Must-Have Winter Items for Outdoorsy Families

family in snow
Check out these must-have winter items for outdoorsy families.

Even though it’s only November, here on the Seacoast we are preparing for winter and winter recreation. I know at my house, I’m pulling out the parkas, making sure the snow pants still fit, and shopping around for the kids skis for the season. I’ve learned the best way to get through our long winters is to embrace them by spending lots of quality time together as a family in the snow and cold. Here are my must-have winter items for outdoorsy families.

Wilderness First Aid Kit

I recommend all families carry a first aid kit year round, however, in my experience the winter has been the time I’ve needed it most. Ice and snow make for fast and hard injuries and it’s good to be prepared. Last year, just a half mile from the car, my son slipped while sliding down a trail and gashed his head with ice. Although not serious, the head wound made for a lot of blood and a hysterical kid. Later in the winter, my dog sliced her paw open a few miles from the trailhead. With my first aid kit, I was able to bandage wounds until we could get medical care. 

I personally have my own first aid kit that I’ve made based on my wilderness first aid training, but if you’re looking for a complete pre-made kit, there are many family adventure first aid kits available online. I’d recommend adding children’s pain meds, benadryl, and some hand warmers to whatever you get. Take the kit with you when you’re sledding, skiing, hiking, and ice fishing this winter to make sure the family is safe and healthy!

Ice traction

Seacoast trails get iced over for much of the winter. Make these trails accessible through the winter with microspikes / snow cleats for the family. For the past few years, I’ve taken my kids on slick trails, frozen ponds, and icy paths with the help of traction. I’ve used a couple kid-friendly snow cleats but these from amazon are currently my fave for kids. Simply pull them over their snow boots when you hit some ice. For myself, I prefer either Kahtoola or Hillsound brand. These have been reliable traction that even allowed me to safely hike on icey trails while pregnant. The Seacoast has a lot of really great trails to explore in winter – here are five of mine.

kid with ice cleats
My kids are able to easily walk on ice and snow with microspikes.

Thermos with a Hot Beverage

My kids favorite part of winter hiking is our hot chocolate breaks! Purchase a small thermos and bring some reusable winter coffee cups for a hot beverage break when winter hiking, sledding, ice fishing, skiing, and more! Prepare the hot cocoa ahead of time and use it as an incentive for pushing through an adventure. Grown ups will appreciate this warm up too! Check out our recommendation of some non-coffee hot beverages to bring in your thermos.

mom and kid drink hot beverage outside
Hot beverages make winter recreation better.

Trail Sleds

If you plan on winter hiking this year, bring a trail sled! For little kids, I use a plastic sled outfitted with a tow rope. This makes winter hiking especially fun. For older kids, teens, and adults, hike with “butt-sleds”. These lightweight plastic sleds allow kids (and adults) to slide down trails on a winter hike. It brings whimsy and fun to a snowy hike. Not sure where to hike with a sled on the Seacoast? Check out my list of sledale Seacoast nature trails.

parent pulls kids on sleds in snow
A sledable trail is a great way to enjoy the Seacoast in winter!

Winter is the perfect time to recreate on the Seacoast

These must-have winter items for outdoorsy families will keep your time outdoors safe and enjoyable. Whether you’re going for a Seacoast winter hike or sledding down a local snow hill, it’s important to be prepared. Make sure everyone is dressed in quality outdoor apparel that protects you from wet and cold. In addition to the items above, I always pack an extra set of dry clothes, blanket, extra snacks, and water back at the car. This way, we are prepared for anything that comes our way.