Clothing

What to wear at Forest School

Getting cold is one of the main factors affecting enjoyment of sessions, particularly in the winter. Staying warm is more important than staying dry, and being wet, warm and comfortable is suprisingly cheap and easy with the correct clothing.

Send your children in clothes you don’t mind getting muddy, smelling of smoke and picking up a bit of wear and tear!

Tops

In winter, keeping the wind off is vital. A waterproof coat does a great job at this. When it’s below 5c, two T shirts and a jumper underneath the waterproof is the minimum we’d recommend to stay warm, with a spare jumper for after / just in case.

Ideally these would be ‘sports’ fabrics- either natural (wool) or man-made ‘tech’ or ‘sport’ fabrics (polyester, polyproylene, etc) that stay warm when wet. Look for key words like ‘active’, ‘sport’, and ‘wicking’, and avoid anything with cotton on the label.

In summer, please send your child with some sort of spare jacket or jumper, and sun cream applied.

Trousers

Tracksuit bottoms are the most common choice, as wet jeans are cold and very unpleasant to wear, especially outdoors. If your child is doing a lot of winter outdoor activities try out some windproof outdoor trousers from any good outdoor shop. I personally use and love the craghoppers ones.

Important- ‘waterproof’ or ‘over trousers’ are only useful when it’s really cold, as otherwise your child will get incredibly hot and sweaty once they run around. They also get damaged easily- I’ve watched more than one pair of waterproof over trousers disintegrate during a session!

In summer, you can’t really go wrong.

Shoes

In winter, thick socks and wellies or proper boots are the best choices. If you don’t have thick socks then 3 pairs of normal socks will do the same job- ankle length or longer is best. Wellies and thin socks are cold, but not as cold as tennis shoes and similar thin trainers which quickly get wet either in puddles or grass.

Be sure the shoe is not tight, as this will restrict blood flow also resulting in cold feet.

In summer, please avoid flip flops and sandals- they aren’t suited to running around, climbing trees, and don’t offer protection against brambles and small sticks on the forest floor.

Everything Else

Decent hats and gloves are provided, but please feel free to supply your own if you don’t mind them getting muddy!

Irrespective of the weather forecast, we ask that you send your children with a coat and bottle of water. We carry a small amount of spare warm clothing just in case, but can’t kit out the whole group so please ensure your child is appropriately dressed.

For more info, check out our clothing video guide below!

Getting Forest School clothes on a budget

Tops- Ebay search ‘Wicking shirt kids’ (for some reason the order matters!) – there are lots of different sizes and styles for about a fiver.

Trousers- Ebay search ‘walking trousers kids’ and there are a few different options in the £10 to £20 range.

On the high street, TK Maxx, Go Outdoors, Decathlon and Sports Direct are normally a good bet for activewear bargains. Regatta, Tresspass, Karrimor, and Craghoppers are great brands to be looking out for.

Adults

Feet: Something waterproof and with excellent ankle support is vital. Running through the woodland means sprains are more likely, and can be a real issue when you’re on your feet all day every day. I use haix high liability combat boots, they’re available on ebay for about £50 for a pre worn pair, plus buy a big tub of leder gris wax for them. Since they’re leather you need to look after them! 

Socks: I use army surplus extreme cold weather, white, wool, and great. This is very much a personal taste thing.

Waterproof trousers: Army surplus mtp goretex with full length zippers. The full length zippers are vital to put on over boots.

Trousers: I use crag hoppers kiwi (Worth paying for the brand here), they also do a thermal lined version if you know you get cold. Go outdoors have a good selection to try on so you can get something that fits. 

Shorts: anything will do, I recommend zipped pockets. 

Top: any sports / wicking t-shirt is good with a windproof layer also. On the coldest days I will wear a long sleeve sports top, short sleeve sports top, jumper / windproof, and waterproof coat.

Waterproof coat: Don’t worry about an expensive one- you’re going to get wet unless you have a coat that’s too nice to be near a fire- it’s about keeping the wind off and keeping the worst out.

Some sort of warm hat is vital when the temperature drops (Don’t get anything too nice, ‘steal the hat’ is a popular and great game), and a snood / neckwarmer for your neck.

Gloves: Industrial ones have excellent price:performance- portwest do thermal grip gloves (A140) which are warm, cheap and available at toolstation, and for a waterproof option I’ve heard excellent things about the tegera 295.