Fit Together Winter Gear Picks for Active Families
Are you planning to get active outdoors with baby this winter? Parents often ask us what gear they may need, so here are a few of our favorites, with a preference for locally owned businesses when possible.
1. Fleece lined leggings
Why we like them: Fleece lined leggings are an amazing addition to your wardrobe. They add extra coziness (under your wind layer) on your winter walks and adventures, and are great for lounging “après ski” as well.
Where to buy: locally owned Prana Vida makes lovely leggings, including a fleece lined line called Euphoria. Winnipeg owned MPG fleece lined leggings are also often available at Costco.
2. Smartwool® socks for the whole family
Why we like them: SmartWool® socks are an awesome choice for winter in Winnipeg because wool wicks any moisture away from your skin, keeping your toes dry and (hopefully) toasty. You can wear then around the house too. SmartWool socks for everyone! (Note if you are allergic to wool like our instructor Ashley, try Heat Holders® socks instead.)
3. Parent BUFF and Baby BUFF (thin neck warmer)
Why we like them: These are a great layer to keep the wind off your ears and neck. Look for baby or kids sized ones for a better fit. Aileen’s tip is to tuck extras into your pockets as someone usually needs one!
4. Jacket extender or babywearing jacket
Why we like it: A jacket extender allows you to use your regular jacket for pregnancy and babywearing. Babywearing in winter has a lot of benefits, including increased warmth for you and baby, and keeping your arms free for other tasks. (Read our Tips for Winter Babywearing here.)
5. Car Seat Poncho
Why we like it: Keeps baby and toddlers safe and warm in their seats during winter months. It’s like a wearable blanket that goes over the back of the car seat so there is no extra bulk between your sweetie and their seat. Many are also versatile for strollers or babywearing.
Where to buy: Sweetkids Clothing (locally owned!)
6. Thin fleece or polyester baby bunting/snowsuit
Why we like them: Wearing a puffy snowsuit in the car seat is not recommended for safety reasons. If you are driving somewhere to embark on your adventure, wearing a thin car seat friendly bunting or snowsuit will make the transition a little smoother as you can pop baby in the baby carrier in their thinner suit, or put the puffy one over top the thin suit once you arrive. Double snowsuits are very Winnipeg.
Where to buy: Look for Columbia, MEC or North Face or Patagonia brands of fleece or thin polyester bunting suits, from MEC, the Prairie Summit Shop (North Face), also worth a look for secondhand (Marketplace, Kijiji or Once Upon a Child)
7. Stonz mitts and booties
Why we like them: Armed with a double bungee system, these mitts and booties are known for staying on. For toddlers, they also have a soft soled boot style that makes taking those first few snowy footprints a little easier.
Why we like them: Snowshoeing is an easy to learn and flexible outdoor activity that can be done in a variety of locations. No special trail or grooming is needed.
Where to buy: White Pine Bicycle has a good selection of really well priced Retrospec snowshoes in adult sizes[AF2] . Snowshoes can also be rented from Kendricks Outdoor Adventures and onsite at FortWhyte Alive.
9. Zoo or Fort Whyte Alive membership
Why we like it: Time in nature is so restorative for us and our families. Fort Whyte’s forest trails are absolutely beautiful in winter and a membership allows you to find that nature right in the city. Our zoo offers a more urban nature experience but there are also indoor buildings to warm up in on really cold days and older babies and toddlers will get a thrill seeing the animals too!
10. Traction cleats for ice and snow (YakTraks or similar)
Why we like them: During freeze/thaw cycles our local trails and sidewalks can build up icy sections making it harder to walk safely, especially while holding/wearing your baby, or during pregnancy. Slip these traction cleats over your regular boots or winter shoes and you can explore with confidence. Recommended by many participants!
11. Tiny kids ski goggles
Why we like them: This one is more of a life hack than "gear", but if the temperatures dip really low, like -30 and you still need/want to get out (say to walk the dogs, or pick up other kids from school), a teeny tiny pair of ski goggles can be used to protect baby's upper face from the wind. They can also be used to take tots and kids skiing or on winter walks later on.
Where to buy: MEC
12. Fit Together gift certificate
Why we like it: We believe that it is more fun to exercise together with our babies and each other! Fit Together gift certificates can be used for any prenatal, postnatal or infant massage program and have no expiry date. Give the gift of fitness!
Where to buy: www.fittogetherwpg.ca on the bottom of the page
Now, let's get out there and enjoy the best of winter!
Love, Aileen and the Fit Together team
PS If you know of other locally owned retailers that carry these items, let me know and we'll add them to the list!