For outdoors enthusiasts, going outdoors in winter is just as exciting as in the warmer seasons; actually, it is sometimes more exciting – being active when it’s cold is amazing. Getting our families, especially with young babies or partners who aren’t too thrilled about the cold, to join us on those glorious winter days is extremely hard, on the verge of impossible.
The only way that I have found to get everyone (including an anti-cold weather wife) on a great winter day outdoors is by keeping them comfortable. I wrote in the past about being comfortable outdoors, but to get an even bigger return on investment – keep your family comfortable. The goal is simple here – make sure your family, after many promises in advance that it will be nice, will have truly positive experience outside when it is cold and wintery. A couple of weeks ago we went on a family winter day hike and we all enjoyed a good time (until my daughter decided she had enough), so reviewing the clothing my wife and daughter used will give a good example of what you should aim for.
How you do it?
Focus on a handful of items for each participant:
- A warm, windproof, insulated jacket
- Good gloves
- A warm hat
- Waterproof and comfortable footwear
For my wife, we had: her Arc’teryx Atom SV jacket, winter buff, warm mittens (she has a problem with cold hands) and Inov-8 Roclite 285 shoes that are comfortable for her with Rockey Gore-Tex socks. That means insulation, warm hands and feet with the possibility of adding a hat when needed.
My daughter requires a different approach, as she yet to have preferences (she is only 14 months old) – so she got: a wooly hat she has had for a while and accepts to a degree, a simple pair of wool mittens (the only ones that stay on long enough), a Gap synthetic-filled insulated and windproof jacket and a pair of MyMayu waterproof boots. That meant that she could wear her usual clothes and still get extra warmth and protection outdoors.
As you can see, the principal is simple – keep your family warm, dry and comfortable and you can enjoy both outdoors and family time during winter. Granted, winter here is not that severe, but I’m sure the same principle applies to ski touring trips or snowshoeing. Do you have any experience with more extreme weather and how you managed to get the family out? Did the same simple rule of comfort apply?