
Layer 1: Baselayer
This layer is closest to the skin and will be one of the most important in regulating body temperature and moisture. This layer should be something that wicks and dries quickly. While we love merino wool (like this top for $55), we also know that it’s pricey, so polypropylene is a good alternative (this set has a top and bottom for $35). For baselayers, the one thing that you should always try to avoid is cotton. When it gets wet (like from sweat), it stays wet and will keep you COLD.
Layer 2 – Insulation
The next layer is all about keeping you warm. This is where you will really customize your clothing to how cold it will be. If it’s a mild winter or fall day, something like a lightweight fleece will work (like this one for $31). If you’re going to be braving sub-zero temps, then you’ll probably want to opt for something really warm like down (a pricier, warmer option at $153).
Layer 3: Waterproof
While the first two layers you wear will do a great job of keeping you dry, if you’re going to be around rain or snow at all, make sure you’ve got a good waterproof layer handy. For our winter adventures, we lean towards thicker material that is more durable (like this $119 North Face Shell). For warmer weather and as a good back-up when traveling or on the trail, we prefer lightweight packable jackets (like this one that’s only $27).
Note: Although we have not specifically used any of this gear, by reading the reviews and specifications of each piece, we feel goo using them as a good representation of something our family would actually buy.