Best Rain Gear for Kids: What You Need to Stay Warm and Dry When Playing in the Rain

There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.

Alfred Wainwright

Choosing the best rain gear for kids can make a huge difference in your rainy-day play. When your wear the right gear, splashing in rain puddles and making mud pies is one of the great joys of childhood.

When a rainy day comes our way we are ready with a closet full of rain gear for the boys! Plus, Bug goes to an outdoor school, so we also have to have head-to-toe rain gear on hand for whenever we are lucky enough to need it. Versatile rain gear is also great to bring on trips, adding important layers for hikes and kayaking adventures!

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THE BEST RAIN GEAR FOR KIDS

As rain forecasts have started to reappear this fall, I cast my net far and wide to find the best rain gear for kids.

Read on to check out more of our favorite raincoats, boots, pants, bibs, rain suits, and accessories. I also added a section at the end on rain gear maintenance to help you get as much use out of your gear as possible.

BEST KIDS’ RAIN JACKET

The most obvious place to start, whatever the weather in your neck of the woods, is with a good rain jacket. This versatile piece of rain gear can be used in all different kinds of weather.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Length: Most rain jackets are waist length, but some come down past the hips. The longer the jacket, the more coverage it provides.

Liners: Some jackets have liners for added warmth. If you don’t need a warm raincoat for most of the year, make sure to size up so you can add layers underneath when you need them.

Closures: Many rain jackets have closures on the cuffs, waists, hems, and hoods. This is often elastic that cinches openings to keep out the rain. We look for adjustable closures that are even better at keeping out water and sealing in warmth.

Reflectors: Because rain gear is often worn when days are shorter and clouds are out, reflective accents add an extra layer of visibility.

BEST RAIN SHELL

Columbia’s Glennaker Rain Jacket, a classic lightweight nylon shell, is an easy addition to the best rain gear for kids list. With no lining, it’s great for warm humid days. You can also add layers underneath for colder outdoor playdates. If you are looking for a travel layer, this jacket is easy to roll up and bring along wherever you may go.

The waterproof nylon shell withstands everything from a drizzle to a downpour. It has zippered side pockets, elastic closures, and reflective detailing.

With 36 style options to choose from, you’re sure to find your child’s favorite color too! 

BEST LIGHTWEIGHT RAINCOAT

This Oaki breathable lightweight jacket is our go-to for a rainy day. It has an extended hood so kids can run around without worrying about a hat or umbrella. Elastic cuffs and covered zippered pockets provide coverage from the rain. Its lightweight lining provides all the warmth we need in California, with plenty of room to add a sweatshirt on a colder day.

These are long and run large, providing more coverage and room to grow. If you don’t plan on layering you might want to order a size down.

BEST RAINCOAT FOR COLD WEATHER

These raincoats are just plain fun. When Therm’s Rainy Day Magic coats get wet, a pattern appears! The ultra-soft fleece lining also keeps kids warm on cold rainy days. Hidden cuffs with thumbholes keep hands warm and water out of the sleeves. The combination means the kids can stay comfortable playing outside on a cold rainy day.

Even better, the fabric is 100% recycled from water bottles with renewable plant-based packaging. Designed by an outdoorsy mom who wants to raise adventurous children with strong nature connections, there is so much to love about this company!

BEST RAIN BOOTS FOR KIDS

Rain boots are an essential part of kids’ rain gear. When I think of rainy day fun, my mind immediately goes to puddle splashing! And nothing makes this rite of passage possible like a good pair of rain boots. From duck boots to Crocs, we share our favorite picks below.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

There are endless options out there for kids’ rain boots, but not all are made to last. And when they start to fall apart, they can’t do their job of keeping your kids’ feet warm and dry. The following are our favorite picks for rainboots that are durable enough to pass down from kid to kid.

One thing to consider when choosing rain boots is that lined boots take longer to dry out. Also, lining that tears is a top complaint from a durability perspective.

BEST LIGHTWEIGHT RAIN BOOT

If you’re looking for a lightweight low-maintenance pair of rain boots, you can’t go wrong with Crocs. These are lighter than the average rain boot, and kids love the big handles that make it easy for them to take on and off on their own. Not having a liner means they dry out quickly.

BEST DUCK BOOT

Duck Boots are another classic option with a waterproof, rubber base that covers the foot and a lace-up boot made with flexible fabric. The hybrid construction makes for a comfortable shoe that is more flexible than the traditional rain boot. The waterproof part isn’t breathable, which makes them warm without added lining. These shoes are versatile and comfortable, making them an essential part of many winter wardrobes.

Sperry Duck Boots are an adorable example that is popular with many kids and their parents.

BEST COLD WEATHER RAIN BOOT

Beloved by outdoor enthusiasts, Bogs are reliably waterproof and warm. They are even known to stay warm in the snow (with good socks!).

Bogs with neoprene on top are not quite as waterproof as other models, but many kids find the flexible fabric more comfortable than traditional rain boots. It just depends on how much water you’ll be wading through.

Like Crocs, these run small, especially on the calf. Size up if you’re in between sizes.

BEST KIDS’ RAIN PANTS, BIBS, AND RAIN SUITS

Now that you have a raincoat and boots, the next essential rain gear for kids that you need are some good bottoms. We use rain pants mostly to sit or roll around on wet grass without worry. Rain bibs and Rain suits provide much more coverage. It all depends on how much rain you’ll be playing in most often.

BEST RAIN PANTS

Splashy Rainwear is lightweight and flexible with elastic cuffs at the waist and ankles to keep out rain and mud. Front pockets and reflective strips add functionality and an extra measure of safety. The fabric is waterproof, windproof, and breathable.

You can wear these as is or layer them for more warmth in cold weather. They run large, so order down a size unless you want extra room for growth and layers.

BEST RAIN BIBS

Bibs provide more coverage than pants. They are useful when you are out and about during rainfall. Besides providing fewer openings for water to seep in, they add extra warmth by insulating your child’s core.

Reima Lammikko Suspender Rain Pants are lightweight and windproof. The seams are welded to make the pants weatherproof. As with many of our favorite rain items, sizing runs big for layering and room to grow.

BEST RAIN SUITS FOR TODDLERS

A rain suit is a one-piece that goes over your child’s clothes, from top to bottom. With fewer openings for the rain to get in, they stay warm and dry in wet conditions. Like the other rain gear mentioned above, they run a bit big so that you can add layers underneath. With warm layers, they can also be used in cold rains and even light snow. You often see rain suits for younger children, as they give a great deal of freedom of movement while keeping them warm and dry for outdoor play. 

The waterproof and breathable Oaki Kids Rain and Trail Suits are favorites of many outdoorsy parents and kids. The brimmed hood keeps water off little faces, and the drawstring at the waist helps customize the fit more than other rain suits. Velcro at the wrists and ankles keeps water out and is more comfortable than elastic. It is simply a great way to let young kids run and play outside year-round without having to deal with wet and muddy clothes afterward!

If you like the idea of a rain suit but are worried about potty training or bathroom breaks, consider REI’s Rainwall Rainsuit. Parents love the large dual zippers that make the suit easy to take on and off.

BEST COLD WEATHER RAIN BOTTOMS

Most of the options described above aren’t lined which allows them to be worn year-round. When it’s cold, you add warm layers underneath. If it’s warm, you can just throw them over other regular play clothes.

But if you know that you need rain gear for cold rainy weather or even light snow, consider the Jan & Jul cozy-dry fleece-lined rain pants, bibs, and rain suits. These are great for active play where it gets reliably colder.

KIDS’ RAIN HATS

When you’re outside playing in the rain, the last thing you want to think about is lugging around an umbrella! If your child’s raincoat’s hood leaves something to be desired, a good rain hat can keep ears warm and water off their faces. These are some great options for rainy day play.

BEST ADJUSTABLE RAIN CAP

Our top pick for a kids’ rain hat is the Reima Rainy Kids Waterproof Rain Hat. The adjustable cap stays put and offers more protection than a hood. The lightweight materials are comfortable, flexible, and, most importantly, waterproof. The lightweight wool lining is ideal for keeping ears warm in colder conditions.

VERSATILE FULL COVERAGE HATS

Another option in milder conditions is a full coverage wide-brimmed hat. These can offer year-round protection from both the sun and the rain.

We love the boys’ Sunday Afternoon hats, which are with us on almost every adventure. Though they wouldn’t be our top pick in a full-on rainstorm, the water-repellent fabric dries quickly in light rain. They have wide brims and we love that they fold for easy stuffing into any bag or backpack.

Outdoor Research Kids’ Seattle Sombrero also has a wide brim that protects kids from the sun and rain. It has an adjustable band so that it’s a comfortable option on all your family adventures.

KIDS’ RAIN MITTENS

Rain mittens are probably not at the top of your list of rain gear for kids, but they can make a big difference! Rainy day play leads to mud pies and other tactile activities that can leave little hands cold and wet. Rain mittens are a quick and easy solution with a big impact.

Polarn O. Pyret’s long cuff waterproof mittens are made from wind and waterproof fabric. The adjustable elastic band around the wrist helps seal out the water, and the easy-grip surface helps with frustration-free playtime. Polarn O. Pyret gloves tend to run small. Consider sizing up, especially if you want to layer with other gloves for warmth.

RAIN GEAR MAINTENANCE

If you’re going to invest in quality rain gear, you want to make sure it lasts! Laundry detergents might have additives that interfere with the performance of waterproof fabrics. Consider using specialized cleaners for waterproof clothes and outerwear so that you can pass on your rain gear from kid to kid.

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