Tag Archives: gear

3 Essential Items for Enjoying The Outdoors In Less-Than-Perfect Weather

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We’ve always been what I would consider an outdoorsy family, but in the last year or so I’ve been making an effort to be more than fair-weather friends to the great outdoors.

There were so many little hinderances cropping up (choking wildfire smoke, and orchard spray to name two) that we couldn’t really afford to let crummy weather be among the things to keep us from getting our nature fix.  Especially when good weather vs. bad weather is really just a personal distinction.

In our house we’ve adopted the adage that there is no bad weather, only the wrong clothes!

Here are a few items I find make all the difference on those less-than-perfect days.

Thermal Base Layer

That’s code for long underwear, and they’ve come a long way since the trap-door, waffle-weave union suits your grandpa wore.  (Although, deep in my old-fashioned heart, I still love those, too!)

Depending on your climate you can go with light, mid, or heavy weight.  Here in North Central Washington I find that mid-weight is usually a good first layer.

We like these ones

Good Quality Wool Socks

I don’t know about you, but cold feet are the quickest way to ruin an outing for me.  Good quality wool socks are worth every penny.

And I’m not sure why, but I manage to keep track of them better than I do their white cotton multi-pack counterparts.  I’ve had some of my good wool socks for five or six years, which reduces initial sting of spending upwards of $10 for a pair of socks.

I’m a huge fan of Smartwool.  Aside from their overall good quality, they are one of the few outdoor companies that realize babies need warm gear too.

 

Water Proof Outer Layer

We don’t live on the rainy side of the Cascades, but a couple years ago we traveled to the coast in spring, and purchased simple rain gear for the kids.  It has since proven worth the extra purchase of separate rain gear from their usual winter gear.

Another good option if you live where there are four seasons is a three-in-one like this:

And I have to say I love this toddler rain gear we got as hand-me-downs from our great friends who are Alaska Fisher-folk, which means they know rain! (Hazel says thanks for the awesome rain gear,  Sena Sea!)

And as a bonus, here are some things you just realize you don’t want to live without, even on the nicest days! 

Good sturdy hiking boots

The right footwear means the difference between stopping to get yet another rock out of your kids tennis shoes and getting to camp before dark, with minimal whining.

Hi Tech is a good entry level hiking boot, that both of my older girls have worn comfortably.

I also love anything by keen for it’s ability to outlast most anything your kid can throw at it.  I have a pair that I bought used for my oldest kid, handed down to my second kid, and a friends kid, that my youngest kid just outgrew–that’s 5 kids in the course of 11 years–and they still have a ton of wear left in them!

River Shoes

When I was a kid the idea of river shoes seemed weak and pampered to me.  Why not just go bare-footed?  Well, my kids inherited their dad’s tender feet, and the heavier I get the more those river pebbles feel like Legos.   Again, with the Keens.  I run each pair through all three kids.

Sun Protection

I’ve never been able to get my kids to keep hats on, even winter hats when their ears are cold, but my friend’s kids wear some like these and they are adorable in them…and not sunburned!

And since it’s impossible to tame the inner esthetician, of course I have to add sunscreen to the list!

Well!  That post took me a while to write.  Time to get myself outside and away from the computer.  Grab some gear and come on out!