Clothing and winter sports: how to make the right choices?


Clothing and winter sports: how to make the right choices?

Be well dressed to enjoy winter, and never again let the cold and the snow overshadow the pleasure of a day outdoors with your family. The trick is to have good clothes, but also the best strategies to wear them. Follow our advice to stay warm, from head to toe.

How to choose a snow coat and pants
Because children will have to wear these clothes every day during the cold season, but also because it is a considerable investment, here are some things to consider when buying winter clothing.

1. Impermeability
Look for “waterproof” on labels, and make sure the seams of snow jackets and pants are sealed with an inner membrane. To check the waterproofness of the seams, take a seam between two fingers and locate, to the touch, something that looks like a strip of tape at the back. Beware of the mention “water resistant”: it is a roundabout way of saying that it is not waterproof!

2. Breathability
A guarantee of quality and durability, the material of the garment can make all the difference in your child’s comfort this winter. The snow jacket and pants must breathe in order to prevent perspiration, and for this they must contain a Gore-Tex style coating or membrane. There are similar membranes that have been developed under other names, so look for “breathable” on the label.

3. Adjustment
Make sure that the cuffs are adjustable to accommodate mittens, that the collar is made of a soft material, that it rises high enough and is snug enough to cover the neck well. Also check that the jacket has a hood and is helmet compatible if your child is skiing.

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Choose snow pants with adjustable suspenders, snow gaiters to cover the boot and a thick enough fabric in the bottom to resist chafing.

4. Adaptability
Several brands offer expandable winter clothing for children that allow you to lengthen the sleeves and pants by a few centimeters by unstitching the interior seams. This allows the garment to be kept for two or three seasons.

Mittens and gloves
Are you the glove or mitt type? If you do not practice activities requiring special dexterity or manipulation of objects, such as ski poles, prefer mittens. All materials being equal, these are warmer than gloves, because they allow you to keep your fingers in contact with each other, or to use a hand warmer.

The more the sport or activity practiced involves speed (such as downhill skiing) or gripping an object (cross-country ski pole), the more resistant the outer membrane or shell of the glove or mitt will need to be. The fabric must be waterproof enough not to get soggy in contact with snow, and “breathable” to prevent the lining from getting wet.

The presence of a Velcro strap or a fastener at the level of the wrists will prevent snow from penetrating while favoring the conservation of the heat of the hands.

During periods of intense cold, it is advisable to have in reserve (for the whole family!) thin under-gloves in merino wool or synthetic fabric with high insulating power in order to put them on, if necessary, under the gloves or the mitts.

The best way to dry gloves or mittens is to leave them in the open air, not far from a heat source (such as a heater or a wood stove), but avoiding direct contact. An odor-busting spray, like the one used for sports equipment, might also be a good idea!

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Children spend a lot of time outside, sometimes standing still, sometimes bustling, and their feet are constantly in the snow. It is therefore important to put them in warm, comfortable, waterproof boots that are high enough to prevent snow from seeping in, which can put an end to the fun part.

The quality of the insulation (from technologies such as Thinsulate, Primaloft, Polartec or Heatseeker) is very important to fight the cold. Prefer models that can go down to -30°C, and pay attention to the amount of insulation (from 100 to 600 grams) indicated on the label: the higher the number, the more it will protect against the cold.

During the test, check if the foot benefits from a small play of about 1 cm, because too cramped in a boot it is more prey to the cold.

Buy an additional pair of markers for the children’s boots, so you always have a replacement option in case of small wet feet. The good old technique of the plastic bag in the boot can help! Many parents also swear by electric boot and mitt dryers.

Soaked or frozen feet often spell the end of outdoor outings. To avoid this unpleasant situation, good socks are required, in addition to boots. Bring a spare pair!

Wearing a 100% synthetic sock (polyester, for example) under a warmer stocking is an interesting trick to counter the formation of moisture in the boots. And it reduces the risk of blisters!

The art of multi-layering
A good way to stay dry and warm during outdoor physical activity is to put on several layers of clothing. This system (better known as onion skins!) has the advantage of being flexible: if it’s too hot, we remove a layer, and we do the opposite if it’s too cold.

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The base layer : underwear, overalls, socks, or tights made of synthetic fibers or wool (the merino type is one of the best options, because it is ultralight, soft, warm, “breathable” and antibacterial) .
The middle layer : fleece or other sweaters.
The outer layer : coat that will cut through wind, precipitation, or both.
Avoid cotton clothes which tend to retain moisture and quickly become uncomfortable, which is not the case with synthetic fibres.

Technological accessories to warm hands and feet
Even well dressed, it can be difficult to keep the extremities warm for several hours. Equip yourself with a secret weapon for winter days: hand warmers and toe warmers that activate on contact with the air! For the more cautious, there are also stockings, soles, mittens, or heated gloves!

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