Dressing Right for the Weather?
In the course of a day outside, children can be very physical with times of inactivity where they can get cold. The way a child is dressed is extremely important! Proper layers can keep children warm when they are inactive, but wick away sweat and water vapor from the body towards the outer layer where it can escape.
The Layering System
The purpose of the inner layer (what your mom used to call long johns and t-shirt) is to keep you warm and to allow water vapor to escape and wick moisture away from your body so you don’t get cold and wet. The middle layer must be warm and insulating – suitable for low-level activities as well as for high activities. The outer layer should be windproof, water-resistant but still allow water vapor to escape.
Inner and Middle Layer
Please try not to dress children in cotton!
Cotton absorbs moisture and holds it next to your skin. Wet cotton doesn’t trap body heat and actually works against you as the liquid in the cotton garment evaporates. When the fluid evaporates, it creates a cooling effect and your body temperature will drop.
In our experience, merino wool, synthetic fibre, or a blend of wool/synthetic fibres are the best materials. The proper layers of wool can keep kids warm when they are inactive but wick away sweat and water vapor from the body towards the outer layer where it can either escape or at least not interfere with the layers underneath trapping body heat. Wool can in some cases absorb up to 18% to 35% of its own weight in water and still retain its insulation value. Additionally, it wicks the excess moisture away from your body.
In terms of outer layers, wear rain gear on wet rainy days and wear windproof clothes on other days. Don’t settle on just a jacket, active children need rain pants as well to protect them from getting wet. When it comes to rain gear, choose rain gear made of coated nylon (PU) and avoid PVC base materials. PVC is harmful to both the environment and children.
Please note that if your child comes underdressed for the day and gets wet/cold, we will call you to come and pick them up. Not sure what the best gear is for your child? Ask us! We can recommend brands that have worked for us.
For a great tutorial on how to dress your child for outdoor school, check out the video below.