In the second of our Winter Essentials series I’m looking at Rainwear essentials. Key items of rainwear include raincoats, umbrellas and gumboots. Simple enough, but after using these items with our kids and reviewing new products for our website I’ve realised there are a few additional things to consider other than how colourful or pretty rainwear looks.
For raincoats there are quality features to consider, and the thickness. When I say ‘quality features’ I think a raincoat needs to be lined to stop sweat condensing on the inside, and it’s great if the lining continues a bit beyond the coat outer sleeve as it’s a bit yucky having that wet feeling on your wrist after running around a bit in the playground. It’s also preferable for the coat to have a hood for those times when you’re caught without an umbrella, a common occurance in Melbourne, and for the coat to have a flap that sits over the coat zip to stop chilling wind forcing its way in the front of the jacket.
When looking at thickness, or padding, I’ve become a fan of jackets that are lined but not padded, except perhaps for days bordering on snow. Padded jackets are so stiff that they really reduce mobility for toddlers and young children, especially since the padding is a lot thicker relative to their body proportions than for an adult. A lined raincoat without padding is ideally fitted with a bit of slack extra room inside, and that way you can use layering of clothes underneath to better suite the temperature. This gives you the most use out of your child’s jacket as they can be used with just a T-shirt on humid rainy days, and with a long sleeve top and jumper on cold days. Using multiple layers also gives more flexibility as each layer can slide past each other, reducing the overall stiffness compared to a padded jacket. We’ve found Penny Scallan jackets to be great for our kids, and they also meet the stylin’ requirements.
Kids Gumboots are simpler but again it really is a necessity to have lining. For gumboots lining not only reduces sweet inside the boot, but it also provides a softer surface for feet to rub against. Gumboots don’t exactly flex like sneakers, so they tend to rub more on little feet. Lining is the best option to reduce the chance of blisters and general anguish for your child. The other key requirement is chunky grip since gumboots are more likely to be used on muddy surfaces and shallow grips will be filled up in no time. The final nice to have I can think of is just a cloth tab at the back of the gumboot which makes it easier to pull the gumboot on.
Umbrellas are heaps of fun for kids, although never around when you need one. My memories of umbrellas are constantly hurting my finger trying to push the small, stiff metal tab in to open the umbrella. A really simple yet clever idea I noticed on the Penny Scallan umbrellas is the push up, pull down knob that doesn’t have a latch to hold it closed. The push, pull design simply relies on the spring in the umbrella rods to hold the umbrella in the open or closed position, there’s no latch, push button or other hard to use open mechanism. Kids love independence, so simple and easy is the way to go to keep them in control.
I hope these ideas help your family have a happy and healthy Winter, let us know of any other products or suggestions you might have in the comments.