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The FUNemployed Family | The Best Winter Travel Gear for Kids

Wondering what to pack for a winter vacation with your little ones? They key to a successful winter getaway with kids is being prepared, keeping them comfy, and keeping them fed! Today we’re partnering with Iksplor to chat about our favorite gear for winter travel! Be sure to read to the end of this post for our printable packing guide. We’ve made a travel essentials packing list of everything you’ll want to pack for a winter getaway with your kids.

Choosing the right winter gear for your kids

After growing up in crazy cold Midwest winters and spending the past 10 years hitting the slopes in Lake Tahoe, we’ve learned a few things about keeping our bodies warm. And honestly, winter gear has come so far from what it was when we were kids! For starters, merino wool is just the best. It’s lightweight under bulky layers but also durable. It’s easy on the environment and it’s breathable so you don’t sweat. It’s moisture-wicking, but will keep your body warm by insulating. We are huge fans of base layers for skiing that are made from merino wool, which is why we are SO excited to be partnering with Iksplor this winter season.

What is Iksplor?

Iksplor was started by 2 sisters, Karissa and Kailey, who grew up loving everything about the outdoors. They’ve taken that passion and funneled it into high quality merino wool base layers for kids.

On top of developing super soft, durable kids clothing, Iksplor is committed to limiting their environmental footprint. Each of their products is sustainably sourced. They even have a recycling program for their products, which compost in only 6 months!


Planning your winter getaway

In case you’re wondering, YES, Iksplor merino base layers are at the top of our list for kids travel essentials. But there are a few other things we’re stashing in our suitcases to ensure our kids have a great experience in the cold weather too!


Here are our 20 travel essentials to pack for a winter getaway with kids:

  • Iksplor merino baselayers: We’ve already mentioned that these layers are soft and durable, but they are also adorable. Liesel was so excited to wear her base layers, complete with thumb holes, just like Mom’s and Dad’s! Use code THEFUNEMPLOYEDFAMILY25 to receive 25% off your purchase!

  • Good winter hat: We have to give a second shout out to Iksplor again for a having a great wool winter hat! We love cute hats with fluff balls on top, but they don’t fit very well under helmets for skiing and those big crochet knit holes can let a lot of cold air in. So do yourself a favor and make sure to order an Iksplor hat when you are getting base layers for your little ones! Don’t forget to enter THEFUNEMPLOYEDFAMILY25 at checkout for 25% off your purchase!

  • Hand / foot warmers: These little packs are so silly and I used to scoff at people who carried them. Then I actually slid one into my gloves one day and … let’s just say I don’t scoff anymore! These little hand and foot warmers slide into mittens or boots to give you and your kiddos a little boost of warmth when you really need it!

  • Snacks: This kind of goes without saying, because everyone loves snacks! If we’re playing outside or getting ready to go skiing, I usually stash a small bag of these fruit snacks in my coat pocket just in case of a meltdown. They are sweet without being too sugary, small enough to meter them out one-by-one and a fun treat! Sometimes, I even sneak one for myself!

  • Chapstick: Another spot that’s important to protect in cold, dry and windy climates are your lips! I am a huge fan of Carmex, since it has SPF 15 and feels great and refreshing as soon as you put it on.

  • Lightweight puffer jacket: Have you ever tried buckling a child into a car seat with a jacket so puffy that you actually have to extend the straps ALL the way out? We decided that wasn’t going to be our route this winter. We were originally in search of a Patagonia puffer jacket for Liesel, but just couldn’t live with the price tag. We’re so happy we found this alternative on Amazon. It’s been the perfect jacket all winter long. It’s water resistant, fits in car seats, and Liesel loves being a bit more mobile than she is in her thicker winter coat.

  • Bogs winter boots: When we moved back to Michigan about 10 months ago, one of our biggest questions was “what will Liesel wear on her feet this winter?!” We had spent the past 12 months in flip flops and had no idea about how to keep her feet both warm AND dry in the winter snow, slush, and rain. Bogs checked off all these boxes and honestly, these boots rock. Liesel can pull them on and off by herself, which saves us all a lot of headaches! Also, almost ALL of her classmates have these boots, so you know they must be good!

  • Smartwool Socks: Once again, wool is really the best option here for keeping feet warm without getting too sweaty. We love the Smartwool brand for ourselves, and with smaller versions of our favorite socks, we love it for Liesel too! Try the kids size or toddler size to keep the tiniest of toes warm and cozy inside boots.

  • Neck warmer: Guess who wins this category? That’s right, Iksplor makes a merino wool neck warmer that’s perfect for days when the wind won’t give up. Remember to use our promo code, THEFUNEMPLOYEDFAMILY25, to receive 25% off your purchase!

  • Sunscreen for your face: It’s hard to believe, but you can easily get sunburned during the winter! Skin protection is important at every age and we love the Thinkbaby brand sunscreen. This is another brand we’ve previously written about, and it’s no surprise that it’s still our go-to. It’s all-natural, smells great, and is gentle on young and sensitive skin. An added bonus: the tubes are small but the sunscreen is dense, so it’s easy to take with you for a day out on the mountain!

  • Fleece layers: Once you have your merino wool base layer, you’ll want to think about adding a fleece layer on top? Why? Because fleece work with merino wool to lock in warmth and provide extra insulation on the coldest of days. Plus, this pullover’s fun print is super cute and makes for a great spring / fall outer layer too!

  • Swim suits: Don’t forget to pack swimsuits! If you are heading out for a winter getaway to a ski resort, chances are, they will have a heated indoor swimming pool. Why not make it extra fun to dive in with a snowflake swimsuit?!

  • North Face kids gloves: We learned the hard way this winter that Liesel will not wear mittens. She would rather go bare-handed in the snow than have mittens that limit her dexterity. I can’t say I blame her, I’m a glove lover too, so I guess we all know where she gets it from. These gloves from the North Face are perfect for small hands that crave the freedom to build the perfect snowball!

  • Ski goggles: If you are planning on doing any outdoor winter activities (skiing, snowboarding, tubing, etc), you will definitely want a pair of goggles for your littles. A good pair of goggles will protect over half their faces from the elements. They also help improve visibility on sunny and cloudy days with tinted lenses.

  • Helmet: One of our favorite phrases at home is “Is this a safe choice?” And when looking into helmets, the answer is always YES! Ski helmets have grown so much in popularity the past few years, and it’s one trend we love. One thing we learned is that with kids’ helmets, it’s easiest if you try to match the helmet brand and goggle brand. This will ensure that the goggles fit with the helmet and both are comfortable on little heads. We also prefer to get helmets with MIPS technology, which has been proven to reduce trauma to the brain from impact.

  • Snow pants: We prefer overall-style snowpants for Liesel right now mostly because they stay up and keep snow from sneaking in to unwanted places no. We love our Obermayer snowpants because of the I-GROW system that allows you to adjust the length of the pants as your child grows. This version is a slightly different pattern than what we have for Liesel, but I think I might need to buy her a spare pair because these are super cute!

  • Winter coat: Having a winter coat that protects you from the elements is probably the most important thing you can add to your kids’ winter layers! We love Liesel’s Obermayer ski coat because of its zipper pockets (for stashing gloves when not in use), taped seams to keep wind from penetrating, and snow skirt to keep snow away from her body! Is it bulky? Yes. Is it impossible to buckle into a carseat? You bet. But it’s toasty warm and a valuable layer to invest in!

  • Boogie wipes: You will love these wipes. Kids are constantly getting runny noses when they are outside in the winter! These wipes are soft and have just enough saline solution mixed in to keep noses from getting overly stuffed in dry climates. They are such a lifesaver to have on-hand!

  • Small humidifier: If you’ve ever experienced a snowy winter anywhere, you’ll understand why you need a humidifier. Hotels rooms get dry, blankets get filled with static and noses get all stuffed up. And since I love anything portable and collapsible, this tiny travel humidifier gets my vote. Once you fill it up, it works for 6-7 hours. Collapsed, it’s only about 4” x 3” and covers about 90 square feet, so it’s perfect for a hotel room!

  • Packing cubes: It wouldn’t be a FUNemployed Family essentials list without our favorite travel companion, packing cubes! We’ve posted about it before, but these cubes are perfect for organizing your suitcase and making packing / unpacking a breeze. We also love that zipping these packing cubes can help compress some of the bulky layers and jackets you need, saving you valuable suitcase space!

Bringing it all together

Packing for a winter trip can be much more daunting than packing for a beach vacation. There are so many layers to fit into a suitcase and tons of special gear to consider. Be sure to save this post and packing list to make sure you don’t miss any essentials when packing your little ones up for winter adventures! If you’re looking for everything from Amazon in one spot, check out The FUNemployed Shop with packing lists for the winter, what’s in our suitcases, and more!

Now that you’re prepared to pack the perfect suitcase for your little one, hop over to our posts on Traverse City and Charlevoix in the winter and get planning!