Camping in the rain can either be a memorable adventure or a wild disaster. It all depends on how prepared you are. When you’re camping with kids, preparedness for rainy conditions is vital.
That’s why we wanted to talk about the rain gear we recommend for kids. The right stuff will be lightweight, breathable, fast-drying, and warm to keep your kiddos safe and dry during a downpour.
Features to Look for in Kids Rain Pants
Kid’s rainpants should be at the top of your list. If your kids play outside during or after rain, they’ll likely jump in puddles and get their lower half soaked. Having fast-drying and warm rain pants is key to keeping kids comfortable and safe during their exploration.
We want you to find the best rain pants for your needs, so let’s start by looking at a few key features to consider.
Chances are you’re camping in summer, and you’ll want something that air passes through to keep your kids cool while they play.
Clothing that doesn’t breathe will make your kids sweat while playing, which isn’t a great feeling. It breeds bacteria and can be a serious health hazard, as moisture on the skin pulls heat away from the body 25 times faster than cold air.
Not to mention, it develops a smell–no one wants that in their tent!
Look for breathable fabrics that are waterproof, water-resistant, or fast drying.
Look at the sleeve and pant leg cuffs on any rain gear you’re considering. If the cuffs are wide open and don’t fit snuggly to your child’s limbs, they’ll let more water in. Waterproof pants are useless if the water from the puddle is getting in the bottom.
Ideally, you’ll find rain gear with an elastic or velcro cuff. This way pants can cover rain boots and fit snuggly without riding up or allowing water in. Velcro is a good option if your child won’t tolerate a more snug fit from elastic. It’s also a good choice for adjusting the breathability of the jacket.
You might also consider cuffs with stirrup straps for your kid’s rain pants, especially for little kids. These stretch over the bottom of the child’s boots so they stay down as your child runs, crouches, and even crawls around camp. You can always buy stirrup straps that clip onto the cuffs of pants if you can’t find pants that have them already.
Many kids’ rain pants also have adjustable leg openings, which are great for stretching the legs over the boots. It also means you can unzip them and let a little more airflow into the leg opening if it gets too warm.
Warmth might not be a significant issue if you’re camping in Iowa in July. Even if it rains, it’s likely a warm rain, and the temperatures stay relatively static day or night. But if you’re in the mountains or camping in cold weather, you absolutely want a rain jacket that’s warm.
It can be tricky to find the balance between breathable and warm. You want to trap heat against the body, but you don’t want it to be so hot that it makes your child sweat.
You might consider buying a pair of warmer, less breathable rain pants for days of cold rain and one that’s well vented for warm rainy days. That way, you’re prepared for either eventuality, and your child won’t be stuck inside the tent all day!
The Best Rain Gear for Kids
You’ve sat patiently through our discussion of what makes great rain gear for kids. Now, it’s time to get into it. Here are our top recommendations for pants, suits, boots, and bibs your kids can wear in the rain.
Best Rain Pants for Kids
Rain pants are likely your biggest asset when you’re camping with kids. If your kids are anything like ours, they want to be out in the puddles, and they definitely don’t want to be stuck inside the tent all day. Keeping their legs dry while they’re walking on wet ground is paramount to keeping them safe and comfortable. Check out our top picks.
Columbia Kids’ Cypress Brook II Pant
- ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY: This Columbia Youth Cypress Brook II Pant features our seam-sealed waterproof construction with a stain resistant exterior.
Whether you’re loyal to the brand or you simply want a quality product, you can’t go wrong with Columbia. Their Cypress Brook II rain pants are made from 100% nylon, so they’re breathable, lightweight, and water-resistant. They feature a stain-resistant exterior, a velcro pocket on the side, adjustable cuffs, and waterproof seams.
It’s also made with OmniShield technology, which dries quickly and repels water.
Pros: Stays clean and has high water resistance.
Cons: High price tag and can be too warm for summer.
Mountain Warehouse Rain Pants
Here’s a great budget option that comes in various colors for your fashion-conscious kids. These Mountain Warehouse 100% polyester rain pants are ideal for light to moderate rain. They’re lightweight, with taped seams to add to their water-resistance.
They’re also made for comfort with a drawstring closure around the waist and adjustable cuffs. We also love that they feature RipStop fabric for extra durability–perfect for your kid who always gets holes at the knee.
Pros: They’re heavy-duty yet super lightweight. They’re also comfortable and highly water-resistant with IsoDry technology.
Cons: They make a loud swishing sound when your child walks.
Hatley Splash Pants
This is one of the most popular choices for kids rain pants, as they’re effective, comfortable, and super cute! They’re 100% polyurethane with a drawstring closure for a snug fit. The cuffs are also elastic, so they’ll fit closely to your child’s rain boots to keep their legs dry.
These are an excellent option for your choosier child because there are dozens of styles and colors. Your children can choose their favorite themes and colors and enjoy staying dry.
Pros: There are tons of different patterns and colors to choose from. And they’re machine washable.
Cons: Some reviewers noted that they weren’t ideal for heavy rains.
Oakiwear Children’s Trail and Rain Pants
- COMPREHENSIVE WARRANTY: OAKI stands by its products with a comprehensive 6-month warranty. You can have peace of mind when purchasing OAKI’s award winning Trail & Rain Pant.
These Oakiwear rain pants are easily a top contender on our list. Along with offering many stylish options, Oakiwear provides a 6-month warranty, so if the product doesn’t perform as advertised, you can get your money back.
These lightweight polyester pants are breathable, waterproof, and rip resistant. They’re easy to wash and dry super fast, so they’re ready to go back out in the rain when your kids are.
Pros: The 6-month guarantee offers peace of mind that you’re not wasting your money.
Cons: They don’t always hold up well to extended use.
Best Rain Suits for Toddlers
If you’re camping with busy toddlers, rain pants might not adequately keep them dry. You’ll need a full rain suit to do the job. These suits cover little kids from head to toe and offer superior water resistance. To get the best bang for your buck, consider these options.
Tuffo Muddy Buddy Coveralls
- Generous fit allows for layering of clothing and easy movement
These adorable coveralls come in a few colors and work well to keep your toddler dry. The wrist and ankle cuffs feature elastic to fit tightly over shoes or mittens. Tuffo coveralls are also loose-fitting, so you can layer clothing underneath.
The fabric features reinforced knees and double-breasted zippers, making the suit durable and easy to put on.
Pros: It’s waterproof, lightweight, and great for rainy summer weather. Because you can layer underneath, it could also double as a snowsuit in the winter.
Cons: It’s a little baggy, which can be bothersome to some toddlers.
Oakiwear One-Piece Rain Suit
- COMPREHENSIVE WARRANTY: OAKI stands by its products with a comprehensive 6-month warranty. You can have peace of mind when purchasing OAKI Loop Handle Rain boots.
Here’s another Oakiwear option that’s 100% nylon for breathable, waterproof fabric. With adjustable velcro cuffs and a simple front zipper, you’ll have your toddler waterproofed and ready for the rain in minutes.
This Oakiwear suit is rated to withstand more than 500 hours of play, so it’s durable and practical. Plus, it comes in tons of bright colors!
Pros: A high-quality rain suit that’s both breathable and fully waterproof.
Cons: It’s expensive.
Best Rain Boots for Kids
It’s challenging to have a good time during outdoor play in soggy shoes. Avoid this issue with waterproof rain boots for kids. Check out two of our top choices.
Bogs Kids Waterproof Rain Boots
- Classic waterproof rain boot with dual pull-on handles and non-slip outsole
With more than 1400 5-star reviews on Amazon, the proof is in the pudding. Everyone is happy with the way their Bogs rain boots stand up to wet conditions and the constant movement of the children who wear them.
Not only are the boots 100% rubber and waterproof, but they’re also extremely comfortable. Your kids won’t complain about wearing such a high-quality pair of boots.
Pros: They’re tough and rugged, made to last for days and days of play.
Cons: They’re expensive for a kids’ shoe.
Sizes: 1 toddler – 12 big kid
Hatley Classic Child’s Rain Boots
- Slip resistant soles
It’s hard not to love the stylish color combinations and waterproof durability of these Hatley classic rain boots. We love the textile lining and pull-on closure that makes it easy for kids to dress themselves.
The soles are slip-resistant, so you can rest easy knowing your child won’t biff it in the rain. They’re also waterproof and free of harmful chemicals in the 100% rubber.
Pros: They’re cute, comfortable, and very high quality.
Cons: The sizing is confusing, and the boots can be easily scuffed.
Sizes: 4 toddler – 3 big kid
Best Rain Bibs for Kids
When it’s warm outside, but you want your child to explore without getting soaked, try a rain bib. They cover the legs and chest with straps that go over the shoulders. We like these ones:
CeLaVi Recycled Plastic Rain Bib
- RECYCLED AND SUTAINABLE: Our latest 3 styles, Misty Rose, Rubber & Navy are fully waterproof and made from recycled plastic
If you can buy a high-quality product while helping the earth, we say go for it. This roomy-fit rain bib uses recycled polyurethane and polyester to deliver a comfortable, breathable, and waterproof rain pant.
The thick but lightweight fabric offers freedom of movement, and the elastic leg cuffs with clips keep them over your child’s rain boots no matter how hard they play. One leg features reflective taping, making the wearer more visible to cars day or night.
Pros: There are lots of different color options, and they’re made from recycled materials.
Cons: They can be a little loose based on the recommended sizing. You might want to size down.
PlayShoes Fleece-Lined Rain Bib
- Reflectors Increase Children's Safety in Darkness and Bad Weather
With bright colors and reflective taping on both legs, your child will be highly visible and dry in this rain bib. The fleece lining is also extremely comfortable, even though it can get slightly warm in the summer.
The cuffed legs also come with stirrup straps so you can wrap them around your child’s boots to keep their legs dry.
Pros: The fleece lining and button closure make them versatile and useful for multiple uses.
Cons: The fleece lining can make these pants too warm in the summer.
Water Resistant vs. Water Proof
The terms “water resistant” and “waterproof” are often used interchangeably, but they’re technically not the same.
Waterproof means that water cannot soak through it, no matter what. Something water-resistant can resist water penetration to a certain degree. After extended water exposure, however, water will penetrate and soak through.
Most rain clothing is water-resistant rather than waterproof, and you want it to be that way. Waterproof pants might keep your child impenetrably dry from the rain, but they’re not breathable. Your children will be soaked in their own sweat very quickly, which is uncomfortable and sticky.
Look for clothing that’s water-resistant, meaning your child can stay in the elements for hours, but it will be well ventilated and comfortable for them.
Make an Informed Choice When Purchasing Kids Rain Pants
With so many kids rain products on the market, it can seem impossible to find the right one. We hope this article helps you understand different things that go into the design of kids’ rain pants and other clothing so that you can keep your youngsters dry and comfortable while outdoors.
I’m Molly Foss, aka Momma Critter. I’ve been camping since I was 9 years old and I always wanted to be Robin Hood and live in the forest when I grew up. I’m excited to share my love of camping with my son as he grows up. My favorite thing to do while camping is roast marshmallows over the fire.