What if my child is between sizes? [Back to Top]
Sizing in most brands is generally based on average sizes for a given age, so it is not uncommon to find that your child does not fit exactly into a set of measurements. If, when deciding the size you need based on the provided size charts, you find that your child falls between two sizes, we generally advise choosing the larger size. When it comes to cold weather gear, a little extra room is always better than having a jacket or pant that is a little too small. HOWEVER, if you go too big, it will create drafting and will actually chill your child more than not, so never size up two sizes in hopes to get a longer life with the garment. Keep in mind, the majority of our outerwear brands do feature an extended growth system for Ages 0-8 sized outwear. Please reference our FAQ “Which Brands Run Big/Small?” for additional information on sizing.
Please note: your child may fall into the correct inseam or sleeve length for a particular item, but is below the given weight or age range. In cases such as this, we recommend referencing length measurements to determine size, as these typically give the best indication of fit.
What is the difference between waterproof and water-resistant? [Back to Top]
The difference between what are referred to as waterproof garments, and those that are simply water resistant, comes down to the amount of precipitation they can handle based on their features and construction. Water-resistant outerwear typically relies on a durable water repellant, or DWR, that is applied to the exterior fabric. This does a great job at repelling stains and light rain or snow, but will not protect during extended or heavy precipitation. This coating can most commonly be found on down insulator jackets and softshells. These are great jackets on their own for fall and spring, or as mid layers under a shell jacket in the winter.
Waterproof outerwear almost always has a DWR coating, plus sealed seams and includes an additional layer beneath the face fabric consisting of a waterproof membrane. These jackets and pants are meant to be barriers against all forms of water as well as wind, and are essential when skiing or snowboarding in cold, snowy or wet conditions. Having fully waterproof gear helps ensure that your child will stay warm and dry, whether it’s skiing the local resort or waiting for the bus.
How do I determine the correct helmet size for my child? [Back to Top]
Measuring your child to determine their helmet size is very easy. Simply measure the distance around the child’s head, starting just above the eyebrows and wrapping all the way around. Once you have this circumference in centimeters, simply locate the size that your measurement corresponds to. Due to adjustable fit systems included in all of the helmets we carry, sizes will be represented as a range. For example, some of our smaller kids ski helmets cover head sizes from 48-53 centimeters, and others 53-58 cm. Please reference our informational video on helmet sizes and fits for more information.
The jacket/pants I purchased feel too thin, are they warm enough? [Back to Top]
Outerwear technology is constantly changing and evolving, with manufacturers always seeking to find new ways of making their winter garments lighter and less cumbersome while maintaining optimum levels of warmth and comfort. The old adage that the thickest and heaviest jackets are the warmest does not necessarily apply to modern skiwear. The vast majority of insulated kids winter jackets and pants contain very similar amounts of insulation. Weight is often a result of heavier face fabrics, and additional features such as powder skirts, hoods, extra pockets, and so on.
Often, lighter waterproof jackets are a sign of increased quality, due to the use of high tech and lightweight fabrics and insulations to achieve the same end result as heavier garments. Please note that layering can also play a very important role in how warm your child stays outdoors. Layering incorrectly can render even the most insulated clothing useless. If you have questions regarding the potential warmth of a particular item, it can be helpful to reference the specific product’s description. Please feel free to contact us if you are unable to find the information you need.
What are the differences between different down fill levels? [Back to Top]
Generally, most down garments come in fill levels between 550 and 800. The vast majority of the kids down jackets we sell are either 550 or 600 fill, with 550 being the most common by far. These numbers represent the loft of the down used, and therefore it’s ability to trap heat. These fill levels are determined by taking an ounce of down in various types and measuring the amount of space it takes up. The more space the down takes up, the more warm air it can trap and use to insulate.
For instance, an ounce of 700 fill down has a higher loft than 550 fill, so it will take less 700 fill down at a lower weight to achieve the same level of warmth as a larger amount of 550. This means that higher-loft down jackets can be extremely lightweight and still maintain high levels of warmth. Additionally, higher fill down jackets compress much more readily, as they tend to use less filling. Though 600 fill does rank higher than 550, the difference between these two types of down is extremely small. In kids clothing, higher down fills are sometimes used in heavier, more waterproof jackets to counteract the additional weight of heavier fabrics and features.
How do I wash my outerwear? [Back to Top]
Keeping your child’s ski jackets and pants clean can extend the useful life of the outerwear by several seasons. Don’t be afraid to wash your garments, but be sure to follow these guidelines when you do:
Start by zipping up all zippers and attach all Velcro before loading. Zipper sliders and teeth can easily be damaged in the washer and/or dryer. Velcro gets clogged up with fuzz from other garments and can snag your other clothes, causing damage to both.
DO NOT USE THE FOLLOWING ON YOUR GARMENT:
- Bleach: It can damage the waterproofing and other performance coatings.
- Fabric Softener or Standard Liquid Detergent: It will clog the pores of technical fabrics and can damage the waterproof coating, greatly reducing the performance (waterproof/breathability) of the garment.
- Iron: You may damage the performance of your technical fabric, or worse, melt the fabric itself.
- Dry Cleaning: Dry cleaning products can damage the performance of your technical fabric.
Much of today’s technical outerwear can be easily cleaned with specialty cleaning products.
When washing waterproof ski clothing with synthetic insulation, we recommend using a waterproof-specific detergent; such as the Nikwax Tech Wash we carry on WinterKids.com. This environmentally safe detergent works to gently remove dirt and grim from outerwear, helping maintain breathability. Tech Wash also revitalizes the water repellant coating found on the exterior of waterproof garments. After a single wash cycle, throw your technical kids outerwear in the dryer on a medium setting for five-ten minutes, just enough to warm them up, then remove and air dry. This helps stand up the microscopic fibers on the exterior of the jacket or pant, which can flatten during the washing process, and is recommended for optimum water repellency.
For washing puffy down jackets, we similarly recommend down specific washes such as the Nikwax Down Wash. This soap-based detergent gently cleans down products without harming the DWR coating. When drying down clothing, it is extremely important that it is done thoroughly, as down feathers can clump during the wash cycle. Down that has clumped together loses its loft and warmth, and can potentially mold over time if not allowed to dry fully. A standard practice is to throw several clean tennis balls in with the jacket during the drying cycle, to help break up the clumping and help fluff the down.
Please Note: the above guidelines represent our recommendations and opinions as outerwear professionals. It is always best to follow the individual care instructions printed on the tags of any outerwear you purchase, as certain items may have specific washing requirements due to fabrics or features such as faux fur hoods. If you have questions on the care of a particular item, please feel free to contact us, and we will do our best to assist you.
Which jackets/pants run big/small? [Back to Top]
Similar to everyday clothing, no two brands of kid’s winter clothing fit exactly the same. Additionally, ski versus snowboard clothing can fit differently.
Generally speaking, junior outerwear (ages 6-16), from brands more closely tied to snowboarding, tends to run a little big. These brands include DC, Burton, Bonfire, 686, and Volcom. Outerwear from these brands tends to have a little more room, and can be slightly longer than other brands, though the difference in sizes is not enough that we would recommend sizing down from what your child normally wears.
Junior outwear from skiing and outdoors companies tends to fit more true to size, and sometimes can run a little slim. The outdoors brands such as Columbia, The North Face, and Patagonia all run fairly true to size, and rely on a more general fit. With ski brands, such as Obermeyer and Spyder, garments can range from true to size, to fitting a little slimmer. Spyder products in particular take on much more of a sleek, form-fitting design. Again, the size difference is not enough that you should size up, but do take into account the thickness of the midlayers your child will be wearing, as some bulkier items may have trouble fitting under these jackets
What we typically hear back about most little kids outerwear, covering ages 0-6, is that it runs a little big. Most outerwear in this age range tends to be somewhat boxy in shape, as it is hard to make garments that small tailored. Also this helps the jacket or pants fit a wider range of kids, whose sizes and shapes vary at this age. Here you may notice some extra room through the body of the jacket, or a little extra length in the pants. A lot of companies also factor in that your child is growing rapidly at this age, and the extra room can help the garment maintain it’s useful life longer.
If you have specific questions regarding the sizing or fit of a particular product, please feel free to contact us.
What type of ski jacket should I purchase? [Back to Top]
The majority of the kid’s jackets we sell on WinterKids.com can be classified as either waterproof, or water-resistant. When deciding which jacket is best for you, it is important to consider the conditions in which your child will be wearing the garment.
Waterproof and insulated jackets are great for everyday winter wear, as well as a variety of outdoor activities including skiing and snowboarding. The waterproofing and extra insulation ensures that they can play in the snow all day, while still staying warm and dry. Jackets that have a water-resistant exterior, or DWR coating as it’s called, only repel light rain and snow, and will allow moisture through after extended use in precipitation or wet conditions.
These types of jackets, which you’ll see as either puffy down insulator jackets or the occasional softshell, work great as stand alone pieces in mild, dry climates, during warmer skiing sessions, or during fall and spring. When the weather takes a turn for the worse, or the temperature plummets, throw one of these jackets on under a ski jacket for an extremely warm midlayer. Down puffy jackets work particular well as midlayers, as they are extremely light and packable for the level of warmth they provide.
Another great use for the water-resistant jackets we carry is as an active outer layer in dry weather. These garments tend to breathe more than most insulated waterproof jackets, so they work great during hikes, snowshoeing and other active winter activities where a fully insulated jacket might be too warm.