Winter hiking can feel intimidating when attempting to venture out with an infant. We’re here to help! We’ve been there and Hike it Baby as a community is all about encouraging everyone to get outside! It doesn’t matter if you are on a budget or just don’t know where to begin. Let’s break down what you need for your infant’s winter layering.
Begin with the base layer. This should be wool or another wicking material, like synthetic polyester, silk, or cashmere. These help retain heat while keeping skin nice and dry. Wet is your enemy in the cold. Avoid cotton!
The same applies to socks. These should be wool if possible. Avoid cotton.
Now to add another layer! Fleece footed pajamas work great over base layers and socks. Just make sure they aren’t too tight or short. We don’t want to cut off circulation to the hands and feet as this will make them cold no matter how many layers we have.
Outerwear is important to help keep little bodies safe from the wind, wet and cold. Down or fleece buntings zip nicely over layers. Pluses: suits that zip at the diaper, have built in mitten and boots, and hoods. As before, make sure things aren’t too tight, we don’t want to cut off circulation!
If you are wearing your little one in a Soft-Structured Carrier (SSC) they should be nice and snug against you soaking up your body heat. The dangling extremities can still get chilly though. Heavy boots or shoes should be avoided as they can cut off circulation on dangling legs. Adult wool socks that fit up over mittens and to the armpit help keep those wiggling arms warm.
Hats that cover the ears and go under the chin are a must have for those exposed heads. When wearing a baby your exhaled breaths can have condensation that can moisturize your baby’s head and make their head dangerously cold. This also holds true for breathing on cold body parts, the moist warm air from your mouth actually causes the skin to become wet and then even more dangerously cold.
If your baby is in their stroller, they should be nice, warm, and dry with all of these layers and a weather shield or heavy blanket covering the seat.
If wearing your baby, you can keep extra warm and dry by wearing an extra-large coat that can zip over both of you, buy a jacket extender for your favorite winter coat, or use a cover specially made to tie to your SSC.
All of this being said, use your best judgement when it comes to layering. Sometimes more is not best. Infants cannot regulate their temperature like adults can. If they are too hot they will overheat and dehydrate quickly. Watch them for signs of fussiness and flushed skin. Make sure you have fluids ready for them if you are not breastfeeding that can be warmed with hot water from a thermos or kept close to your skin in an inside pocket of your coat.
There are many brands to research and most can be found on-line, in second-hand consignments shops, and parent swap groups on social media. It may take a few times getting out to see what works for you. Start short and sweet with a walk around the block to see how you both do. Join in on a local HiB walk and see what other parents are using. They can help guide you to their favorite Etsy shop or clearance site for most of the items you’d like to buy. These are also great things to put on registries for gift ideas! Be sure to check the HiB site as well for member discounts on lots of amazing brands!
Be sure to check our Blog for more great tips and tricks for hiking with your family! Do you have any stories to share? Email them to : email@example.com