WILD Gear: Crocs Rainboots

I stumbled across these boots last year because it’s hard to find plain yellow rainboots that don’t have big heels, and I’m in love these boots.

They are one piece of material, which means boot loops won’t fall off. No matter how “reinforced” they make loop handles, they’re still loops. And with kids pulling the boots on the wrong foot, or trying to force on a sibling’s boots that are much too small… well, it’s just better to have it in one piece. Aurora was able to pull these on herself before she was even 2, which is the main reason we switched from MyMayu boots (which I also love and think have great uses, just having kids put them on themselves is not one of those uses).

Being one piece of material with no liner also means they’re ridiculously easy to dry out if wet. Dump water out, wipe with cloth. Bam, dry boots. The material they’re made of is proprietary so there is part of me that worries about what it’s really made of and whether I’d deem it toxic, but they say it isn’t and we always have wool socks in between. They don’t absorb water and are very light and fairly flexible, and while not truly minimalist footwear they’re close. Every other type of boots we have seen (including Eliza’s awesome flamingo boots) have a liner inside that will stay wet once it gets wet. If you’re saying “but Kristin, the insides won’t get wet since they’re waterproof!” you probably don’t have toddlers yet, or spend time around big puddles or lakes. They WILL go over the tops of their boots. But that’s ok, it’s part of the fun, and if they’re wearing thick wool socks they’ll stay warm even when they get soaked in icy cold Alaskan water.

I love them enough to buy 7 new pairs, in the same color, when I found a good deal, to make our collection of them 11 between the 3 kids. They retail for $34.99, but I’ve found them in the low $20s a bunch of time. Obviously I have a thing about matching so when I found every size except 13s for sale for $21, I bought those and was fine paying $34.99 for the 13s that Zane needed to size up to.

Also, when you buy every size in something like we do for rain boots and snow boots, you always have backup pairs. Because kids can easily go up a size (or sometimes even down a size) if something happens to their main pair (like you can’t find them in your disaster of a van ;)).

Baby size 6 through Big Kid size 2

#wildgear #gear #crocs #raingear #rain #crocsrainboots

WILD Gear: Rain Bibs

We have always used and loved Oakiwear suits for the rain, but after seeing these as suggested gear for Zane’s forest school last year we have been hooked on them! The wildlings wear exclusively wool clothing, it’s all handwash. And wool cleans up great, but I spend a LOT of time washing their muddy stuff in the sink. Since the bibs aren’t a full rainsuit but offer kneeling protection around lakes, they’re an obvious choice for a lot of the hiking we do, even in the summer since it doesn’t get too hot here (usually, let’s not talk about this past summer…). We have tried two different brands: Polarn O Pyret (Aurora’s teal ones and Zane’s forest green ones he sized up to this year), and Playshoes (Zane’s navy ones and Eliza’s pink ones). Polarn are much thicker, and therefore more durable but also warmer. They have more minimalist clips and the Playshoes clips are a chunkier standard clip. Playshoes have some snaps on the sides so you can reduce the gap, and that’s a nice feature. Both have bottom straps that you can loosen and tighten with buttons. Both work well for us, but for our cold climate we will be buying Polarn going forward. Though I can see myself having a pair of Playshoes pairs for each kid for warmer weather exploring.

The bibs also layer great with a rain coat over the top, or a Disana boiled wool jacket, or our favorite Sloomb merino cardigans.

I try to encourage bib use in our sandpit too, for their comfort and again… laundry and SAND…. oh it just gets EVERYWHERE. It’s also nice to use when the sand pit is flooded because this is the kid of puddle-swimming that really is begging for all the waterproof layers you’ve got.

#rain #rainbibs #wildgear #gear #polarnopyret #playshoes

WILD Gear: Oakiwear Suits

Oakiwear rainsuits are one of our most used pieces of gear. We started getting them back when Zane was 1.5. Back then, they constructed differently, more on that later. They’re a staple piece of gear for us and since we own them in every size we always have odd sizes in the car and even sizes in the house. The sizing is very flexible and you can easily size up because of the drawstring in the middle which you can really cinch, but since we wear them so much we invested in each size.

You will maybe hear me talk a lot about SAND. We LOVE sand, don’t get me wrong. The sandpit was one of the best things we ever put in. And the dump truck delivering 26,000 pounds of sand was up there too. Rainsuits are great when the sand is damp, when it’s spring and the sandpit is a giant puddle, or even when it’s cool and dry so sand doesn’t get evvvvverywhere.

Speaking of sand getting everywhere… sooooo good for babies even on days when there isn’t rain.. having either this on or the Disana boiled wool suit prevents a diaper full of sand. You know how fun a sandy diaper is right?

The full raingear setup for some sand pit play in the rain:

I’m still new and I don’t know why this will only display sideways here…

We have used Oakisuits in the winter, if it’s really wet snow they work well layered over a Disana Boiled Wool Bunting (another of our absolute favorites!), but they need a really good insulating layer. They also work well over down. Here Aurora has them paired with Stonz Mittens and a wool balaclava.

When we really really really want to be waterproof, we layer oakisuits under polarn o pyret rain bibs (or playshoes rain bibs). It’s an extra waterproof layer and helps keep them warmer too. The bibs are absolutely impermeable, and they also add extra durability because my kids love to crawl on trails.

The older style Oakisuits were a two-toned grey material with taped seams in the same color. The latest suits have a white interior with clear seam-taping. There are pros and cons to each iteration of the Oaki suits. While I do feel the old suits were better at being waterproof and breathable, the new suits have wider openings for boots and that’s handy because the old ones were quite narrow, and they have a brim to keep rain out of little eyes. The leg opening was huge for a lot of families we know but we put our boots on after our suits so it doesn’t really matter. The neoprene cuffs on all the suits are an awesome feature. I should qualify that I have no stats for the new ones being less waterproof/breathable besides the feel of the material and experience with it, though it’s our smaller sizes (1T, 2T, and 3T) that are in that older construction and the bigger sizes (4T, 5/6, and 6/7) are newer… so it is possible that bigger kids are just rougher on gear (well, that’s definitely true) and therefore soak through more easily.. but just feeling the fabric it it doesn’t feel as nice. The ratings of the current suits are waterproof to 8,000mm and breathability to 3,000mvp. This is still quite respectable and definitely waterproof from rain, but less so when they’re rolling around on wet tundra, in puddles, in sandboxes. In many respects it’s too much to ask of raingear, and I’ve often joked about getting the kids drysuits (and was only sort of joking…). Still, Oakiwear is the best option we have found for our kids.

Old construction vs new construction. Old is grey new is white. Newer also has a bit more of a hood brim which is a welcome addition, although I’d still make it bigger it really does help keep the rain out of the big kid’s eyes, and Aurora often asks to wear her rainhat because hers doesn’t have one.

3 layer goretex-like fabric on left (older), and new material on right
Hood brim on the left (new style)

We treat our waterproof gear with Nikwax products, as often as I feel like doing it. Which is not very often. We try to keep them clean because dirty gear means it’s less breathable, but with the mountain of laundry these little ones go through it doesn’t happen as often as it should. Still, we play hard in these and they have held up awesome!

#oakiwear #oakisuit #rain #raingear #gear #wildgear