The Best Gear for Forest School: Learning in all Weather
In this post: Recommendations from an outdoor educator about gear for learning outside in all weather with your little ones. The best gear for forest school. This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.
The first days of Forest School are here, and one of the biggest questions I get from families is always about the right gear. With no indoor space, our motto is always “no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing” with the belief that in the right gear, we can have fun in any weather we find ourselves in!
I wanted to share my favorite pieces of gear for a great year of learning outside. A lot of these pieces are investment pieces, and I always look to buy them used (on Poshmark or Kidizen) and then always sell them once my kiddos outgrow them if they are in good condition. That lets me get the best bang for my buck, and makes it easier to afford all this gear for each kid.
Table of Contents - Find your Perfect Gear
The Best Gear for Forest School & Playing Outside
The Best Rain Boots for Kids
We wear rain boots every day in forest school to help protect us from bugs, snakes, and all kinds of weather. The problem with most rain boots is that they don’t have great traction, and they can often leave kids with super sweaty feet! We have tried all kinds of rain boots, and these are the best rain boots we have found for kids.
Our favorite rain boots for kids
- Plae Thandi boots are our clear favorite. They are lightweight, flexible, waterproof, and have amazing traction! For us, they are the best everyday rain boots out there. If your child has super wide feet, these might be tricky to put on all the time though! Check out more favorites down below if you’re worried about wide feet. You can save 20% here on Plae boots here!
More favorites rain boots for kids:
Our Favorite Rain Gear for Kids
Once you have dry feet handled, it’s time to focus on keeping your little ones dry for wet weather. Raincoats and rain pants are essential to have on hand. Some people also love full body rain suits. Having good rain gear that will actually keep your kids dry outside is crucial.
The best rain gear for kids
Rain Pants for Kids:
We always prefer the bib style rain pants and really love the ones from Polarn O. Pyret. They are sized generously and will definitely fit your child for a whole year, maybe even two!
Reima Rain pants are another great affordable option with amazing quality! Celavi Rain pants are another awesome and affordable option for kids who love to play in the rain!
Wool Base Layers to Live In
If I could live in wool every moment of the day, I totally would. I know so many people have assumptions that wool can be itchy or hot, but if you get merino wool it is breathable, light, and insanely comfortable! I love using wool base layers for the whole year, but especially when it starts to cool off. It stays warm when wet, helps regulate your body temperature, and is perfect for outdoor play. One problem is that wool base layers can be expensive. For school you really only need one or two sets, one to wear and one to change into if it gets wet. I always always always try to buy my wool on sale or used, it is an incredibly durable fabric and can be passed down a lot!
Our favorite base layers for kids
- Nui Organics wool base layers are some of our favorites! They last a long time and can be used as hand-me-downs for all your kids. use code NINOS15
- I love these Thermolite base layers from Reima for quick-dry clothes in any weather too! Use code NINOS20 to save 20%!
- Chasing Windmill base layers are super soft and comfortable.
More great base layers for kids
Our Favorite Mid Layers for Kids
I love layering kids when it’s chilly out because they can always get warm from play and then remove layers easily. For cold weather we always do: wool base, mid layer and then outer final layer (like snow pants) if it is really cold. If it’s just starting to get chilly but it’s wet you can do base layer, mid layer and rain pants.
Our favorite mid layers for kids
- Fleece lined mid layer – to stay extra cozy
- We love these wool mid layers from Chasing Windmill Kids!
- Fleece pants with waterproof shell from Reima are an awesome option too!
- I also really love the boiled wool pants and overalls from Disana because they are thick, comfortable and water resistant!
- Having a down vest is also a great layer to have on hand in cold weather.
The Best Outerwear for Kids
Once you have the base layers down, and dry feet for your kids, you need to perfect outer layer to keep all the warmth in! These can be layered on top of mid layers on extra chilly days, or worn on their own.
Our favorite outer wear for kids
- For those of us living in a slightly warmer climate, these lightweight down jackets are the perfect outer layer!
- If you have snow, or extreme temperatures, these winter jackets from Reima are perfect. Warm, water proof, and everything you need in a jacket. These last for years and can be passed down from kid to kid! Use code: NINOS20 to save on any Reima purchase!
Cold Weather Accessories
One of the last and most important steps of getting your kids ready for forest school in cold weather is getting gloves and hats! These are some awesome options for gloves and hats for kiddos who love to play outside.
Our favorite cold weather accessories for kids
Backpacks & Lunch Gear
Having a great backpack is so important for your little ones to be able to carry their own gear! You don’t want one that is too big, otherwise they would be weighed down too much. We really love the REI Tarn Backpack, Deuter kids bags, the Osprey Daylite, and the Osprey Tempest for extra space. These are all compact but give you enough room to fit a small lunch box, change of clothes and water bottle. For lunchboxes, the Shuttle box from Planetbox is an awesome size, you can either grab that one or look for one with similar dimensions. We also really like these bento boxes and see them a lot in our student’s backpacks!
Other brands we love and coupon codes to save:
Oaki – 25% off with code NINOSANDNATURE
Reima – 20% off with code NINOS20
Nui Organics – 15% off with code NINOS15
My favorite sites for buying on sale or used gear:
Poshmark –use NAOMISKIEE for $10 off your first order!
If these brands are out of your price range new, that is okay! That are often out of mine too (which is why I buy second hand as much as I can). You can find brands that fit into your budget, just make sure you check the label to look for 100% wool or synthetic (stays warm when wet) and know that you don’t need a ton of clothes! One or two outfits is enough to have something dry to change into and something clean to wear.
Even if your littles aren’t in forest school but you love to spend a lot of time outside, this gear will help keep everyone happy and comfortable in any weather! Am I missing any of your favorites? What is your favorite gear for your family and little ones?