The Savvy Five: Snowsuits

Get the kids geared up for the cold months
The Savvy Five: Snowsuits

Our home and native land guarantees that pretty much wherever you live in this country, moms are always on the hunt for the right kind of outdoor clothing for our kids. Because there’s no such thing as bad weather—just bad clothing.

Since a snowsuit can be a big investment, it’s best to be well educated before making that purchase. Savvy shopping saves us time and money (because there are a million better things to do than make trips to the customer service department).

We considered warmth, durability and construction, waterproofing, lifespan and value, and came up with our SavvyFive picks for this season’s (and if you are lucky, next season’s) snowsuit:

Patagonia Baby Puff-Ball Bunting
Good for: Kids from 0 to 3 years of age
Why It Made the List: Baby plus car seat, plus heavy snowsuit can make any parent lugging an infant around feel like they gave birth to a sumo-wrestler. This baby bunting bag from Patagonia is very light and it’s reversible, so it feels like you’re getting two suits for the price of one. Its warmth comes from a lightweight polyester wind-resistant shell that’s been treated with DWR (durable water repellent finish) to stop wet weather. The inner material is recycled Thermogreen polyfill which keeps the suit warm even when wet. As your child gets close to age three, fans of the Puff Ball may want to move into the Patagonia Baby Snow Patrol Suit which offers the same features in larger sizes. (From $115 at www.mec.ca)

Good to Know: Recycled polyester comes from yarns made from industrial polyester waste and recycled plastic bottles. These yarns use as much as 75% less crude oil than virgin fibres, and they divert waste from landfills.

JupaJupa
Good for: Parents wanting to make a solid investment in solid outerwear
Why It Made the List: Moms will love the generous cut from this Canadian company that also includes the brilliant ‘grow with you feature’, allowing the temporary inside seams in the arms and legs to be extended by two inches for next season’s wearing. Jupa guarantees warmth in weather as cold as -30 degrees and has a rating of 5000 mm (or 16 feet) for waterproofing, which means that it can withstand that amount of rain in 24 hours before its wearer gets wet. Since the waterfall record in a day is about six feet, we think this more than does the job. All parts of the jacket and pants are seam-sealed, especially on the shoulders, removable hood and wrists where snow and rain typically hit. Kids will love the vibrant colours and the likelihood of them wearing it for two seasons makes the prices easier to justify. (From $170 at www.sportinglife.ca)

Good to Know: Some Jupa jackets come with cute zipper pulls for girls (a doll) and boys (a snowboarder).

GustiGusti
Good for: Girls and boys from 12 months to 8 years and up
Why It Made the List: Gusti makes a great snowsuit at a decent price. The suits from this Canadian company are polyester-filled (some with fleece lining), machine washable and rated for -30 cold weather. With classic colours for both girls and boys, the Gusti line is made for Canadian winters. (From $89 at www.sears.ca)

Good to Know: Some models of Gusti snow suits are currently $30 off until January 9, 2011 at sears.ca.

Squall Jacket and ParkaSquall Jacket and Parka
Good for: Active school-aged kids who can’t get enough of the white stuff
Why It Made the List: Few US retailers do it better than Lands’ End when it comes to making excellent products that are easy to order and quick to ship to Canada—and there are usually deals to be had. Their Squall Parka with matching snowpant line offer parents the peace of mind knowing kids will be kept toasty with Lands’ End’s Warmest temperature rating. The new feature of Grow-A-Long™ sleeves extends up to 1.5 inches to fit them as they grow. We also love the SnowGuard wrist cuffs: which lets them slip their thumb through the cuff to better grip items, yet still keeps out cold and snow. The sizing charts make ordering quick and easy. (From $69 USD at www.landsend.com)

Good to Know: A few Sears stores in Canada have a Lands’ End outlet which means free shipping if you pick up at the store. It also makes returns a lot easier, too. 

Toaster Jacket and Snowpants/Freefall Jacket and PantsToaster Jacket and Snowpants/Freefall Jacket and Pants
Good for: The active, outdoorsy types
Why It Made the List: Both the Toaster Jacket and snowpants (for ages three to six) and the Freefall jacket and pants (seven and up) are made with MEC’s own Hyperloft™ synthetic material, which may surprise you as many of us think down is usually the warmest material. Synthetic is generally better for active kids who will be outside for long periods and likely to be getting wet (because when down gets wet, it loses most of its insulating properties). The outer shell is coated with ‘super DWR’ finish that sheds snow and water, and has excellent resistance to abrasion and soiling—especially good for kids who can find dirt anywhere, even when the ground is covered in white fluffy stuff. The jackets offer soft fleece trim on the neck and in pockets (great for those days when they refuse to wear mittens), and the pants have adjustable snaps to combat the inevitable growth factor. (From $69 at www.mec.ca)

Good to Know: If you live near a MEC and can shop in-store, bringing the kids may not be as painful as a typical shopping trip. Between watching the experts scale the rock climbing wall and playing ‘camp’ inside the tents, shopping can actually be fun.

Whatever their style and whatever your budget, you should be able to find something that ‘suits’ you, and the weather.

Tested by Alison R., Toronto
Tagged under kids, shopping, clothing, winter
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First published 2010.11.02

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