If you’ve ever had to deal with a wet-walk tantrum, you’ll know all too well the importance of waterproofs. While jackets and welly boots go so far, it’s waterproof trousers which will prevent soggy knees after that inevitable fall when chasing siblings, or when muddy puddles reach dizzy heights.
And if autumn and winter in Blighty provide only one thing, it’s a deluge of rainy days. But waterproof trousers aren’t just for colder months, invest in the right pair and they’ll be set for year-round adventures, from windy winters to April showers.
So, what do you need to consider when choosing the perfect pair? First of all, it’s worth questioning what they’ll be used for and how often. Are you an active family who often brave the elements? Or do you simply need an extra layer for drizzly walks home after nursery?
Waterproof rating protection is often measured in millimetres which relates to how high a column of water standing on the fabric would need to be before the water would penetrate the fabric. A rating of 10,000mm offers medium protection for activities such as hiking, moderate rain, snow and wind, meaning it’s more than adequate from the splashback from extreme puddle jumping or exploring in the rain.
But on top of being waterproof, you’ll also want a level of breathability, otherwise you’ll keep the water out but soon be wet from stickiness. Another important factor is the seams and zips as they’ll need to be waterproof too. Needle-stitched seams create thousands of small holes that allow water to sneak inside, so welded or taped seams is what you’ll want to prevent leaks. Many trousers we tested also have stirrups – be sure to make sure these go over the wellies, not inside, for the best waterproof protection.
Most of all you’ll want to find a pair of quality waterproof trousers. Durability is key when it comes to dressing active children – particularly when you have the elements to contend with. Happy splashing everyone.
We tested a range of waterproof pull-on trousers, dungarees and overalls with the help of our four and six-year-old testers. They were put to the test on muddy woodland walks, during forest school antics and some out-of-season beach exploring.
We looked at the quality, comfort, cost but what mattered the most was keeping our testers dry! Not to be overlooked is style – after all, getting your child to dress appropriately is no easy feat – and taking sustainability into account, we also favoured those with eco credentials.
Swedish kids’ brand Polarn O. Pyret is known for its resistant outerwear and the shell waterproof kids trousers are just the ticket for a blustery day when the rain just doesn’t relent. Firstly, our six-year-old-tester took no convincing to don these cerise pink trousers. She commented on the security of the braces – which are adjustable and can be removed if not required – saying they fit her perfectly. And she seemed to play with great freedom, partly due to the pre-shaped legs for easy movement, but we also attributed this to a good level of breathability.
Designed for all-day wear, our tester stayed completely dry while rain dancing, jumping in muddy puddles and running around during soggy September. In fact, these are even prepared for heavy snow (we can pray!) thanks to the 12,000mm waterproof protection.
We love the well-considered design, with reinforced knees and bum, fully-taped seams, adjustable waist, replaceable foot straps, 360-degree visibility reflectors and leg cuffs, and not forgetting the use of recycled materials. Available in three colours and from two to eight years, these are a wonderful all-rounder ready for wet adventures.
An independent UK brand, Spotty Otter exclusively makes top-notch outdoor kit for kids, and after putting its adventure waterproof trousers through the mill, we can confirm they really stand up to the job. Windproof, breathable and waterproof this pair has been designed with all-day adventures in mind. At 10,000mm, the trousers have a durable water repellent finish so they’re prepared for when the rain pours.
But where they go the extra mile is the breathability, and the dryness of our active four-year-old tester is testament to this. With a breathability rating of a whopping 20,000g/m² the sky’s the limit with these trousers, making them a great choice if a humid trek is on the cards.
Comfort has been considered too with elasticated toggle-tighten waist, and zipped side ankle gusset – featuring water-repellent zips and taped seams. The reinforced knees are practical, while the reflective safety trims provide extra visibility. From sizes two years to 14 years, they come in a turquoise blue shade which makes them a great unisex option.
Our four-year-old tester looked cute as a bumble bee in these yellow puddle buster trousers from British brand Frugi. With plenty of room to grow, they feature elasticated leg cuffs with adjustable and removable stirrups which work wonders with a pair of wellies.
With fully welded seams and a waterproof rating of 10,000mm, it meant our mini reviewer stayed dry despite all the puddle jumping, running in the rain and forest school activities. They’re full of thoughtful touches, our tester loved the reflective raindrop design around the hem, and using the hanger loop at school. And, there’s also a printed name badge with room for three names as these trousers have been made to last.
Sustainably speaking, Frugi has a planet-friendly approach – this garment is produced from recycled plastic bottles and the company donates 1 per cent of its turnover each year to charity, which is a nice feel-good touch. They are currently out of stock in yellow, but the blue is available to shop.
There’s a lot to like about the ecosplash trousers from kids’ outerwear brand Muddy Puddles. Firstly, unlike any of the other trousers we tested, this pair boasts a cosy polar fleece lining which offers 40gm insulation, but much to our delight they’re still wonderfully lightweight meaning outdoor play is still the order of the day. Because of the lining our six-year-old tester didn’t need to wear any trousers underneath, so they offered plenty of freedom, plus the elasticated waist made them easy to put on and take off again.
But how did they fare against the British weather? Made from recycled plastic bottles, these trousers came up trumps against the September downpours. Thanks to the bionic-finish eco water repellence technology used – a natural and chemical free waterproof finishing – these trousers are waterproof up to 10,000mm and super breathable, meaning our little tester stayed dried and warm without getting clammy. The seams are taped meaning no water can sneak in, and they feature elasticated cuffs for maximum dryness which did seem to keep them in place, but stirrups would be a nice addition.
The ecosplash trousers come in a whole range of sizes from 18 months to 12 years, but are only available in a navy blue colourway.
Want to know what nine recycled bottles can be turned into? Say hello to outdoor adventures with JoJo Mama Bébé’s pack-away waterproof trousers. As the name suggests these trousers cleverly pack away into a zipped pocket – much to our tester’s amazement – and due to its lightweight credentials, they can be taken everywhere.
Soft to the touch, these trousers kept our four-year-old tester protected from the wind and drizzle. With elasticated and adjustable stirrups to prevent them riding up the legs, there’s also ankle zips to help get them over wellies, reflective tabs, and fully taped seams to put a stop to sneaky leaks.
Given the low price point, we were impressed with the quality and durability of these, and while we wouldn’t rely on them for a downpour they’re perfect for forest exploring or a drizzly and windy walks to school. And they’re available in four fun colours with sizes from six months to six years.
OK, we admit our four-year-old was rather confused by the zip detail around the top, but it’s actually rather smart, as you can zip it together with one of the brand’s jackets, to create an all-in-one. Plus, the waist zip is soon hidden under a jacket.
The trousers themselves have some great credentials, given the reasonable price tag. Advertised as water-resistant rather than waterproof, they kept our tester dry and warm too, thanks to the fleece lining. Coated with Teflon EcoElite, the renewably sourced technology repels water and is quick-drying too. We were delighted to learn they’re also made from 100 per cent recycled materials.
The legs feature a concealed outer zip at the hem, so our young tester found it a doddle getting her welly boots on, and her feet stayed dry, thanks to the inner leg, which tucks inside boots. Available in sizes from one to eight years, there are four muted colours to choose from.
With change from a £20 note, we were impressed by the features of these dungarees from outerwear kids brand Dry Kids. Elasticated cuffs and stirrups are featured to prevent the inevitable riding up on the legs, while the adjustable shoulder straps and poppers at the waist make for a secure fit on our mini tester.
Waterproof up to 7,000mm, we found these kept our six-year-old tester dry when battling torrential rain and during general wet-weather play, and there’s plenty of room to accommodate cosy layers underneath for warmth (although there’s a fleeced option available too). There are reflective strips at the bottom of the legs, and sustainably speaking, these dungarees are kinder on the planet by using recycled materials.
We love the range of six colours to choose from, and sizes cover two to 12 years.
Next is a brand parents have come to rely upon all year round. Little ones won’t need to let wet weather get in the way of play, as these are a cost-effective way to add a waterproof layer. Designed with reflective trims at the bottom, elasticated cuffs and adjustable stirrups, when the weather turns they’re a playtime hero. While they don’t offer much in terms of warmth as they’re pretty lightweight, they kept the drizzle out and were a comfortable fit on our four-year-old tester. There are two colours to choose from, and sizes go up to seven years.
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