School’s back in session. People are busy prepping the house for the cooler winter weather. School activities are demanding attention. Daylight is waining, time to grab the blanket and a few good books.
But wait, bad weather is only has bad as your clothes and here in the Pacific Northwest it anyway doesn’t really get that cold out. Don’t give you on the outdoors, there’s still so much to do and explore.
So, grab your raincoat and your fleece, and head outside.
A few raindrops and a cool breeze in the air can’t hold you back. There’s still plenty to explore for the family.
Here is our rainproof guide for getting the most out of the shorter days and cooler nights with your family out in the wild.
Your car is big, stuff it full with anything you think you might need.
Raincoats, good boots, possibly water-proof boots are essential when puddle jumping. Think of several layers. Down in the cities it might warmer, but if you’re heading up in the mountains you might already encounter the first snow. Be prepared for that. Grab a duffle bag, or a big reusable shopping bag and pack the hats, mittens for the just-in-case event. Check out our Guide to the Best Outdoor Stores in Seattle for great locations to pickup some gear for any weather.
Are your tires in good shape? When was the last time you got an oil change. Find those tire chains in your garage and drop them back into the trunk. Winter weather in the mountains can change rapidly and you want to be prepared. Especially if you’re heading beyond cell coverage.
WSDOT has a handy graphic (PDF) of what you should keep in your car to be ready for the colder weather.
That’s one of the amazing things about Summer. That assurance. You can count on good weather – well, at least for most of the Summer. When heading out in the Fall and Winter you gotta be more prepared. Learn how to read weather service websites and check webcams. Our favorite weather forecasting website can be found here. They also have a terrific weather app called Dark Sky, which is especially great in telling you when it’s going to rain next.
During the Summer time they are our picnic blankets, but in wet and cold weather blankets can provide extra warmth, a makeshift coat if you’re getting completely soaked, or can work as towel to wipe down a picnic bench. There’s this little Mexican shop just outside Pike Place Market on First Ave in Seattle called Milagros. They have the best picnic blankets ever, like ever. And they are only $20. Serious, go there and get some.
Prepare to rise earlier, and plan shorter trips closer to home. It’s no fun getting to the trail head when the sun is already on the way down. Good planning will let you leave the house a bit earlier than usual and get to your destination in time to still get that great hike in. Read our article on how to get a family ready to leave the house before 8 am to go hiking.
Especially during the school year we plan our family trips on Saturday. This allows us to crash on Sunday and not feel rushed and over-extended when the alarm rings on Monday and the whole family piles in the bathroom with rings under their eyes. Sundays are for baking pretzels, unwinding and playing LEGO and looking at the pics we took the day before.
In the Summertime we love taking out picnic to a campsite and just crash anywhere we feel like it But in the colder seasons we plan our trips around National Park visitor centers, or make sure we eat in the car (the kids love to sit in the trunk and eat their picnic). Check out our delicious granola bar recipe and the author’s ode to the mighty trail mix. Think of different kind of foods to bring when it’s cold outside. Like pizza rolls, yeah, that recipe I will have to give you at a later time. And few pieces of cake perhaps. Some hot chocolate or tea in a thermos always sound perfect when it’s drizzling outside.
Find more fun and easy ideas in our