It’s that time of year and I have been checking out the winter sales to stock up on my family’s winter essentials. Most of them are discounted in January and you can save them for next year. I acknowledge that I am very strange but there are a few things that I MUST have. As a stay-at-home mom, I try my best to save a little money where I can. I am very fortunate that I have two boys that are 12 months and 13 days apart. Not only are they both boys, but are the same size in the same season…for now anyways. Lucky me! I don’t mind spending a little more for some things because two kids will get use of it – if the quality is good.
I keep a list for the season of the essential items we will need. It’s not wise to wait until there is 10” of snow on the ground and realize we don’t have snow pants for the little one. Dangerous situation there. So, I keep a list and keep track of the items I purchased last year for this year and so on. My list is fairly general. It probably looks a lot like everyone else’s. However, there are a few things on my list that are non-negotiable and no substitutions. I have learned my lesson over the years. Not everything is made equal. This is even more true if you have boys. Do they tear up their clothes for fun? I really don’t know, but this is my list of winter essentials for those rough and tumble guys.
Full disclosure: no affiliate links or advertising here. This is really my list of winter essentials made before I even started a blog. I didn’t include links to anything because I don’t want to push anything on you. Just a friend showing her obsessive list to another non-judgmental friend, right? I do mention in the post where you can get these items should anything strike your fancy.
You will notice that half of my winter essentials list is from Lands’ End. Years ago, I first bought some of their iron knee jeans and it has slowly expanded from there. It’s not that crazy! They have great quality and really good sales in January which allow me to pick up some of their more expensive items. So, I don’t care if it’s weird. If I find something better, I will replace them.
Lands’ End Iron Knee Jeans
We’ll start at the beginning I suppose. Lands’ End makes this line for boys and girls 2T all the way up to 20. They have pants in this line as well. The knees of the pants have a nylon reinforcement for durability – the iron knee. Don’t worry, you can’t see it. These are a good weight denim and come with adjustable waste and hook closure. That is handy for the little guys. I typically buy another brand of denim too. Usually Levi’s, but the knees rarely make it through both of my boys. We have yet to put a hole in the knee of one pair of these Lands’ End jeans. That speaks volumes. Lands’ End jeans run a bit bigger and longer than Levi’s. They come in slim, relaxed, and classic fit and the Big Boy sizes include husky sizes as well. Lands’ End recently changed the denim so I will keep an eye out to make sure the quality didn’t decrease. My boys do all their “working” in these jeans so they take a beating and wash up great. These are the best denim that I have found at this price.
Warm Mist Humidifier
This is a must have and one I learned the hard way. After many times cleaning blood out of the mattress with Resolve carpet cleaner, I figured out that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Running a humidifier in their room in the winter keeps their noses moist and helps when they have runny noses. This is the one we have. You can pick any of them up at your local Walmart or wherever. It is easy to fill and has an optional medicine tray if you want to vaporize some Vick’s. This one works well in their small room and can run overnight on high. It’s a little noisy but I think all the warm mist ones are.
3. Lands’ End Stormer Jacket
I first bought these jackets last year after my oldest informed me that he no longer liked his thick winter coat. Super. It’s not like he had a huge coat so this was a bit of a puzzle. So, I found these jackets. They are lightweight. A water and wind resistant material with a thin layer of fleece on the inside. It says they are rated for down to 30°F but looking at them, it is hard to believe. Check out the reviews on it. A bunch of people sent it back without even trying it. Well I tried it. These are surprisingly warm. My boys have never come in to put on their older heavier coat. They prefer to layer for warmth so they can move around. The hood has elastic sides but no drawstring which would be nice. These are available in boys and girls’ sizes 2T all the way to 18-20. My boy’s favorite thing about them is the snow guard wrist cuffs. These are the fleece pieces at the end of the sleeves that they put their hand through like a half glove. Those things are a huge hit with kids. Most of the time, you can pick one of these up for under $30 in January. Overall, these are very versatile coats and have made it onto our every year list.
A note about the two lines of outerwear at Lands’ End. You will notice everything is either the Stormer line or the Squall line. They make parkas, jackets, 3-in-1’s, etc. for each line. The main difference is the outer material. On the Stormer line it is water and wind resistant and is a slick and soft material. On the Squall line, the material is windproof and waterproof and is rougher and not slick like the Stormer. So now you know the difference and can make the choice that best suits your needs.
Muck Chore Boots
Can’t live without these boots. Initially we received a pair of Muck boots for my oldest boy as a gift. We were hooked. These things are incredibly durable. We haven’t worn a pair out yet and that is through 2 boys. We were getting the Rover camouflage boots but this year they started making the classic chore boot for kids. They are exactly like the ones my husband wears. The Chore boot only comes in classic black. The Rover only comes in the camouflage. They also make a Hale boot that comes in all different colors for boys and girls if you like some flair. Muck boots come in sizes from 8C and up. All three of these models are good for wear year-round. They are the only boots we buy. They are our snow boots and our work boots. We wear our boots a lot. They are expensive and are rarely on sale, so I just suck this one up. I spend the money and I feel like I get my money’s worth every time.
Lands’ End Squall Snow Pants
Another Lands End must have. My boys don’t care for snow bibs and really never have. So, we have always preferred snow pants. These are very pricey but I pick them up during the January sales for more than half off. They are the Squall line so the material is waterproof and very durable. They have the iron knee in the knees and the behind so no ripped pants from sledding. These are so wind and waterproof that my boys don’t wear pants underneath, just the long underwear (see below) to play in the snow. They have zippered hip pockets, zippered ankles, and elastic underneath the bottom to keep out snow. They come in boys and girls starting at size 4. Some slim and husky sizes are also available. I have my boys wear these when it is crazy muddy out as well and they clean up great in the washer. The only thing that can sometimes fray them is repeatedly rubbing against concrete such as our porch if the pants are a little long. All in all, a must have for snowy weather.
This product is the ultimate skin fixer and a requirement for winter. It heals everything from chapped lips to raw wind burned skin. It is odorless and colorless so you can use it anywhere. I use just a little to coat little cheeks before they go out to play and under little runny noses that have become raw from wiping. Easy to find this at your local Walmart, Target, or Walgreens.
Lands’ End Long Underwear
These moisture wicking, heat generating long underwear are worn a lot in our house. They aren’t as thin and slick as other sets. These are a bit thicker and made of a type of polyester. They are soft but not slick at all. The warmth is real though. My guys wear these on days we stay home – all day! They also work well as pajamas. We wear them under those snow pants above and that is all we need to play in the snow. My boy’s love the built-in thumb holes so their sleeves don’t get bunched up. These wash great and don’t snag like other brands. They come in cool prints and solid colors for boys and girls.
We bought our first set of these bibs before our first guy was born. They are so damn cute! They make them for 3 month olds even with little snaps along the inseam so you can change the diaper. That Carhartt fabric is super durable. They have adjustable suspenders and come in every size. Some are lined and some are not so pay attention when ordering. Lined ones can get pretty toasty! These can’t be beat for a day cutting and hauling wood.
Lands’ End Balaclava
This is one of those things I stumbled upon by accident. How are we supposed to know if something will freak the kids out or if they will refuse to take it off? Impossible to know really. I didn’t know if the boys would even keep these on when I ordered them, but I wanted to protect those poor little cheeks. They are made of a lightweight fleece that doesn’t make their head sweaty. They love to play outside and don’t pay much attention to little things like frostbite. Turns out, these became a new favorite and replaced all stocking caps in their wardrobe.
Under Armour Storm Armour Fleece Big Logo Pants
These are the newest to my list. I found these right before Christmas in a local sporting goods store. I went in to buy a Christmas gift and they were having a big sale on all things fleece. Probably because we are having the mildest winter ever, but they were a good deal. These are little versions of those awesome fleece pants you like to lay around in all winter. I couldn’t get him to take these off for days. They are really nice quality, super comfy and warm. Maybe too warm sometimes. He says they are too warm some days at school. They come in big kid sizes 7 and up and have an elastic waistband with a drawstring. You can find them at Academy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, or Under Armour.com.
Well, that’s my must-have list of winter essentials. Hope something on the list is helpful to you. Leave me a comment if you have something else to add to this list. We would all love to hear about it! As always, you can email me at [email protected] with any questions and don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter so you won’t miss any of my neurotic lists! The sign up is in the sidebar over there ->!