The Joy of Winter Exploring (or “Layers, layers!”)

Given our quick switch to cold temperatures and snow last Friday, we thought it’d be a good time to revisit  winter wear.  First and foremost we want to recognize the awesome efforts of parents and guardians last week to ensure your children were dressed properly to enjoy the wonderful Winter-esque day!  It’s because of your forethought and preparation that we were able to maximize our fun and learning.

At Forest School, we spend the majority of the day outside and there’s a saying in the outdoor world that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear.  As our days become colder, we live by one simple rule – stay warm and dry.  And while we do a lot to cut the chill – fires, hand and toe warmers, heated classroom, tea/hot drinks, keeping active – the best defense is our clothing.

Layers is the name of the game and we want to choose clothing that wicks moisture, dries fast, insulates our bodies and is waterproof and breathable. The 3 Basic Layers:

The base layer the layer next to your skin.  Avoid cotton – synthetic and merino wool fabrics work best. These fabrics wick moisture away from your skin to your outer layers so it can evaporate.  They also dry quickly. When it’s really cold, it’s common to wear 2 base layers: a lightweight or middle weight layer, then a thicker heavyweight layer.

The middle layer – keeps you warm! Fleece or microfleece shirts/pants, and jacket (a goose down jacket or similar).
The outer layer – the “shell”.  This is your water- and windproof layer and is breathable. Think Gore-Tex, or other polyurethane-coated fabrics with vents (core/underarm)  that help release heat. Remember snow pants as well!

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Now for the rest of our body:

Hats: “If your feet are cold, put on a hat”.  Like our parents always told us, we lose a significant amount of body heat through the top of our head.  It’s imperative that this is a warm toque, not one with holes like crochet.

Neck Warmers: Often overlooked, but integral to keeping cheeks and noses warm! Please don’t forget this one! (Or substitute a balaclava.)

Gloves and mittens: A must have and extras in case they get wet.

Goggles and glasses: It is windy at Bygone Day’s and these offer both protection from the from sun and wind. With kids we’ve found goggles to be a great choice.

Socks: Wear a thin layer next to your skin and a second layer over it, both made of merino wool or a synthetic fabric. Ensure that boots are not too tight – they won’t keep feet warm. Extras are essential.

Boots: Warm winter boots that are waterproof and insulating are essential.  Back up inserts (or Bama Socks) are suggested as well!

Some of these can be costly – we like to visit our local thrift stores and you’d be surprised at the quality gear you can pick-up there!

Remember, we need to stay well hydrated, too, so don’t forget a water bottle.  Hot lunches like soups, or hot drinks like tea or hot chocolate can make a big difference, too.

Our goal is to have fun and learn, and ultimately we can’t if we’re cold.  Let us know if you need any tips or check out our gear list here.


The Forest School Team

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