Weather proof your kids against anything the winter throws at them.
Kids love the winter - or rather, they love the snow and they love the ice and they aren't so bothered about any of the other things that adults are. So as long as they are well wrapped up in a proper winter coat for protection against the cold weather, they can ignore anything apart from the full-time, full-on, serious job of being a kid and enjoying the snow and winter fun. Meanwhile you can enjoy your own winter sports or be safely tucked up indoors busy not worrying about how cold and wet they are (because they aren't worried in the slightest!).
Waterproof over pants - for rain or especially when playing in snow Kids'
Features to look for in a winter coat
The outside layer has to put up directly with what the weather throws at it. So it needs to be windproof and maybe waterproof too.
It may be an insulated shell or not. The outer layer for kids especially, should have a hood to stop wind rain and snow getting down the collar and also as it can't be lost in the way that a hat can!
Elasticated or fastening cuffs and draw cords help to prevent warm air being lost while keeping snow, rain and wind out.
Features to look for in a 3 in 1 Jacket
A 3-in-1 Jacket is a great solution for kids outer winter wear. There are two parts, a windproof and often waterproof outer, and an add-in liner jacket of fleece or synthetic insulation. Either layer can be worn alone or they can be worn together for two-layer comfort and performance. If the cold goes on for some time, keep the inner jacket fastened inside the outer so they can both be thrown on together - time is always a pressing issue for kids!
Two layers instead of one traps extra air in between the layers giving a coat that is warmer than you might imagine.
In very cold weather, a completely waterproof outer layer isn't needed as it will be snow and not rain that is falling. Some waterproof garments don't breathe so well and so can get a bit sweaty after a while unless they are a breathable fabric. They also tend not to be so soft when very cold, so choose according to your intended temperature use.
There are child-versions of adult more formal coats, "looking at coats" as I think of them, often made of wool and with a tailored shape. They might be ideal for special occasions, but they really aren't very effective at keeping the winter out on a daily basis as they aren't usually very wind or waterproof, often having button fronts, loose sleeves and no draw-cords or elastic anywhere to prevent warm air from being pumped out when you move around.
Synthetic insulation better where cold and wet may be encountered, less affected by wet than down, though a little heavier for an equivalent insulation level, doesn't compress so well and costs less. More easily washable than down.
Down - 500 / 600 / 700 / 800 "Fill Power". A measure of the quality and insulating property of down, the higher the number, the better - generally. Take an ounce of down, then compress it and let go - the down expands filling a volume, in cubic inches that volume is is the down's "fill power". A high fill power means lighter weight for the same warmth and more compressibility for packing.
Down is the gold standard insulation material for the most extreme conditions being used in the Far North and Far South alike during the winter months.
Design - sufficient high quality insulation is key to making a good winter jacket. The design is also very important too, to make the most of the insulation, to ensure there are no cold spots and to provide means of adjusting the warmth as conditions change. Draw cords, adjustable cuffs and vents help If it warms up or if the weather turns really nasty. A storm flap that folds and closes over the main opening zip avoids a thinly insulated region where heat can escape and helps keep wind, snow and rain out.
Bulk and weight - It may be stating the obvious, but a coat that is going to keep you warm at minus a lot and in a blizzard is going to be substantial. Even if filled with the best and lightest insulation it is going to be heavier than a jacket for the fall. Despite what some manufacturers may claim, there is no miracle super light and thin, super effective insulation material, it's all relative.
What about traditional materials such as wool? - Wool in particular is a very popular material to make winter coats from, you can pay far more for a wool coat than any you will find on this page.
It is an awful material for an effective winter coat however. It soaks up water like a sponge, is not particularly windproof unless quite thick which makes it stiff and more likly to gape at the neck and cuffs allowing warm air to escape and is heavy and not very warm for a given weight. Wool is fine for "looking at" coats for best, but absolutely not as effective as a well designed modern insulated jacket, especially for kids who want to run around and have fun. They are the clothing equivalent of an elegant car with 50-100 year old technology.
On the other hand, wool is a very effective material as an insulation or base layer under a protective outer shell.
Children's Insulated Winter
Jackets - Parkas
more kids winter jackets
Boys' - The North Face Gotham Jacket
Wind and waterproof, 550 down-filled, faux fur, bomber style jacket
Boys' - Columbia Lightning Lift Jacket
Synthetic insulation, waterproof & windproof outer, print on the other. Toddler to teen sizes
Girls - Silda Reimatec Winter Insulated Jacket - Toddlers'/Kids'
synthetic insulation, faux-fur trim
Kids 3 in 1 Jackets
more kids 3 in 1 winter jackets
Boys - Under Armour ' ColdGear Reactor Westward 3-in-1 Jacket
Waterproof, breathable shell + fleece liner