Keeping Kids Warm in the Winter with Base Layers

by Josée

Getting outside during the winter months can be a struggle with children. There’s the initial challenge of convincing everyone that it’ll be fun. Then there’s the act of wrestling on everyone’s winter gear while listening to the high-pitched screams of “I need heeeelp!” and “I don’t like it!”. Dear parents, the struggle is real and after all that hard work of getting outside, there’s the inevitable complaint of “I’m cold!”

Children can’t regulate their body temperature as well as adults; it’s a known fact. However, kids can play outside in cold weather for a very long time, for hours, if they’re dressed right.

“There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.”― Ranulph Fiennes

Getting dressed for playing outside in the winter starts with a good base layer. This is the secret for keeping kids happy, dry and warm for hours, yes hours, of outdoor play and adventure in the winter months.

Base layers are made of a material that stays dry, warm and sit close to the body like a second skin. The most commonly used materials for base layers are merino wool or polypropylene and each type of material has it’s advantages and disadvantages.

Polypropylene: Advantages and Disadvantages

AdvantagesDisadvantages
Great at keeping in body heat.Gets stinky.
Wicks moisture very effectively.Synthetic material.
Soft and form fitting.
Durable.
Lightweight.
Dries very quickly.
Machine washable.
Less expensive.

Merino Wool: Advantages and Disadvantages

AdvantagesDisadvantages
Great at keeping in body heat.Not as good at wicking moisture.
Soft and form fitting.Can feel itchy. (usually better after a few washes)
Lightweight.Takes more time to dry.
Naturally antibacterial. (not stinky)Less durable.
Natural material.More expensive.

Best Base Layer Material for Kids?

I love merino wool, but polypropylene is much more durable, affordable and better at wicking away moisture. I’ve noticed that my kids will wear through merino base layers quickly while polypropylene base layers can be passed down from child to child as they grow out of it. For these reasons, I recommend polypropylene base layers for keeping kids warm and comfortable while being active outdoors.

Stripes Gear Base Layers Review

Stripes Gear is a family owned and operated business in Invermere, British Columbia, Canada and they design fun, colourful and functional premium polypropylene base layers for the whole family, from toddler to adult. Their base layers are made in New Zealand where they are constructed with great care.

We’ve been field testing Stripes Gear base layers and here’s what we think. For starters, when my kids got their base layers they wore them for a week straight! My kids played in them, skied in them and hiked in them and they’ve been happy. After a week, I had to smuggle them away for a wash, mostly to freshen them up. I didn’t notice any bad smells, but they were getting full of dirt and food.

What we love about Stripes Gear Base Layers:

  • The material is super soft and comfortable (good for sensory sensitive children).
  • The fabric dries very fast (don’t put them in the dryer!).
  • The tops and pants are form fitting with lots of stretch.
  • The double knees are great for wear and tear.
  • The colours are plain awesome!

Click on the logo below and use BackwoodsMama at checkout to save 10% off your order.

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Disclaimer: Stripes Gear sent me products for the purpose of this review; however all thoughts and opinions are my own. Also, this page contains Stripes Gear affiliate links and I may earn a small commission from your purchases made through them. By purchasing items through these links you will be supporting my work in empowering families to be active outdoors together. Thank you!

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1 comment

Pam M. January 17, 2019 - 3:04 pm

Hi Josée,
I know this post is a year old, but I love what you wrote about layering and all the suggestions for gear. I’m including a link to it in an email to parents in my preschool classroom. We need all the layers here in Minnesota this time of year! Thanks for all you do for families and getting kids outside!!

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