Drizzle, downpours and crisp mornings… autumn’s weather is unpredictable to say the least.
But as we say goodbye to summer it certainly means it’s time to embrace layers – particularly when out facing the elements, whether that’s on the school run or for weekend exploring.
While the chill in the air will see you longing for another layer, it can be tricky getting your kids’ outfit right at this time of year, particularly for children as they can’t regulate their temperature quite as well as adults can.
We tested them in varying weather conditions, at the very minimum kids will be safe from a light shower. But some go far beyond that and are able to handle the roughest of downpours, after all this is Blighty.
We put them to the test against a range of categories across a typical week. Beyond being shower proof, at the top of the list is how comfortable they are to wear.
It’s tough enough to get children to layer up at the best of times, so when it comes to an autumn jacket, comfort’s hugely important.
We also looked at how lightweight they are, as it’s likely that they’ll be off and on again in a flash, so you don’t want anything too bulky or cumbersome. Detachable hoods, adjustable cuffs and hems can optimise wearability garnering points, but we also looked out for nice touches like name tags, reflective patches and handy pockets.
Fabrics also play a huge part in choosing the right jacket, we gave extra kudos for those that incorporated recycled materials into the mix. For younger children we also included some coats with playful features to encourage them to wrap up. And like every product, we of course also factored in value for money.
Like everything children wear, mess is inevitable, so all the jackets we have tested are safe to be popped in the wash, but always use a gentle cycle. We’d recommend always going a size up as a jacket is not a solitude product, so will almost always have something else on underneath it.
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Kids upcycled lightweight puffer jacket
This lightweight puffer from Gap is silky to the touch. The lightest puffer the American brand has produced, while it’s a much daintier jacket, insulation has not been compromised. We were impressed that the fill, shell and lining are all 100 per cent recycled.
The insulation is made from soft and silky synthetic fibres that mimic the look, feel and warmth of natural down. And unlike traditional down you’ll even feel warmth when wet with its water-resistant shell. There’s an attached hood and two front slant pockets. There are four prints to choose from but the leopard print is certainly our favourite, sizing is a little confusing if purchasing online, but there is a size guide … ranging from XS to XXL – our 11 year old is in the large and it fits her perfectly. At less than £40 we really can’t fault this reliable coat from Gap, and our tester would happily sleep in it if she could!
Next has excelled itself with its wide choice of jackets for both boys and girls this autumn. Those aged up to seven years with a passion for prehistory will love wrapping up in the khaki green padded jacket. There’s a shower resistant outer which handles drizzle and light rain well, and the fleece lining kept our four-year-old tester toasty.
We liked that the polyester in the wadding is made from post-consumer waste such as bottles, which is particularly impressive given the cost of the coat. There’s a handy name tag inside, plus the colour choice is great for not showing up dirty marks. The best bit? It has to be the cool dinosaur spikes on the hood and back, it’s playful yet cool.
To touch you’d never believe this jacket is fully waterproof, so on a rainy afternoon our four-year-old tester well and truly put this to the test… and guess what? It is. It takes some believing due to the softness of the polyester outer shell, which is made from recycled PET plastic bottles – so not only does it protect the wearer, it’s doing some good for the planet too. The inside of this jacket is just as soft too, which is thermal lined, meaning this jacket goes way beyond an autumn companion, it offers year-round breathability and thermo-regulating comfort which is perfect for kids.
Toastie has really gone to town with this British designed raincoat, with details including fleece lined pockets to keep little hands warm, and a micro-fleece soft chin guard for extra wind protection. There’s also reflective strips on the hood, pockets and at the back, plus the snug hood offers a little extra weather protection. There are six cool colours to choose from, starting from age six months up to 14 years.
Kids waterproof shell coat
If we’re in for showers this autumn, you couldn’t find a better wet weather companion than this shell coat. At £80 there’s no doubt it’s a considered purchase but you cannot fault the quality and technology that has gone into creating this product. Offering 100 per cent waterproof protection thanks to the water repelling technology used, the fabric is also incredibly durable and ready for action (even in the snow), but it’s also super breathable too.
On the inside the lining is 100 per cent recycled polyester, and small details like being able to adjust the hem and sleeve cuffs, and the soft fleece used around the collar means this coat can be worn comfortably for hours. The hood is simple to remove, and we love the reflectors, which means there’s 360-degree visibility, plus with four pockets there’s no excuse for lost items. The mustard brown colour is smart and a great gender-neutral choice.
3-in-1 stormwear woodland fisherman coat
There’s not one, not two, but three ways to wear this super sweet fisherman style coat from M&S. We love that this expands a product’s use, meaning you’re sorted for all seasons, simply double up and zip in the puffer for additional warmth or wear the coats separately depending on the weather.
The brand has also added space for up to three names on the name label and a polite message to pass it on – which is a thoughtful touch. The woodland design is subtle, and our two-year-old tester loved pointing out the different animals and the sweet animal ears on the raincoat hood is playful. In terms of practicality it possesses M&S’ water repellent finish to help them stay dry, and the puffer is filled with 100 per cent recycled polyester, the elasticated sleeves also keep them toasty.
Stella McCartney kids navy cartoon eyes puffer jacket
If you have a more generous budget, we urge you to check out Stella McCartney’s range of kids’ jackets – you’ll struggle to find cooler designs. A brand known for sustainability it came as no surprise that both the shell of this jacket and the padding are made from 100 per cent recycled polyester – reusing plastic bottles or textile waste.
The padding is super plush keeping little ones toasty, and it’s water-repellent and windproof, while the lining is a cosy teddy fleece which is wonderfully tactile. There are two zipped pockets at the front, elasticated cuffs and a hood for when the rain pours! Our four-year-old tester loved the playful cartoon eyes – but all eyes were on her when she rocked this jacket.
Quilted jacket – classic khaki green
This smart quilted jacket from Boden looks beyond adorable on our four-year-old tester and has proven to be super durable. There’s a detachable hood and pink corduroy collar to keep you cosy, aesthetically it also shows the lovely in-house-designed floral lining. If you remove the hood, simply turn up the cuffs to give a splash of this lovely print.
Poppers can be a little fiddly, so they’ve cleverly included a zip which is much easier for everyone – plus it keeps the wind out. There’s a couple of poppers at the back which we undid for a bit of extra room, and a name label to fill in. Designed to be worn in all weathers, Boden has used a water repellent finishing, which is also known for keeping fabrics looking newer for longer and allows textiles to dry more rapidly.
Silver reflective anorak
The reflection on this coat is hugely impressive and by far the most visible out of all the jackets we tested. Easily seen in the dark, this is reassuring for us as the nights draw in our 13-year-old tester will be wearing this on his walk home from school. There’s a subtle music theme, with a small logo on the chest and additional mesh interior pocket, perfect for storing big headphones.
Designed with an adjustable hood, elasticated sleeves, and deep zipped front pockets to keep small belongings safe. Fleece lined, it’s cosy without being bulky, and is shower resistant so you’ll be protected from light rain, but not a downpour. Available in sizes three years to 16 years, the plain design is better suited to older kids, particularly fussy teenagers.
The verdict: Kids’ autumn jackets
We were really impressed with all eight jackets, but for value for money, comfort and style plus eco credentials to boot, we had to hand it to Gap’s kids upcycled lightweight puffer jacket. We were also very impressed with Polarn O. Pyret’s kids waterproof shell coat for its supreme quality.
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