We so loved this post from our friend, Tara Newman, of FamilySportLife that we asked if we could share it with our readers.  If fits in perfectly with our Kids-In-Tow series and why reinvent the wheel, so to speak. Enjoy and be sure to check out Tara’s blog……

by Tara Newman on December 1, 2013

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This weekend we headed up to Mohonk Mountain in New Paltz, New York for our annual tradition of cutting down a Christmas tree.  We go hiking for a few hours, grab a bite to eat in town, I buy a hat at the Groovey Blueberry and then we head over to Hurd’s Family Farm.  The A Team love this mini adventure.  It is their favorite healthy family tradition.  Each year the weather fluctuates greatly.  Some years we are  wearing sweatshirts but this year was the coldest by far!  We bundled up and had a great time.  In my opinion, having good gear always makes or breaks the experience.Here are some of my family’s “go to” cold weather items for our kids.  You will also find some pictures of our adventure at the bottom of the post.

1. Little A’s jacket is L.L. Bean’s Girls Katahdin Parka which I purchased last year.  With the more expensive gear I always size up providing two years worth of use.  It takes the sting out of the cost.  Additionally, I purchased this jacket on sale.  If you are patient, you can always get 10-20% off at L.L. Bean.  Little A is like the Princess and the Pea.  I always look for items that don’t have a lot of bulk and have good flexibility (the hood zips into a pouch).

2. The matching Katahdin hat is a must with the flaps coming down to cover the ears.  We have last year’s styling of this hat and are really happy with the way it has held up.  Note: She is not wearing this hat in the pictures below (it was in the wash).

3. My kids have always worn Scott mittens.  Any brand ski mitten will do as long as they are waterproof.  I prefer mittens because when we are outside for extended periods of time they keep the hands warmer.  The A Team had their mittens on and off throughout the entire hike.  Not having to figure what finger goes in what hole is an added plus to using mittens.

4. L.L. Bean’s Cold Buster Bib Pants are made with the same sturdy quality as the rest of their items.  These are also made with Thinsulate allowing the pants to be less bulky.  I always buy my kids the bib pants to keep snow from going down their backs and to provide a little more warmth on top.  For little ones or kids who won’t spend a lot of time outside, Target or Osh Kosh brand bib pants will be fine.  We have used them in the past and can usually get them for under $20.

5. L.L. Bean Trail Model Fleece Neck Warmer is easy to stuff in a jacket pocket or back pack.  Neck warmers go a long way in providing warmth and are easy to put on.  We were hiking this weekend with temps in the low 30′s and Little A used hers.  I have seen good deals on fleece neck warmers at Bob’s Stores in the past.  I usually buy a bunch since we may lose one or two a long the way.

6. Last year I bought my kids the Kamik Rocket Boots and I will only buy these going forward.  They were easy to get on (and off), have a removable liner, are light weight, and come in a ton of colors. I pull the liners out and let the kids use them for yard work or rainy days.


1. Big A is our fearless skier.  He is up higher on the mountain and for hours at a time.  For that reason I purchased a heartier jacket for him.  Big A wears the Wildcat 3-in-1 Parka which provides him with a tremendous amount of flexibility.  The fleece lining zips out giving him a nice fleece jacket for the fall and spring.  The lighter shell also works on warmer days.  For the coldest days, he wears the fleece and the shell.  Big A has no problem putting together and taking apart the jacket himself.  When I purchased this jacket for him last year, I sized up allowing him to use it for two years.

2. While Big A is wearing a different L.L. Bean hat (not sold this year), I found this fleece lined hat which looks great.  I think I might purchase this one for Big A too.  Sometimes he fusses over the other one because it has the braids on the side.  You know, eight year old boys have an image to uphold!

3 & 5. Both my kids wear base layers (top and bottom) when going out to play in snow or ski.  I would say they need a base layer sub 30 degrees and/or for extended periods of time outside.  I have both Under Armour and Champion brands.  I find they work equally well.  Save your pennies for the better jacket/boots and go with the Champion brand from Target.

4. These are the same bib pants listed under Little A’s cold weather gear.

6. These are the same Kamik Rocket Boots listed above.  Sometimes, I can find these boots at the Stride Rite outlet store for buy one, get one half off.  If you live near one, check them out.

Now for the pictures from our chilly weekend hiking adventure:

Hiking up the big rock stairs at Mohonk Mountain with her new hiking poles.

Avery Hiking

At the top of the stairs we all needed a breather.

Alasdair Hiking

This year we FINALLY made it way further than previous years.  In order to do this we had to make a “NO climbing” rule.  These two love climbing all the rocks but we never get anywhere!  They were allowed one climb each then we had to keep on truckin’.  We managed almost three miles.

Hiking 4

Steep stairs going down.  Big A was responsible for calling out any loose rocks so we wouldn’t lose our footing.


After hiking we headed over to Hurd’s Family Farm.  This is our fourth year getting our tree here.  Big A cut it down himself (for the most part). We can’t believe how big they are getting!

Hiking 2

The A Team hauled the tree out of the field themselves.  They even managed to drag it up the big hill.  Hiking, sawing, and hauling…yes, they slept well!!

Hiking 3

By the time we got to the tree farm it was getting pretty cold and the sun went in.  I wanted out of there pronto BUT the kids favorite part is sitting around the bon fire roasting s’mores and drinking hot chocolate.  How COLD do I look? At least I have my new hat!

Hiking 1

What are your favorite cold gear items for kids? Do you like getting out in the cold months or would you rather hibernate? How was your long holiday weekend?

Cold Weather Gear