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Warm winter wear for small kids?

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Warm winter wear for small kids?

Old 01-03-11, 10:27 AM
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Warm winter wear for small kids?

We're trying to bike with the kids throughout the winter on a semi-daily basis (riding to and from school, about 15-minutes each way), but our biggest obstacle remains keeping them warm. My wife and I are slowly getting ourselves properly equipped with lots of SmartWool layers and technical cycling caps and gloves, but we're having a hard time finding cycling-specific clothing for our 4- and 6-year olds (sizes 4T-6T).

Can anyone make some recommendations? What we need are:
  • headwear (they have bulky fleece balaclavas but they are too bulky and not as warm as adult technical material)
  • mittens (they have wool mittens which are inadequate in wind, and they have snow mittens which also are inadequate in wind)
  • warm socks, leggings, and shirt base layers (does anyone make wool base layers for kids?)

Right now, the kids have thick wool socks, but they're not really appropriate for cycling because they're so thick they're only fit in snow boots-- they're too bulky for their regular shoes. I have thin SmartWool socks that are perfect, but they don't come in kid sizes!

Any recommendations for brands or materials that work well on small kids is much appreciated!

For reference, here's what their current gear looks like, which is barely adequate for 15 minute rides on ~30F days. Notice how bulky it all is.

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Old 01-03-11, 02:00 PM
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These aren't bicycle specific, but they were things we had when I was a kid. For mittens, we had a knitted wool mitten inside a leather shell. The wool for warmth and the shell for wind/water resistance. Wore overshoes over our regular shoes, and those seemed to be good down to around zero. Do they make regular long insulated underwear in the kid's sizes? That might work for a base layer.
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Old 01-03-11, 02:12 PM
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REI kids has most of what you are looking for. We bought our hi-tech socks there, we also bought snow mittens. The gloves were so expensive they are on inventory control of sorts. We don't use them for cycling as a crash would likely result in rips to the glove. Wind/snow pants that aren't too bulky might help some. That could be hard to find though along with a thin balaclava.

Some of the stuff can be pricey but if you know it will be well used, the sting is not as much.

For 15 minutes riding at a stretch, what you have plus some extra bits should work out ok.
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Old 01-04-11, 10:08 AM
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Have a look at ski shops or the snow shoe section at REI. It doesn't have to be bicycling specific and those sports deal with cold and wind all the time so you'll probably have better luck there.
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Old 01-05-11, 01:25 AM
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Outdoor research makes a balaclava called ninjaclava that is low profile and blocks wind and keeps my 3 year-old's head warm.
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Old 01-05-11, 08:15 AM
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My kids have Seirus balaclava with neoprene nose shield, ski goggles on colder days, two layers of pants - one fleece and second outer layer (you can probably use thermals + pants, but it works nice for our commuting as I can peel the kids off from the outer layers when I drop them off at the pre-school) . We use two pairs of socks if needed and have shoes one size bigger to accommodate an extra layer (these will become their regular shoes next season). Thinsulate gloves or mittens (4 y.o. daughter is ok with mittens, 6 y.o. son demands gloves like daddy).
Nothing really bike specific, but works for us.
Also, while a lot people swear about wool and fleece I don't think it's that important for my kids - they never sweat enough on TAB to be cold in cotton, as they frequently have two cotton inner layers (shirt or dress + hoodie) and never complained about it.
One more thing some people do (we never bother with temperature reaching only down to teens in ATL) is taping the ventilation holes in the helmets.
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