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Sep 22

Winter Gear You Can Feel Good About Buying

by Tinkergarten

Each winter, our Tinkergarten community gears up for a ton of long-lasting outdoor play this winter. After all, as long as everyone is well dressed, it's wonderful to spend meaningful time outdoors in the winter.  

Small brands with a story

When we’re buying, we’re always mindful of supporting small brands and brands that do good—our Tinkergarten team favorites. Many of their prices are a bit higher than average (visit our affordable, essential winter gear guide for a focus on value), so we consider them a splurge. 

  • Ella’s Wool was started by a mom from Norway who wondered why there weren’t more kids in the playground in the U.S. like there were back home. She makes amazingly soft and warm merino wool clothing and base layers out of this  sustainable and renewable material. Receive 10% off anytime when you enter the code tinker
  • Maine-based LL Bean’s "Wicked Warm" wool layers do a great job of providing warmth in the coldest weather. We love the company’s support for the National Wildlife Federation’s GreenHour, which encourages kids to get outside. We also love their quality, colorful puffy coats and classic duck boots, and they truly guarantee each and every purchase. 
  • For high quality snowsuits, puffy jackets, boots and more, visit Oaki, a marvelous, mission-aligned brand. Plus, you can use the discount code Tinkergarten, to get 20% off ANYTIME! See the site for Black Friday/Cyber week deals, too,
  • Jan and Jul’s one-piece rain suits ($80 Canadian/$60 USD) have emerged a favorite in our community. And, they have a great story—woman-owned and deeply committed to using Earth-safe processes and fair labor practices.  
  • The high quality, Scandinavia-tested outerwear from Polarn O. Pyret couldn’t come with better credentials. The brand is committed to play-friendly clothing that’s meant to be passed down. Participate in Tinkergarten? List us as your outdoor school when you complete the application to receive 20% off POP outerwear! 
  • Visit Parks Project for a unique looking hat, pair of socks or super warm second layer AND the chance to support  protect and preserve parklands for generations to come through education, advocacy, and activation of supporters to conserve National Parks. 


Big Brands with a Heart

Whether you’re planning to search for them in swaps or on sale or invest in a piece that you will pass down for generations, here are the companies that deliver on quality while also making the world a better place.  

  • The prices at Patagonia won’t feel like a bargain, but it’s the best quality around, with great eco-cred—these are the ultimate hand-me-downs. And, you can find some deals on their worn wear site. They’ll also repair and, often, replace damaged clothing to keep it out of landfills. Check Patagonia Web Specials for deals, too.

  • REI is another high quality gear source who is committed to making the world a better place with great gear and the #Optoact and #Optoutside movements. REI has a used gear section, too. Check out their Cyber Week deals if you shop before Dec 6th.

  • Lands End—Solid quality gear, and often a sale or discount, including significant Cyber week deals.

  • The North Face is a classic, venerable brand with super gear for kids and some seasonal sales, too! Check out The North Face Renewed for like-new refurbished pieces at fantastic prices. We love their efforts to save consumers money and keep clothing out of landfills.
  • We love the way Bogs’ easy on and off, waterproof and ready-for-anything boots keep our feet dry. We also love that they give free boots to outdoor programs and grants for outdoor education programs.  
  • Family owned-and-operated Kamik makes warm and waterproof boots great for growing feet. The Canadian brand works with recycled materials to reduce the carbon footprint from their manufacturing.
  • We love Bombas, both for their wonderful, seamless socks (lovable to even the most sensitive toes) and because each purchase enables them to give quality clothing to people who really need it. Plus, Bombas is a a Certified B Corp, meaning it scores well in terms of environmentally friendly material sourcing, ethical production and transparency.
  • If you have good-condition, used outdoor gear, you can also donate it "to support the planet, inclusion, and adventure through Outside Magazine's The Outdoorist Oath." Shipping labels are free & easy to print, and there's a list at the bottom (see below) of the used brands they accept:

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Have a Wonderful Winter!

However you gear up, we wish you and yours marvelous adventures outside this winter—the kind that will boost your body, mind and heart! Need ideas about how to inspire outdoor adventures?

If you know a gear company—big or small—that makes the world a better place, write to us at support@tinkergarten.com to let us know.

Make sure you’re signed up to receive our monthly calendars—free monthly guides full of timely ways to add more joyful outdoor play to your every day. Or, participate in Winter Tinkergarten with a curriculum designed to fill your weeks with outdoor play and build kids’ Problem Solving skills this season. Find classes near you or try out our on-demand Tinkergarten Anywhere format.


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