Let’s face it. Fall and winter sports can be rough, especially as spectators. Dealing with all manner of rain, wind, snow, sleet, and thunderstorms can make any parent want to run for the heated seats of the minivan. Unless, of course, you have the proper gear to survive. So for all you soccer supporters, rugby rooters, football families, lacrosse lovers – heck, even you hockey hounds might find this useful – here is our must-have spectator gear that will keep you happy on the sidelines cheering on your favourite player.
A Really Good Coffee Tumbler
There’s nothing worse than getting to the soccer pitch only to realize your coffee is now ice cold. To keep your insides warm, a really good coffee mug is essential. Something double walled, super insulated, easy to clean, and easy to drink from – our pick is the Hydro Flask. The 16 oz or 20 oz Coffee Flask comes in a dazzling array of colours (you could even match your kiddo’s uniform) and promises to keep your Chai Tea Latte hot for 12 hours. Pick one up at Atmosphere or online at Well.ca
Ways to Stay Dry
A sturdy umbrella is an absolute must for any parent watching fall-winter outdoor sports. If our youngest is going to be watching the game with us, we bring our big golf umbrella, but if we are watching solo, a smaller, lighter, easier to hold umbrella works better and feels less like a workout to hold up. But the best umbrella is simply the umbrella that you have with you, so make sure to pack one into your trunk at all times, and then you won’t be caught out in the rain.
We also like to pack a towel to games and practices, for three reasons: To dry off a wet bench seat, to sit on to keep our behinds warm on metal bleachers and to dry off a soaking wet kiddo post game. Any towel will do, but you should probably leave the fancy lace-trimmed guest ones at home and opt for a dark coloured well-used towel instead.
Somewhere to Park Your Bum
Having a comfortable seat can make even the lengthiest practice seem like it goes by in an instant. If you need a standalone chair, the Big Kahuna travel chair from MEC gets the job done. If you have access to bleacher seating, toting along a stadium seat, like this one also from MEC, will save your back. Or if you are just looking for a little extra padding, a simple and inexpensive self-inflating seat cushion might be all you need. This version from MEC packs up into a neat little roll when not in use.
Ways to Keep Frostbite At Bay
If you’re holding up an umbrella for an hour, your hands are going to get cold. A pair of warm gloves is exactly what you need to keep your fingers from feeling as if they were going to fall off. These knit Thinsulate Gloves from Mountain Warehouse have lasted this soccer mama two full seasons and are onto their third. If your fingers tend to get extra cold, having a few disposable hand warmers on hand is always a good idea. For something more environmentally friendly, we’re going to give these reusable hand warmers a try this year.
Something to Haul All Your New Gear
Getting from parking lot to soccer field can sometimes be a bit of a hike. To make sure all of our kiddo’s gear and our essentials make it in one piece, we like to store a collapsible wagon in our trunk. It doesn’t take up a ton of space and holds everything we need. Bonus – if you have young spectators in tow, bring along a few extra blankets and they can build a cozy fort inside the wagon while big bro or sis is out on the field.
We hope this list of gear helps make your spectating a little more comfortable. From one soccer mama to another – here’s wishing you an unseasonably dry and warm fall-winter sports season!