We all want to save a buck or two, but not at the expense of our family’s comfort and protection. Weighing the cost of high quality outdoor gear against the amount of time it will take your kids to grow out of said gear doesn’t typically bode well for the family budget. Nikwax is the solution.

If your ultimate goal is to raise active children – who love the outdoors and prefer ripping down a bump run to setting the “highest score” on some couch-bound video game – comfort is key. The same rules that apply to adults work for kids:

Dress in layers (top off with a waterproof-breathable layer for warmer endeavors); If skin isn’t covered by protective gear of some sort (gloves, jacket, goggles), make sure it’s covered by sunscreen, and; Opt for similar materials that you would choose for yourself.

The sticking point is the last one. With quality outerwear easily reaching costs of several hundreds of dollars, it’s hard to justify that sort of expense for a jacket that will only fit for one season. Repurposing gently used snow apparel saves money, minimizes resource use, and is good for the planet. But none of it matters if the apple of your eye is wet and miserable. Nikwax will revive or boost the original performance of used gear to keep your little one happy.

With the small commitment of washing with Nikwax once or twice a season, here are some money-saving solutions for outfitting your family.

1: Look for gear that “grows with” your kids

Several outdoor brands have incorporated “grow with me” features into their kids’ lines. With easy, at-home solutions, the garments expand (in hem, sleeve length, etc.) to keep up with your child’s growth rate. We’d like to give a specific shout out to Obermeyer, whose ‘I-Grow’ System® has proven its value with years of wear for one family.

2: Shop Consignment and Ski Swaps

Most ski towns have an underground ski wear trade of some sort. Check out the local ski clubs and race teams, or hit the local consignment stores and the formal ski swaps. You can find huge deals on kids’ gear. Avoid items with rips, tears, or visible sun fading. Don’t worry about a little dirt. Nikwax has you covered.

3: Dress Up the Hand-Me-Downs

This one can be a little tricky, because a kids’ first ski jacket can be a rite of passage for snow-focused families. But if you can get away with it, try to extend the life of the big-ticket items (like jackets and snow pants) by going with fairly neutral styles and colors. Then, go hog wild with items that have less of a chance of being passed along to younger siblings. Find awesome prints and favorite colors for base layers. Decorate helmets with every sticker known to man.

4: Nikwax It!

Before (1st row) and After (2nd row) gallery

Don’t inadvertently make your child the guinea pig in your fiscal-responsibility experiment. After pulling together the perfect “recycled” outfit, do a full Nikwax wash and proof – as appropriate to the fabric. You’ll have the peace of mind of knowing your offspring will be protected from the elements, and they will feel like they have a brand new outfit.

Waterproof/breathable materials work best when they are clean. Oils and dirt clog the woven “holes” in the membranes that determine their effectiveness. Use: Nikwax Tech Wash and TX.Direct Hint: Tech Wash and TX.Direct are also appropriate for waterproof outerwear with synthetic insulation (prevalent in kids’ ski lines).

Softshells are great for kids, allowing tons of flexibility. Use: Nikwax Tech Wash and Softshell Proof.

Down coats and vests are like giving your little munchkin a warm hug all day long. Your kids will love it as much as you do. UseNikwax Down Wash and Down ProofHint: Yes, you can wash down jackets at home. The key is to use a machine without an agitator (or hand wash) and a down specific cleaner. Nikwax Down Wash and Down Proof are designed to gently clean and reinvigorate the natural loft of the down feathers.

Don’t forget the accessories! Nothing ruins a fun day faster than cold, wet hands. Kids’ gloves and mittens take a beating, so waterproof them frequently. UseNikwax Glove Proof for fabric and fabric/blend gloves, or Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather for leather gloves.

Always feel free to call us with any questions, (800) 563-3057. We’re here to help you and your family enjoy the outdoors.

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