Top 5 Kids’ Clothing Layers for Cold Weather Hiking Adventures

Top 5 Kids' Clothing Layers for Cold Weather Hiking Adventures

Winter often elicits mixed emotions from adults, with some dreading the cold and others eagerly anticipating snowfall. But for kids, winter holds a special place in their hearts. It’s a season filled with magic, adventure, and the promise of endless fun. Hiking with kids in cold weather can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience, but ensuring their comfort and safety should be your top priority.

Mastering the art of layering to suit various weather conditions is crucial for all individuals regardless of age. But it’s even more significant when the goal is to ensure your kids can relish outdoor activities regardless of how chilly the weather may get. Dressing your little adventurers in the right layers is key to keeping them warm and protected during those frigid hikes.

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How to layer clothes for your kids for winter hikes

Layering is a fundamental technique for staying warm during cold-weather hikes. It involves wearing several clothing items, each with a specific purpose. The key is to trap heat while allowing moisture to escape, preventing your child from getting too sweaty and cold. Here’s a breakdown of the different layers your kids should wear for a successful cold-weather hiking adventure:

Base Layer

This layer is in direct contact with the skin, and its primary function is to wick moisture away from the skin and direct it to the surface of the fabric, allowing it to evaporate. If your base layer retains moisture, your kid will quickly feel cold when they slow down or take a break. Select a fabric weight based on the temperature and your expected activity level.

Opt for seamless or flat-seamed garments that won’t cause friction against your kid’s skin when worn with outer layers or a backpack. Aim for a snug fit that doesn’t feel too tight. Merino wool is our preferred choice, but if it’s not within your budget, synthetic layers are also a suitable alternative.

Mid Layer

This layer serves multiple functions, including providing insulation, retaining body heat for warmth, and effectively wicking moisture away. Opting for materials with a fuzzy, fleece-like texture is ideal because they offer insulation without the added bulk and possess excellent air permeability, allowing warm, moist air to escape easily. Gridded fleece and high-loft fleece are great choices for trapping warmth without the bulkiness.

Alternatively, you can consider lightweight, low-profile insulated options for the mid-layer, as they are lightweight, packable, and still offer ample warmth. Mid-layers need to have a comfortable fit, providing enough room to accommodate a base layer and allow freedom of movement, yet maintaining a somewhat snug fit. We have a preference for fleece in this regard.

Top Layer

The uppermost layer serves as a shield against the elements. Depending on the prevailing weather, you may need a layer that protects from the wind, repels rain, or accomplishes both.

This outer layer must maintain breathability, permitting moisture from your inner clothing layers to dissipate. Your outer attire should effortlessly accommodate your base and intermediate layers, without being overly roomy and risking heat loss. Moreover, it should afford you unrestricted movement. We prefer water-resistant materials for the younger adventurers, transitioning to waterproof options as they grow older and engage in activities in snowy or rainy conditions.


These come in handy, helping regulate heat loss and keeping out elements. They include; mittens, Hats (toques/beanies), Socks, Boots, and a Scarf (available in fleece or merino wool – sizes vary between the two, with merino wool being more form-fitting). Now that you are aware of the different clothing layers, let’s look at our 5 favorites for cold-weather hiking;

5. Carhartt Kid’s Acrylic Watch Hat

Material: Acrylic

Category: Extras

Weight: 2.4 Ounces

Price: $14.99

Carhartt Kid’s Acrylic Watch Hat provides cozy comfort for chilly days in the park or evenings spent by the campfire. Crafted from 100% acrylic material and featuring a stretchable rib knit, it ensures a comfortable fit for any child.

The front showcases a woven Carhartt® label, signifying a dedication to high-quality outdoor and hunting gear. The Carhartt Youth Acrylic Watch Hat is offered in a range of attractive colors, all made from a soft, flexible knit, maintaining the timeless design.


  • It is stretchable to ensure a comfortable fit
  • It is soft and cozy


  • Leaves likely to stick to the beanie

4. Arctix Kids Snowplow Gloves

Material: Polyester

Category: Extras

Weight: 5.29 Ounces

Price: $32

Arctix specializes in crafting budget-friendly, top-notch outerwear designed to withstand various winter activities. Among their impressive lineup, the Arctix Kids Snowplow Gloves stand out as premium choices.

These snug and warm gloves feature a cozy fleece lining, ribbed elastic cuffs for a secure fit, and grippy palms to prevent accidental slips or drops. In addition, they come with reflective piping for enhanced visibility during low-light conditions.


  • They are lightweight
  • They are comfortable


  • A bit pricey for kid’s gloves

3. Columbia Baby Boys’ Tiny Bear II Bunting

Material: Polyester

Category: Mid Layer

Weight: 4.8 Ounces

Price: $29.99

Your precious little one’s safety is paramount, and Columbia has the most adorable solution. Featuring charming fleece bear ears on the hood, you won’t be able to resist capturing every picture-perfect moment when your child dons this outfit.

This outfit is thoughtfully designed to keep your child cozy and content during those chilly winter days. The Tiny Bear II bunting is the perfect choice for on-the-go parents with active, nap-loving infants and toddlers. Crafted from incredibly soft and warm fleece, this bunting boasts an attached hood with adorable bear ears, fold-over hands, and foot quilting to keep delicate skin snug and toasty.

Plus, a convenient full-length asymmetrical zipper ensures easy dressing, undressing, and quick diaper changes. Watch your little ones beam with joy as they stay bundled up in this charming outfit. Columbia offers an array of colors and sizes, catering to newborns through toddler age.


  • Very comfortable
  • Has hoodie


  • Leaves likely to stick to the bunting

2. Columbia Boys’ Glennaker Rain Jacket

Material: Polyester and Nylon

Category: Top Layer

Weight: 4 Ounces

Price: $34.99

Ensure your young adventurer stays comfortably active with the Columbia Glennaker Rain Jacket. This essential garment is perfect for those rainy days, boasting waterproof nylon, elastic cuffs, and reflective elements for enhanced visibility in low-light conditions. The waterproof material and elastic cuffs work together to shield him from the elements while he explores his favorite outdoor haunts.

With its reflective accents, you can rest assured he’ll remain easily noticeable even in dimly lit surroundings. Outfit him in the Glennaker Rain Jacket, and wet weather won’t dampen his outdoor escapades.


  • It is waterproof
  • It is very comfortable


  • Doesn’t retain warmth

1. Helly-Hansen Kids Hh LIFA Merino Wool 2-Layer Thermal Baselayer Set

Material: 57% Merino Wool, 43% Polypropylene

Category: Base Layer

Weight: 9.59 Ounces

Prices: $75

Hailing from Norway, Helly Hansen has been a trusted name in crafting top-tier, professional-grade gear for over 140 years, dedicated to ensuring people can not only survive but thrive in challenging conditions. It all began in 1877 when sea captain Helly Juell Hansen devised innovative means of safeguarding individuals from the frigid Norwegian elements. Fast forward, Helly-Hensen is now a trusted global brand.

Their HH Lifa Merino Wool Set is one of the warmest baselayers available today, ideal for a wide range of cold-weather activities. This exceptional 2-in-1 baselayer seamlessly melds Merino wool with Lifa Stay Warm technology in a dual-layer construction. HH Lifa Merino encompasses all the remarkable perks of Merino wool fibers, enhanced by the distinctive attributes of technical Lifa fibers.


  • Very comfortable
  • Great at retaining heat


  • Merino is known not to be a sturdy material

Cold-weather hiking with your children can be a magical experience, filled with opportunities for exploration and discovery. By mastering the art of layering and paying attention to safety and comfort, you will ensure that your little explorers stay warm, cozy, and happy throughout your hiking adventures. So, bundle up your ki

ds in the right layers, grab your backpacks, and set out on an unforgettable journey into the winter wonderland of the great outdoors!

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