Outdoor Clothing Buying Guide
Expert Advice on Children's Outerwear
Outdoor learning is something that all children, & majority will attend forest school or have some form of outdoor learning in their school/nursery. For kids to happily learn & play outside, they need to be protected with the correct outdoor clothing. Having decent outerwear will get them through the elements such as wind, rain or snow!
We want you to find the BEST outerwear for your children at an affordable price. Choosing the right outdoor clothing for children can be a bit overwhelming, so we have come up with the top 5 things to consider before you purchase.
1. Chose Something Waterproof
This is the most obvious tip, but there are so many brands that label their outerwear as ‘waterproof’, but it doesn’t last very long or keep your kids dry!
Our top tip is to avoid ‘shower proof’ and look for 100% waterproof, the best and most waterproof fabric is Polyurethane (PU).
Make sure you understand the difference between shower resistant vs waterproof before investing in waterproof outerwear for your toddler.
2. Always Double Check the Sizing
Decent children’s outdoor clothing is often cut generously, so always double check the size guide as normally you do not need to size up! Many are sizes in height measurements e.g. 100cm, this is equal to a size 3-4 years. We have a conversion chart here on our Size Guide.
Purchasing items of the correct size that are easy to get on, promote independent dressing and make your life much easier! Look for simple designs with an easy pull zip, and Velcro cuffs! Sometimes jackets that are done up with poppers can take too much time for the child to do it themselves.
3. Durable Outdoor Clothing
Waterproof clothing is an investment, so you want them to work properly and last a long time.
Children inflict wear and tear on their clothing on a daily basis. Make sure the outerwear you purchase is high quality to withstand muddy puddles, grass sliding & all outdoor elements.
High quality PU fabric is your best bet, preferably with a 4 way stretch and welded seams!
We recommend purchasing waterproof outdoor clothing that has welded seams, this will mean you have the most durable outerwear. Most outerwear will come with either taped seams or welded seams, we 100% recommend welded seams. Taped seams are often found on cheaper waterproofs and tend to peel off very easily.
4. Care Instructions for Outdoor Clothing
You will want to purchase outerwear that does not require a lot of looking after. If you go for high quality, PU waterproofs, your best cleaning options would be to hose them down & wipe them with a sponge.
You can occasionally you can wash them in the washing machine. (Just remember to avoid tablets and fabric softener!)
If you chose a mac, or a cheaper, shower resistant waterproof they are often much harder to clean and cannot be washed in the washing machine.
To help your waterproofs last longer, remember to store them correctly. After using them, let them air dry by hanging them inside or outside. Avoid putting them over a radiator as this can damage most waterproof fabrics.
5. Consider Safety Features
Safety is an import aspect to consider when purchasing waterproof clothing in general. Schools especially need to ensure they have the best safety features available to keep the children safe.
Colour is an important part of safety, having brighter colours will help you spot a child in the distance. This is important if they are playing in the woods or on the farm.
If you are not able to get bright coloured waterproofs then look for reflective strips on the jackets & trousers. These are important for crossing the road to keep children visible, especially when the evenings get darker in the autumn months.
Wet Wednesdays outerwear has a removable popper hood, this is a safety feature we learnt from Scandinavian Forest schools. If a child were to get their hood caught on a tree branch, they would be able to pop their hood off with ease. Our previous jackets did not have any pockets as this is also another safety feature from Scandinavia. It is to prevent children from falling on their face from having their hands in their pockets. The demand for pockets in the UK is high, so we have since added ‘hidden’ pockets so children can store any trinkets they find on their adventures.
If your want to make sure you have the right kit for school, make sure to check out our Official Forest School Kit List to be fully prepared!