Author Topic: Quality Winter Wear - Gloves, Hats, Boots, etc.  (Read 494 times)

dcozad999

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Quality Winter Wear - Gloves, Hats, Boots, etc.
« on: December 06, 2018, 06:44:25 AM »
I know a lot of you are outdoor enthusiasts so was wondering what your recommendations are for winter outerwear.

I'm taking the family up to Minnesota for the holidays to visit family (children are 2 and 7) and show them what real snow is (hopefully). There will be sledding, maybe skiing, but for the most part we will be spending a lot of time outdoors in the cold.  We live in Kansas, so it does get cold, but doesn't snow that often. Neither have been sledding yet.  So we have gotten by with cheap gloves and cheap winter coats over the years.

I have a very warm North Face parka that I researched thoroughly and purchased 10 years ago when I used to have to walk 3/4 of a mile from the parking lot to my office.  It isn't used very often now, but is still as good as new. I also assume (and correct me if I'm wrong) that stocking caps/beanies are pretty much interchangeable.

So what I'm really looking for are coats for the kids, and maybe wife, and then quality gloves for the four of us.  Price is important, but not the end all.
Also, are scarves necessary? And are cheap winter boots good enough for the kids?
What are the brands/specifications I should look for?

Thanks for the help.


Dave1442397

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Re: Quality Winter Wear - Gloves, Hats, Boots, etc.
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2018, 07:12:06 AM »
We just bought Head winter gloves at Costco. I think they're great for the price ($12-14), and my daughter likes them.

For kid outerwear, they might prefer a snowsuit, or snow bibs and a jacket. The snowsuits are nice for sledding, as snow doesn't get it at the waistline. We've picked up all that stuff dirt cheap at outlet stores like Sierra Trading Post over the years. I bought Kamik snow boots for $25-30 at a local shoe warehouse, but Target, Walmart etc all sell snow boots that will do just fine.

I haven't used a scarf in years. I have various fleece tops that zip up at the neck, and it's easy to let some air in as you warm up.

For adult wear, I prefer layers to bulky items. A base layer, shirt, fleece top, and then a jacket works for me. I have a nice pair of gloves that come with an inner fleece five-finger glove, and an outer (removable) mitten. They keep my hands warm down to single digit temps. I also like a fleece balaclava once the temps (or wind chill) goes into single digits and below.

mountain mustache

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Re: Quality Winter Wear - Gloves, Hats, Boots, etc.
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2018, 07:32:27 AM »
Sierra Trading Post is the place to look. If the kids are doing sledding/skiing, waterproof and insulated is important. Nothing sucks more than wet snow seeping into your pants and making you perma cold the rest of the day. I really like Outdoor Research as a brand, they are generally lower priced than brands like Patagonia, and they make really high quality gear. For kids clothing, I'm not sure who makes good gear outside of Patagonia, but I'm sure there are lots of options out there if you look around.  I would think a one piece snow suit for the 2 year old, would just make life simpler, and insulated mittens and a beanie. For your old kid, a normal ski coat (waterproof!) would work fine, and for your wife again there are some really nice Outdoor Research, Mountain Hardwear and Obermyer coats on Sierra Trading Post.

Kahooli

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Re: Quality Winter Wear - Gloves, Hats, Boots, etc.
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2018, 08:08:36 AM »
Dress them in layers, not one puffy coat.
1 Fleeced poly base layer (can get 'cheap' on amazon for $10, duofold or similar), same stuff for upper and lower body I've also seen cheap stuff like this a Kohls in the clearance area for $3
2 poly fleece or burly knit wool sweater,
3 waterproof windproof shell. generally lightly or not insulated.

If you're going to be outside and active you don't need huge thick gear. As long as they are dry and air is not infiltrating against the skin they will stay comfortable.

One thing to note on brands - the brand doesn't always use the same quality on all their products. Mountain Hardwear - I have some amazing gear from them. Ultralight down, one of the best rain shells I've ever had, I think even a pair of socks. Not all of the stuff that they slap their name on is like this. I've seen "Mountain Hardwear" on some really generic crappy things at the Columbia outlet. As with everything - evaluate the product in your hands. Look at the stitching and material quality.

Sierra trading post -
Great place to get stuff, but it's hard to really know what you are getting unless you can hold it and inspect it. I hate having to return things. That said, I bought two granite gear packs from them for 90% off retail (that I had previously tried on in a local outfitter)


elaine amj

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Re: Quality Winter Wear - Gloves, Hats, Boots, etc.
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2018, 08:40:38 AM »
If its just one trip, do u have friends/family in Minnessota who can lend you winter gear? You might be able to easily borrow a waterproof winter jacket, snowpants, insulated waterproof boots, and waterproof gloves for each of you (one piece for the little one is easier). Most people have extras kicking around.

If your gear isn't up to snuff, adding more layers underneath can often make it acceptable :)

Another cheap trick for snowpants I used when I played in the snow was to wear leggings, then whatever warm pants I had (used jeans a couple of times), then waterproof-ish nylon athletic pants on top. I'd still like proper snowpants, but we have gotten away with the above cheapskate combo for the past few years.

For hats, look for something that will stay on well (I've had several that like to slide off my head).

I'd suggest spending the money on nice scarves (u should be able to use them at home?). Something warm that is big enough to wrap around your faces well (then again, DH uses crappy thin small fleece scarves and is happy with it knotted at his neck - brrrr). I personally like my silk and cashmere scarves (see - I do splurge haha) but those are super pricey for one-time use. Basic polar fleece scarves should do the trick.

For inner layers, my preference is 2 base layers doubled up. I get mine from Uniqlo and just bought some from Costco. Under $10 each and as warm as wearing a heavy sweater. Add one more warm wool sweater on top, and u will be so warm u will be begging to pull off layers indoors.  And easily something u can wear at home in the winter (we love layering them under short sleeve tees).



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Free Spirit

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Re: Quality Winter Wear - Gloves, Hats, Boots, etc.
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2018, 09:03:10 AM »
Great tips already but I want to stress the importance of good non cotton socks, especially if you and your kids will be spending a lot of time doing activities in the snow. My personal favorite are from Merrell but I have a few from Colombia that are comfortable too. If you can find sock liners to pair with 'em, even better. DON'T NEGLECT YOUR FEET! :)

dcozad999

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Re: Quality Winter Wear - Gloves, Hats, Boots, etc.
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2018, 09:41:22 AM »
Thanks for all of the recommendations. Looks like I can start at Costco. I have a lot of family up there so I'll reach out and see if they have anything stored away. Or perhaps I can ask my cousin to hit some thrift stores for me and see what she finds. My wife can probably borrow a coat, and we have fleeces. I'd imagine someone up there probably has a one piece for the 2 year-old.

I've never done the modern layering thing. We just put on a bunch of shirts and 2 pairs of sweat pants and socks when I was a kid. So I believe my son's current winter coat is waterproof (I'll check). And I think he still has a fleece that fits him. So if I get him a thin base layer he should be good up top right? And then a legging base layer with semi-water proof athletic pants would be good?

So water resistance/proof athletic pants will be sufficient as opposed to real snow pants?  That would be ideal. The second the wife and I get home, the jeans/slacks come off and athletic pants go on. So if we have to buy a new waterproofy pair for each of us, I've got no problem with that. They will be well used. And athletic pants is pretty much all my son wears. He hates jeans.

So I may be able to just get away with buying base layers, gloves, and socks.

@elaine amj - I actually have a cashmere scarf that my sister brought me back from London several years ago. It actually makes my neck sweat after awhile. Unbelievable how something so thin can be so warm.

south of 61

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Re: Quality Winter Wear - Gloves, Hats, Boots, etc.
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2018, 10:24:26 AM »
As a mom from the great white north - I REALLY recommend good boots for your kids. Kids get cold feet. Kids with cold feet are miserable. Miserable enough to ruin your vacation!

I would get boots for your kids when you arrive - ask your relatives to try to pick something up off a local mom's facebook group of something similar. Kids grow out of boots well before they are worn out - so you can get some great deals. And when you're done you can likely sell them for the same price as you buy them for :)

Not sure if they're in the US but I really recommend baffin boots if you can find them.

Enjoy your winter-wonderland vacation!

Lady SA

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Re: Quality Winter Wear - Gloves, Hats, Boots, etc.
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2018, 11:49:43 AM »
Yeah, for a single-time trip, I'd enlist your relatives to keep an eye out at goodwill to pick up most of the big stuff, especially snowpants and maybe even boots. Sounds like if you buy gear it wouldn't be used much in Kansas, and kids grow out of stuff so quickly that they would likely never use the coat/snowpants you buy them again.

Wool socks and wool hats are great. They keep you warm even if they get wet/damp (whether from snow or sweat). Light wool under layers are great too, but you aren't likely to find those at goodwill, those are hot commodities.
Get good, waterproof boots. This is even more important than having a good jacket, imo. A jacket wont get soaked under normal circumstances, but boots will. Boots with a wool liner are good at insulating your feet as well. You can add thicker wool socks to "fill out" a boot that is a bit too big for kid feet. I would wear up to 3 layers of socks in my second-hand boots when I was a kid, which was fine because I was mostly crawling around on my hands and feet with my snow projects (so you don't need perfectly fitting boots, bigger is perfectly fine)
People already covered the snowpants thing. Adults probably wont need heavy duty snowpants and could get by with water resistant/water proof wind pants + layers in a pinch. Kids will want to crawl around in the snow though, so you'll want real snowpants for them. When I was a kid I had the overalls type, and wore a jacket over top. Make sure to put the snowpant cuff over top of the boot and "seal in" the boot opening, otherwise you will get snow over top of your boot and it will melt inside your boot.
A good insulated jacket is all you need, and the kids jacket should again be water resistant/water proof. You can add more layers underneath as needed.
Then for the warm accessories - a hat that is warm and covers the ears completely is required (ears are very easily frostbitten), as are mittens. Waterproof mittens for sure, for snowmen and snowball fights and such. you'll want these insulated as well, because hands are the first extremity that your body pulls blood from in the cold and your hands and feet are going to be the first to get numb and miserable. Having them *wet* and cold and miserable is even worse. Mittens are going to be warmer because your fingers can "share" the heat you generate. Gloves with separate fingers get much, much colder, even with high quality gloves. Its just the nature of how your body tries to conserve heat, by sacrificing the extremities.
For a scarf, I would say it is pretty necessary if you are spending most of your time outside. You need something to protect your neck/chin/cheeks/nose from the frigid wind and cold. My mom would make a simple tube of doubled-up polarfleece fabric to wear, along with a bit of a "bib" in front to help keep my chest a bit warmer. These were nice because it was cheap, and they didn't get in the way or fall off, and were warm. You can duck your chin and lower face into it to hide from the wind as you need. Maybe that's something easy you and your wife could DIY.

edit: a trick my mom used to protect our faces for outside was slather on a huge thick goop of vasaline on our cheeks. Windburn is a real concern in the winter, so having this barrier helped a lot. The trick is it needs to be very thick -- vasaline can freeze, and if it freezes to your face the skin can be injured. With a thick layer, only the top "crust" will freeze and leave the rest of the goop to protect the skin underneath.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2018, 12:01:47 PM by Lady SA »

OtherJen

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Re: Quality Winter Wear - Gloves, Hats, Boots, etc.
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2018, 06:07:51 PM »
Costco wool blend socks are great and not so heavy that you wouldn't be able to use them after your trip. I also have several of their thermal shirts because they're lightweight and great to layer under sweaters. Fleece-lined tights are my favorite layering option under pants.

I went for a hike in the woods yesterday and was toasty warm with a pair of fleece tights under jeans, wool socks, sturdy boots, a Columbia parka (JC Penney clearance), wool hat, and fleece gloves. If your ears are covered and hands and feet stay dry, you'll be much more comfortable.

elaine amj

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Re: Quality Winter Wear - Gloves, Hats, Boots, etc.
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2018, 10:43:02 PM »


Thanks for all of the recommendations. Looks like I can start at Costco. I have a lot of family up there so I'll reach out and see if they have anything stored away. Or perhaps I can ask my cousin to hit some thrift stores for me and see what she finds. My wife can probably borrow a coat, and we have fleeces. I'd imagine someone up there probably has a one piece for the 2 year-old.

I've never done the modern layering thing. We just put on a bunch of shirts and 2 pairs of sweat pants and socks when I was a kid. So I believe my son's current winter coat is waterproof (I'll check). And I think he still has a fleece that fits him. So if I get him a thin base layer he should be good up top right? And then a legging base layer with semi-water proof athletic pants would be good?

So water resistance/proof athletic pants will be sufficient as opposed to real snow pants?  That would be ideal. The second the wife and I get home, the jeans/slacks come off and athletic pants go on. So if we have to buy a new waterproofy pair for each of us, I've got no problem with that. They will be well used. And athletic pants is pretty much all my son wears. He hates jeans.

So I may be able to just get away with buying base layers, gloves, and socks.

@elaine amj - I actually have a cashmere scarf that my sister brought me back from London several years ago. It actually makes my neck sweat after awhile. Unbelievable how something so thin can be so warm.

Personally for pants, I would do a baselayer, fleece pants, then the waterproof athletic pants. Unless the athletic pants are lined. Then again, I tend to veer on the side of an extra cautionary layer.

I'd say if you have lots of family, it's highly likely that they will be able to source coats, gloves, and boots for your family. I usually have enough extras laying around to outfit 2-3 people with few problems.

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