Towards the end of August in the Rocky Mountain West, there’s a certain crispness in the air in the mornings. As the calendar rolls over into September, you find yourself using the heater in the car in the mornings and the air conditioner in the afternoon. You reach for a hoodie or a cardigan in the evenings, even if you wore a tank top and flip flops during the day. For me, this transition into Fall means taking inventory of our wardrobes to make sure we have all the outdoor gear we’ll need.
Don’t let the “Baby” in the title fool you – this key piece of outdoor gear is available in sizes 3-6 months to 5T and generally runs a little big! We usually get two seasons of wear out of a fleece while our kiddo grows into it. We prefer this Patagonia version to others because it’s soft, super durable, washes up great, and layers easily for buildable warmth. Also, it’s just plain cute!
Again, not just for babies, and also not a sweater, this micro puff coat is available in sizes from 3-6 months to 5T. A mini version of the popular adult coat, this coat serves as our kid’s main winter coat with different layers underneath depending on activity and weather. It’s lightweight, windproof, water repellent, and warm – the four keys to kid’s outdoor gear. We layer the Synchilla Fleece underneath it and use that hood to cover cold ears when needed.
How to Buy Patagonia on a Budget:
- Directly from Patagonia – signup for the Patagonia mailing list to be notified of sales. We buy past-season outdoor gear on sale all the time! Sometimes the exact size we need isn’t in stock, but if we have the funds I’ll buy the size we’ll need next season.
- From a Patagonia Outlet – Patagonia outlets are like our Disneyland for outdoor gear. They offer past season gear at greatly reduced prices – and they have sales, too! Find one near you and if you can’t make a trip, I know the good people at the Patagonia Dillon Outlet will shop by phone and ship to you!
- From REI – Become a lifetime member for $20 and get 10% of purchases back every year plus no hassle returns and exchanges and members-only offers.
- Gently Used – Starting in August I haunt our local outdoor gear thrift shops for gently worn Patagonia. Since the brand is so durable and kids grow so fast, there’s always lots to choose from! If you live near or travel to ski towns – Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Whitefish, Montana, or Sun Valley, Idaho, for instance – you’re sure to find almost-new kids outdoor gear in the thrift shops. It’s worth checking out! I also shop from several Facebook Outdoor Gear Buy / Sell / Trade groups, including my fave, Patagonia B/S/T.
Mud? Rain? Puddle jumping? Sand? A little bit of snow? The Tuffo is the easiest – and maybe the cutest – outdoor gear to shield your kiddo from wet and dirt while letting them have fun! This waterproof layer zips over a toddler’s entire outfit and whatever layers they need beneath. The gusseted sleeves and ankles mean the wet, mud, and sand stay out. We use the Tuffo on the beach, out in the rain, in the mud, and for light snow play. Available in sizes from 12 Months – 5T and runs big. Our tall skinny three-year-old is still comfortably wearing his 2T he’s had
Before we switch to a heavy snowboot for the winter – we prefer Bogs for that – our kiddo wears his adorable dinosaur Western Chief boots. Available in some stores – we bought ours on an Oregon Coast vacation at Fred Meyer – or online at Amazon, these waterproof boots pull on easy and keep the wet out. With a pair of wool socks underneath, these can handle a little bit of cold, too. Available in toddler starting at size 5, little kid and big kid sizes.