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It’s been predicted that Calgary is going to have one of the coldest winters in a couple of decades. I shiver just thinking about it. I shiver even more knowing that it is currently -17C with a wind chill of -26C outside with the current weather listed as ice crystals.

I’m one of those people who’d rather see several feet of snow than the thermometer  dip into the -20s. I love to spend hours outside in the winter – hiking, skiing, skating, taking photographs or just generally playing. So give me the snow, but you can keep the bitter cold. Besides which it’s a lot easier to dress a two-year old for snow than for cold and a lot more fun!

That being said we can’t choose the weather, so just in time we’ve finished outfitting our son. Many of the blogs that I follow about outdoor adventures with kids have been blogging about how to dress your kids for winter. They all have some great tips and I’ve included some links to their respective blogs below. I want to emphasize the importance that you make sure that you’re dressing your children to fit your lifestyle and your kids personality.

Matt loves to move, so keeping him mobile as well as warm is one of our priorities. So to that end, we’ve outfitted him much the same as we have ourselves. We found great long underwear for him which not only adds a layer of warm but is wicking so no moisture stays close to his skin. We have a warm fleece layer – simply cosy and warm. Then we have a layer to protect him against the elements – wind, rain, snow, cold – a winter snow suit which is waterproof-breathable and we also got him a pair of fleece lined snow pants (no bib) which are proving to be great for hiking in cold weather (if it’s a mild day we also have his rain suit at our disposal). Add a choice of mitts, both waterproof hiking boots and snow boots, winter (wicking) socks, hats and balaclavas and our son is ready for any weather and activity. I’ve deliberately left out the brands as so much depends on your kids – not all brands fit all kids – find stuff that fits your child. We love Mountain Equipment Coop (MEC) and have bought a lot of stuff over the years there, including one of Matt’s new pairs of mitts. We also find that North Face and Columbia fits our son very well. You can find a lot of good fleece pieces in many of the stores including Children’s Place and MEC. If you’re in Alberta and you make it down to Pincher Creek, The Outdoor Outlet there that has great stuff not only for adults but babies, toddler and preschoolers. Consignment stores as well as online classifieds such as Kijiji are also great sources for good clothing.

If you still need to outfit your child for the winter, please take sometime to read some of the blogs below, because, as I can’t emphasize enough, every child is different and everyone’s lifestyle is different – the clothing you choose needs to reflect that. Keeps reading reviews and blogs, talking to other parents and talking to the experts at the stores and make a choice that’s right for you.

Family Adventures in the Mountains

Adventure Tykes

Active Kids Club

Get Out With The Kids

The Kid Project

One last question to leave you with. Would piece of gear do you deem essential?