Reima Waterproof Down Jackets and Snowsuits

Down is unparalleled for warmth in winter, but living in Scotland, we definitely need our coats to be waterproof! There are very few manufacturers of waterproof down jackets and snowsuits for children. Spotty Otter make excellent waterproof down outerwear, and Lands End have a waterproof down Expedition Parka. The only other maker of children’s waterproof down jackets that I know of is Reima – if you know of any other brands please do mention them in the comments section below! We have been using Reima down outerwear for the last two winters, and have been very happy with it. When I first purchased Reima coats I wasn’t able to find out much about the Finnish brand, so here is a review of their down outerwear in the hope that it will be helpful to others.

Why waterproof down for outerwear?

Down is nature’s best insulating material, with the fluffy plumage of geese and ducks trapping thousands of tiny air pockets. Down provides a fantastic warmth-to-weight ratio, meaning that you can have a very warm jacket that is not heavy or bulky. It is also a very durable material. Synthetic insulation materials tend to compress over time, particular in parts of the garment subject to lots of pressure. In contrast, down jackets can last for many years if they are well looked after, and be passed down to other children. All these properties make down outerwear an excellent choice for people living in cold climates. However, there is a very significant catch!

Down functions very poorly if it gets wet, as the feathers clump together and their insulating properties are greatly reduced. If you live in a cold but wet climate and wish to use down, you need to have a waterproof layer on top, either a separate waterproof jacket, or a waterproof outer layer to the down coat.

Reima down outerwear: models and sizing

The jackets we have been using are the Reima Serkku model. The Reima Ugra has very similar features, with a slightly different cut. We’ve also been using the Reima Aapua waterproof down snowsuit for toddlers. The Aapua doesn’t feature in Reima’s 2021/22 line up which I think is a great shame, I hope they bring it back again!

The Serkku and Ugra down jackets are available in sizes 104 to 164, which translates to 3-4 up to 13-14 in UK sizing.

Reima Serkku jacket

The Aapua down snowsuit was available in sizes 74 to 98, which translates to 6-9 months up to 2-3 years in UK sizing. It is quite a ‘puffy’ style of snowsuit, but this makes it quite forgiving of a range of heights and body sizes in the snowsuit.

Reima Aapua snowsuit

Reima garments are designed to have around 6cm of growing room from the stated size, and I have found all of their down outerwear to be generously sized. I bought jackets where my children were at the lower end of the stated size (e.g. 99cm for a size 104cm jacket), and they were pretty large but useable. We have been able to get at least two seasons worth of wear out of the jackets, and I think we will hopefully get a third season out of them.

Reima down outerwear: warmth

Reima uses 550 fill power down in their outerwear. This is a good fill rating for a down jacket but not outstanding. For comparison, Lands End use 600 fill power down in their Expedition Parka. Spotty Otter do not give a fill power rating for their Explorer outerwear range, but they do state that they use 750 fill power down in their non-waterproof Drift Down range, which is an excellent fill rating.

Reima state that the coats are suitable for temperatures ranging from -10C to -30C. Now the temperature suitability is obviously going to depend significantly on what your child is wearing alongside the coat. Humidity and windchill are also important factors. In practice, we have found these coats very suitable for the +5C to -10C winters we experience here in Scotland, with lots of rain and wind. At the upper end of those temperatures the coat would be over normal clothes, at the lower end it would be over decent thermal under layers.

I’ve been particularly pleased with the Aapua snowsuit for keeping toddlers warm when sitting in a buggy or back carrier. It can be very hard to keep toddlers warm on winter walks in the carrier, because they are quite exposed to the weather, and they aren’t moving to keep them warm. The Aapua has been a great help in giving us confidence that they are warm and happy.

Measuring the warmth of down jackets: to compare the warmth of down products, you need to look at the fill power and the total down weight in the product. Fill power is a measurement of how fluffy the down is, and therefore how much air it traps. The higher the fill power, the warmer the down is. So a jacket containing 100g of 750 fill power down will be warmer than a jacket containing 100g of 550 fill power down. However, the down weight, or how much down there is in the jacket, also matters. So a jacket containing 200g of 550 fill power down will be warmer than a jacket in the same size containing 100g of 550 fill power down. Whilst you sometimes find the total down weight listed for sleeping bags, it’s not typically provided for jackets, as it will vary depending on the size.

Reima down outerwear: waterproofing and durability

The Aapua snowsuit has a water column of 10,000mm and an abrasion resistance rating of 20,000 cycles.

The Serkku jacket has a water column of 15,000mm and an abrasion resistance rating of 40,000 cycles.

This accords with my experience of the garments. Both the snowsuit and the jacket feel durable and waterproof. The Aapua snowsuit outer layer is made of a more flexible and ‘fabric like’ material to give good freedom of movement to toddlers. The Serkku jacket outer layer feels tougher and more resistant to wear and tear. I would describe it as being like a heavyweight raincoat fabric, tough and easy to wipe clean.

We recently used the Aapua snowsuit on an all-day walk in the rain. The outer fabric looked saturated with water, but the suit was bone dry inside, and our baby was nice and warm. I really appreciated the oversized hood, which kept our baby’s face dry whilst they were up in the baby carrier, despite the weather.

All our Reima garments are holding up really well after two winters of wear, and we haven’t had any issues with water leaking in. However, we don’t use these jackets and suits for really muddy or messy play, they are used for cold walks and playing in the snow. If you are wanting a jacket primarily for mud kitchen play or gardening then I would probably suggest choosing a fully synthetic option that is easier to wash.

Reima down outerwear: other features

The Aapua Snowsuit has a long zip (with storm flap) which makes it easy to get on and off, and reasonably easy to access the child’s bottom half for nappy changes if needed! The cuffs are elasticated, but do not have velcro tabs. There are silicone foot straps, which I’ve found particularly useful on this suit for avoiding the legs riding up if the child is sitting down playing in the snow.

The hood is detachable, and it has a removable fur edging. The hood stays up reasonably well if the child is sitting still, but not for active play in my experience. On colder days I’ve tended to use this snowsuit with a Disana boiled wool jacket underneath, which has a hood which stays up brilliantly.

The Serkku jacket has plenty of pockets, including an inner pocket from size 116 upwards. It also has an detachable hood, with a removable fur edging. I like the hood on the Serkku jackets, it stays in place pretty well, and has a velcro closure flap to provide additional protection around the chin.

The Serkku has velcro adjustable cuffs, and two drawcord adjusters at the waist and the bottom of the jacket, so it is easy to get a good fit. This is a really high quality jacket and all the components reflect that, down to the stylish faux leather zip pulls and reflective piping.

Final thoughts

I’m really pleased with our Reima Down Outerwear, and will likely purchase more in the future. It has been perfect for our cold, wet and sometimes snowy winters, and covers everything from a frosty school-run to a mountain walk to sledging trips.

The Aapua snowsuit is the warmest that I have come across, and it makes it easier for us to get out for walks as a family even in cold conditions, as I am confident that it will keep our toddler warm in the back carrier. I really hope that Reima bring it back into the range for 2022/23.

I would love to see Reima producing a waterproof down jacket for toddlers. At the moment there is nothing in the range smaller than size 104 (and it’s a roomy size 104, still fitting my child in age 5-6 clothing). If you are looking for a waterproof down coat for a toddler, I would recommend looking at the Spotty Otter Explorer III range.

One caveat is that I don’t think these coats are the best option for very muddy play. We have got ours quite muddy on a number of occasions and they wipe down well, but I wouldn’t want to be running them through the washing machine if I could avoid it, as down can form clumps when it is wet. We have different coats to use for outdoor nursery and gardening, on all but the coldest days.

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