December 3, 2021

Snowshoeing with Kids: Basic Rules and Snowshoeing Gear

by Roger

In the present day, one of the easiest and least expensive ways for enjoying winter days with your kids is snowshoeing. Snowshoeing with kids is full of fun. 

Typically, snowshoeing refers to hiking activity that involves walking on top or over the snow. Like adults, kids’ snowshoes also have a design that helps displace their weight over a large area to prevent them from sinking. Snowshoeing is an easy activity that is full of fun. 

There is no need for prior experience unless, probably, teaching the kids how to walk forward and make a U-turn. The involved fun is usually sufficient motivation to stir the children or newbies without struggling too much.

Table of Contents

Basic Rule: Ensure Kids are Comfortable

Snowshoeing is an activity that involves floating and it is a quite different experience than kids snowboarding. As a result, the kids are always dry.

Once they start snowshoeing, they will quickly get warm due to the energy released as they exercise. The best clothing to wear during cold or wet days is long underwear accompanied by a light jacket. Shorts and t-shirts are the preferable outfits for days that are partly sunny. 

This is How a Snowshoeing Outfit Looks Like

  • Jackets: During winter days, one should wear a light shell jacket and a long underwear top. In addition, the coat should be resistant to water and wind. As a matter of rule, it is good to avoid insulated jackets since they are too warm and may render snowshoeing unenjoyable on some snowshoe trips. 
  • Pants: Usually, the best pants are those made from wool or synthetic material on the inside. This should also include a weave that repels water. They should be loose to facilitate ease of movement. Note that long underwear under lightweight shell pants can serve the same purpose for a child. It is advisable to avoid cotton and jeans pants. Instead, lightly insulated ski pants can work on most short snowshoe adventures and are recommendable for children. 
  • Long underwear: Generally, skiing, even at the slightest speed, is sufficient to warm up the body. Frosty days require a lightweight undershell that holds close to the skin. Therefore, choosing synthetic fabrics or wool that can wick any moisture and dry fast is significant. Furthermore, the tops and bottoms must be close-fitting.
  • Insulation layer: If your adventure includes stopping for breaks, you should pack some woolen sweaters, a lightweight down coat, and a fleece jacket. There are to be worn by the children during breaks since the body is likely to grow cold. 
  • Socks:  The socks you select for snowshoeing with kids should consist of synthetic fibers or woolen. Avoid selecting those made from cotton. They should also be long enough so that they extend up to or above the calf. Including light padding underfoot, on the shins, and in front of the ankles is essential for cushioning the ankles and feet. 
  • Gloves: The suitable gloves are light woolen or synthetic fiber ones. Equipment made from woolen materials will keep you warm even when they get wet. The ones with palm reinforcement are more appropriate since they are water-resistant and more durable. Waterproof gloves are best for wet and cold conditions.
  • Hat: The recommended hats are lightweight synthetic or woolen ones for days that are chilly. 
  • Accessories: Ensure to carry an excellent child-specific pack. This pack can take a snack, a water bottle with insulator sleeve, and an extra jacket. It must be well-fitting, probably with padded shoulder straps. If the adventure is a longer one, it is recommendable to carry a hot beverage. An insulated bottle will help to carry the drink.

Snowshoeing Gear Shopping Tips

  • Snowshoes: The snowshoes for youths are usually one size that fits all. Their sizes depend on the child’s weight than on their foot size. They have bindings that can adjust to meet the various types of footwear and accommodate the growing feet. If the child’s weight reaches or surpasses 80 to 90 pounds, selecting the designed shoes for women is preferable. The shoes are usually shorter than the standard unisex snowshoes. They are also light with few materials used to make them. Moreover, they are cheaper than the standard ones.
  • Footwear: Most of the snowshoes’ bindings help to accommodate anything from ski boots to sneakers. However, the excellent choice is lightweight, covered winter boots that contain an excellent ankle flex. Trail shoes and hiking boots can also work if they have water-resistant or waterproof uppers. 
  • Gaiters: Gaiters provide a seal usually positioned between the bottom of the pants and the top of the boot. The most common ones typically extend to the calf while covering the laces of the boot. It is recommendable to find a gaiter that does not allow snot to creep to the top of the boot. The gaiter should also not soak the pant legs. They help to keep the kids dry and warm. 
  • Poles: Poles make snowshoeing an easy event, especially when moving over terrain that is hard to predict as up the hill. Alpine ski poles and trekking poles are the best for kids. Note that the ones with large baskets are recommendable since they enhance stability. They also prevent the poles from sinking too deep into the snow. Arms should be positioned at a 90-degree angle while the child is holding the handgrip. Usually, it is easy to get poles since most shops rent them out together with snowshoes. In case you are buying poles for the kids, buy poles that have adjustable shafts. This will make it possible to extend them to a suitable length as the kid grows older.

How to Start Snowshoeing with Kids

  • It is easy to learn snowshoeing: There are no lessons needed as anyone that can walk can also snowshoe. Learning on a flat train is the best for beginners. Typically, most ski resorts have trails that follow roads full of snow. On the other hand, golf courses in snow areas are usually the best for cross-country skiers and snowshoers.
  • Joining a snowshoe group is ideal: Another way to enhance fun is by joining other snowshoeing groups rather than doing it with your child alone. This will help to create new friendships and explore new trails. 
  • Snowshoes are only one-directional: Generally, they are designed to move forward but cannot move backward. If an individual mistakenly steps back, the pointy tail usually drives into the snow, making the person fall. 
  • Regularly practicing from home: One can begin teaching the child by making them put on and take off the snowshoes while at home. The kids can practice on the grass. Practice should encompass teaching them how to walk forward and make a U-turn. Interestingly, kids usually try to imitate the penguins to accommodate for the shoe’s width.
  • Try learning on hills: Mainly, the majority of the snowshoes work best when going up the hills than when going down the slope. Once the child has learned to walk on flat terrain, you should pick a trail with some hills. This way, they will get better at snowshoeing.

Snowshoeing with Kids FAQs

Can we bring our dog when snowshoeing with kids? 

Dogs have a great love for snow. There are very few national parks that don’t allow dogs. Most other trails and national parks do not have policies hindering people from going snowshoeing with their dogs. However, it is advisable to always check the trail websites for any specific guidelines on dogs. When carrying your dog along, it is advisable to protect their paws by getting booties for them. 

How safe is snowshoeing with kids?

Snowshoeing is a safe activity where falling is highly unlikely. In addition, some poles enhance balance. It is good to encourage children to stay away from cliffs and tree wells. Moreover, there are cases where children get lost in their groups. It is, therefore, essential to encourage them to remain on their trails. 

It is good to leave a word with someone about the day’s plans if you are leading a group. In instances where you get uncertain about the place you are going, you should walk to a good turnaround point. From there, you should follow your trail back. 

Which is better for eye protection, sunglasses, or goggles?

Skiing and snowboarding goggles are the best for snowing. On the days that are mild and sunny, the kids can use sunglasses specific to the kid. It would help if you also bought a sunglass retainer to help suspend them around your kid’s neck when they are not using the sunglasses.

I notice that snowshoes have little grippy teeth on the bottom. What are they for?

The grippy teeth are usually mini crampons. They enhance traction by biting into the ice and snow. 

Final Thoughts on Snowshoeing with Kids

Snowshoeing with kids is important in many ways, including but not limited to; being a great workout exercise for the entire family, not much is needed to begin, and it enhances fun among others. It is important to put in mind that, Safety is an individual responsibility.

There are no internet videos or articles that can replace proper instruction or experience. The purpose of this article is to provide general information regarding snowshoeing. It is crucial to practice sufficiently, employ the correct techniques, and observe the safety requirements all way through. For more ideas to spend quality time with your kids, read how to cross-country ski with kids.

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About the author 


Roger was born into a family of climbers. As the youngest of his siblings, he was also the most ardent climber of them. Small and agile, he practiced climbing all day. Today, Roger teaches children how to climb the large rock walls safely.

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