Review / Editorial
Keeping Kids Comfortable With WOOM's WARM TEN Gloves
Keeping Kids Comfortable
No one likes being uncomfortable in the woods, and for a lot of folks it's a bit barrier to enjoying mountain biking in the 'off season.' You know the time-honoured trope: "no bad weather, just bad gear." Most of the adults I know can suck it up, at least once in a while, when they hit the woods a bit underdressed for the occasion. A little reminder that packing a few extra layers around can pay dividends, and that sometimes there can be personal comfort costs to the popular pack-free mountain biking experience.
Comparatively, the chances of your kid loving their outdoor experience when they're miserable are pretty much zero. And it's going to make it much harder for you to get them out next time because they're your kid so at the end of the day if they're unprepared, it's your fault. So I place a high value on keeping my grom comfortable on a bike rideoa; road, mountain, commuter, whatever. I'm certainly not claiming an iota of say in how you raise your own charge, or charges, but I think I have a compelling list of reasons that their comfort may be paramount to you too:
- You genuinely want them to enjoy riding bicycles.
- They'll be more likely to go riding with you if they know the experience isn't going to suck.
- The sound of children whining is horrible in general.
- The sound of children whining about being too hot or too cold is even worse.
- They'll rat you out to a partner/grandparents and you get in enough trouble already.
- When they're faster than you in the future, they'll remember how awesome you were and ride with you anyway (hopefully).
Starting out mountain biking, I tried to introduce a rule that my grom had to carry all her own stuff; snacks, extra gloves, light, layers. That lasted about three minutes and in hindsight was sort of silly. For one, good-enough kids' gear in my budget at the bean-stalk's growth rate is bulkier than what I tend to run myself. There's also the fact that as rational adults we can 'know' that we're going to be cold for the first few minutes of the ride, and any time we stop and get going again, but that we'll warm up. Likewise, when we are hot and sweaty we may just decide to suck it up.
In my experience working with many kids as a coach, volunteer, and with one as dad, they're never "a tad warm" or "a bit cold." It's either "I'M SOOOOooooooo HOT!" or "I'M FREEZING!" Costume changes are a lot easier than arguing with a 3-to-9 year old mountain biker about their personal running temperature. Most of the time when they know they could put on a jacket or remove a fleece anytime they want, they refrain from doing so.
There are limits. My daughter has to choose between her Race Face shorts or Adidas pants before the ride and she's stuck with her choice. Armour is non-negotiable. She carries her own gloves and can swap them as she chooses. We now have a fantastic kids' jacket from Showers Pass that packs up small when the rain stops and her MEC fleece is bulky but stalwart and straps on the outside of my pack when she's "MELTiiiiiiiiing."
WARM TEN For Twenty
Now that's all well and good, but kids' seem to need an endless supply of gear that they're constantly growing out of. The fleece and rain jacket cross over to everyday life (that Crossover jacket has basically been subject to a construction site of mucky recess-time forest projects at school) as do her Adidas pants. I see some kids wearing their Five Ten shoes as daily drivers but those we just use for mountain biking and then hand-down to cousins. A cool jersey and great shorts aren't cheap but then I suppose it's on parents to make sure we get our value's worth by taking them riding a ton.
That's where I come full circle to these WOOM gloves. I've never worn a pair on my own mitts, but my kid says they're just as warm, comfortable, and easy to brake with as her 100% Briskers. She's been grabbing for these every time since they've arrived because she prefers how easy they are to pull on and off. The WARM TEN gloves cost 19 USD for the pair, where the Youth Briskers are 34.50 USD for a solid W on the score sheet.
I don't want to oversell the differences. I've washed both the Briskers and these WARM TENs enough times that I have zero concerns with quality of manufacturing in either case. Also, on days when the WARM TENs get forgotten at home she's just as happy to use the Briskers for riding. I like the very-bright neon of the 100% but the WOOM gloves have some nice reflective trim details including the logo. Both gloves have thin enough fingers that they're natural to ride in, but they're also warm. Even with all things being equal, it's hard not to lean towards the WARM TEN every ride at a 45% savings compare to the 100%.
I don't doubt that we'll be passing these gloves down to younger cousins when the time comes and replacing them with a fresh set. They've been great for hiking and raking too. They aren't weather-proof, (what actually rideable mountain bike glove is, at any price?) so at 19 USD if we didn't already have Briskers ready to go, I'd be tempted to get two pairs for mid-ride swaps. It's a luxury I don't go without on wet rides and I can't fathom swapping my own damp gloves off my prune-hands whilst expecting to leave my little kid with her saturated ones in place.
I'm always interested in hearing kids' gear suggestions with budget in mind. There's an ever growing market of luxury kids' mountain bike wear, which I'm certain is mostly great stuff, but just getting a great kids' mountain bike is a hefty investment. I always put forward the Showers Pass Little Crossover 2.5-layer weatherproof jacket at 70 USD // 100 CAD and now I'm adding these WOOM WARM TEN gloves at 19 USD // 24 CAD.