Help me prepare now for a long, dark COVID winter
July 10, 2020 9:01 AM   Subscribe

What can I be doing now to ensure that I can stay warm, sane, and active this winter if things are about the same in the USA? Help me throw money at my desire to stay warm and (as) happy (as possible) being outside this winter.

One of the ways I'm sustaining my sanity right now is with post-work walks through my DC neighborhood and its environs. It's lovely, and I really enjoy it. I realized, though, that I will be *much* less excited about these when it's dark at 4pm and 20 degrees outside.

I hate being cold, and so I'm thinking now about what I can do to ensure I'll be set for winter. I'm willing to throw money at this. I have a home gym that I use for yoga and weights (small squat supports and barbell), but unless there's a fabulous small footprint treadmill available, I'm not thinking of additional gym equipment. For mental health reasons, I probably need to get outside for a walk or run every day.

I'm interested in things that can make being around in the outside better when it's cold.

For example, are there any good, new technologies around heated clothing or other accessories? I buy the disposable hand warmers in bulk - any new progress there? What's the best long underwear to keep warm?

I'm also interested in what I can do in my house to be warm and cozy. I have all of the general things, like space heaters, heated blankets and a mattress pad, and a hot water bottle. (Based on this question of mine previously, I bought a buttload of rugs and it was a big improvement!) What fun warm or cozy things am I missing?

I'm also interested in ways to improve my home for when it's dark and cold. I have the Phillips Hue lightbulbs, and they make everything so much more pleasant in the winter. Are there home upgrades like that that you've loved?

Thank you for any insight you can provide!
posted by kinsey to Health & Fitness (32 answers total) 57 users marked this as a favorite
 
Knitting! It's super fun, you can do it in front of the tv, and it produces warm things. All the craft stores were closed so I bought plain cotton string at the grocery and made an awesome natural scarf. I have a bunch of raffia that I'm about to get creative with... I'm kinda thinking straw sweater actually.
Also I have a garment that has been my favorite favorite thing in the winter: a hood. It's basically a polar fleece bag with a face hole... I'll wear it under another hoodie and it's just perfect. If you sew, it's one of the easiest things you could make. So cozy! (Also, it used to belong to someone evil, and every time I wear it and am warmed, they are forced to do good against thier will. Ahhh.. karma.)
posted by sexyrobot at 9:16 AM on July 10, 2020 [2 favorites]


If you don't have a fireplace, you might want to consider getting an electric fireplace/stove. The warmth and flickering (fake) flames are very soothing and cozy. I know you said you have space heaters but the fire component makes a big difference! The Spruce recommended some earlier this year that I've had my eye on--there are even some that fit into a tv stand.
posted by zoetrope at 9:33 AM on July 10, 2020 [3 favorites]


Battery technology has advanced to the point that electrically heated clothing is actually feasible and useful in certain circumstances. Milwaukee, for example, has a line that powered by their standard M12 batteries, and a pair of gloves that use USB charging. They might be overkill for your purposes (and, um, are aimed at "construction style"), but they provide useful heat for several hours.

There are, of course, many other providers. One place to start would be someone like The Warming Store (but note, I have not purchased from them myself yet).
posted by aramaic at 9:37 AM on July 10, 2020 [1 favorite]


This is a good guide to get started. How to layer clothing for each season

I don't know if you're familiar with the outdoor industry but MSRP is generally outrageous. The trick is that I typically buy clothing at 40-50% off MSRP which still makes it expensive but much more reasonable. Items from Patagonia, Mountain Hardwear, Smartwool, Marmot, Mammut, etc. have lasted me 5+ years before needing replacement. I'm still wearing jackets that are 7 years old.

For the coldest days in the winter (10 degrees), I follow the winter guide including wool long baselayers shirt and leggings (Columbia, Helly Hansen, Smartwool are all good). For me, keeping my core warm leaves my hands more comfortable.

For reusable handwarmers, my friends have enjoyed these though you have to deal with fuel: Zippo Handwarmers
posted by just.good.enough at 9:39 AM on July 10, 2020 [5 favorites]


I’m feeling the same way as you, and one of the things I’m looking for is a pair of really good walking boots that would work in rain, snow, and ice—one of my biggest worries about after dark winter walks is slipping. I don’t have a solution yet, but something to consider.

As for home, I already had flannel sheets (highly recommend), but I upped my warm bedding game with this 6 oz flannel duvet cover from Company Store and an Irish mohair blanket. Extremely toasty.
posted by sallybrown at 9:40 AM on July 10, 2020 [2 favorites]


I’m allergic to down, so have switched to a Merino wool quilted vest.
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:46 AM on July 10, 2020


You don't need any fancy new technology to be comfortably warm when it's 20 degrees out. You just need to wear enough clothes with enough insulation. Do you feel like you need to look stylish and not overly bundled up? That makes it a little more challenging. If you don't care what you look like, get a pair of insulated ski pants, some long underwear (any type will probably be fine), and an insulated winter jacket appropriate for downhill skiing. Wear a hat. If your hands get cold with whatever gloves you have, go to an outdoor store and get a nice warm pair of insulated mittens. Get waterproof, insulated boots and wool socks. (Where you are, winter hiking boots probably make more sense than tall snow boots.) An outdoor store like REI will have all this stuff. I would shop at an outdoor store rather than a department store for the most functional clothing.
posted by Redstart at 9:48 AM on July 10, 2020 [2 favorites]


I once attended a lecture on "how to dress warmly for winter outdoor activities". Here are the takeaways I can offer.

1. You want to dress in layers. That will let you adjust and fine-tune your comfort level as you warm up from activity; also, the extra layers trap extra air in between them, so you're all the more insulated. What you want are three or four layers:

a) a "Base layer." This is what you wear next to the skin. It should keep you covered up, and it should also wick moisture away from your skin (if you sweat and that sweat is sitting on your skin in the cold, that makes you colder). This should be either a synthetic fabric or a merino wool; it should not be cotton (more on this later). The thickness of this layer depends on how warm or cold it is, and how warm or cold you are; if you're in a fairly temperate climate and you tend to run warm, then you can get away with a thinner layer. But if you're in, like, Maine, and you run cold, then a thicker layer does you well here.

b) a "mid layer" or "insulating layer". This is a second layer that offers added insulation, especially of your core. Ideally, it should be wool, down, or fleece, although if the weather is going to be wet you should avoid the down.

c) the "outer layer". Your coats, jackets, etc. are this - they should be waterproof if it's raining, snowing, or otherwise wet.

Then you have all the hats, gloves, scarves, etc. as the final thing.

Here's how that translates to outfits. For a winter day that's on the warm side, I'd probably wear:

* For the base layer, I'd wear a long-sleeve tee, and maybe leggings. Something lightweight, and not cotton.
* For the mid-layer, I'd wear a thick knitted vest just over my core, and pants.
* For the outer layer, since it's warmer winter day, I'd just wear a fleece jacket I have that blocks wind.
* Maybe some thin gloves and that's it.

And for a colder winter day, here is something I actually wore on a hike once:

* For the base layer, a set of long underwear in synthetic fabric.
* For the mid-layer, a sweater and pants.
* For the outer layer, I went with a coat I have that itself was double-layer (the lining can zip out to form a separate jacket), and added a thin vest between the layers. Instead of zipping the lining into the outer layer, I left them separate, so I could unzip just the outer layer and leave the inner layer on my jacket zipped up if I wanted.
* I also had mittens, a scarf, and a hat.

There's no particular special technology you need to worry about or invest in; the space-agey performance-knit stuff works fine, but so does a cheap longsleeve merino tee you found in a thrift store. On that super cold hike I took the long underwear was HeatTech underwear from Uniqlo, and it worked perfectly. As long as what you're using is not made of cotton, and you make sure that you can block the rain or wind if it comes up, you're good.

2. Cotton should definitely be avoided. Cotton traps moisture close to your body, and it takes longer to dry out. So if you're outside in the cold with a cotton shirt, and you sweat a little, the cotton shirt will soak that up and retain the water and so you're now wearing this clammy wet shirt in the cold, and that's not good. On that same cold hike I slipped and landed with one foot ankle-deep in a brook, and started a quick march back to the car. My jeans (and my plain sneakers) were the only things that weren't really weather-suitable; and sure enough, about halfway to the car, the hem of my jeans froze completely solid. However, because I was wearing two pair of wool socks, a heattech shirt, and a wool sweater, and that jacket, I was perfectly fine- my toes didn't even feel cold.


So - dress in layers and avoid cotton, and you'll be fine.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:07 AM on July 10, 2020 [13 favorites]


If examples of what other people wear are helpful, here's what I would wear on my daily walk with the dog (about an hour and a quarter on trails in the woods) if it was 20 degrees out:

insulated ski pants with no long underwear underneath
a long-sleeved shirt, probably cotton (yeah, cotton - it's fine if you're not out for that long and not exerting yourself too much)
A sweater or light fleece pullover
A down jacket
A fleece hat
Gloves or mittens
Wool socks
Insulated snow boots

At 30 degrees, I would probably still wear the snow pants and snow boots, but might get a little hot. If it was dry and not windy I might just wear fleece pants, possibly with long underwear underneath. Instead of a down jacket I would wear something more like a heavy fleece jacket with waterproof shell. I would have a hat but would likely take it off for most of the walk. I would have only thin gloves and might take those off.

At 40 degrees I would wear fleece pants (no long underwear) and a fairly lightweight jacket, maybe heavy fleece or something waterproof but with equivalent warmth. I might end up taking the jacket off for much of the walk. I might not even bother to take a hat or gloves. I would wear non-insulated hiking boots, not snow boots, but I'd have warm wool socks.
posted by Redstart at 10:48 AM on July 10, 2020


Having a cold nose and throat really bums me out. I plan to wear a mask to help with that.

Seriously, I've had a much better time outside in winter when I just cover my nose with a scarf or mask; I think the masks I have now are way better and will make it a lot more fun.
posted by amtho at 11:17 AM on July 10, 2020


MITTENS. mittens are so much warmer than gloves. I wear mittens constantly in the winter now and it has improved my life a lot - I'm a cold-handed person in even mid-summer. Get some bluetooth headphones too, and practice some of the voice commands your phone can do so you can keep your mittens on during your walk! I put rechargable USB handwarmers in mine, but often have to turn them off because my hands get too warm. I buy mittens that are intended for snowboarding.

Merino wool socks are great, and everyone around me now has a style of slippers that is called a "camp bootie" and is like a puffy down foot-jacket with a soft cushioned rubber sole. They're really warm and not annoying to wear - my favourite ones (eddie bauer) were discontinued, but north face and a few other outdoorsy brands have ones that look good!

I wear fleece lined tights under jeans in the winter for biking or walking. Long johns are also good, but I prefer the coziness of fleece to the texture of most long-johns.

Also a hot drink, like a tea or coffee in a well insulated to-go mug goes a long way warming you from the inside! I love our zojirushi to-go mugs, they're excellent, but you have to make your tea outside of them and only put it in when it is about at the temperature where you want to drink it, because it doesn't cook down inside the mug at all.

(I once made tea in mine, put it in my bicycle's waterbottle holder, biked 9km in the canadian prairies winter, forgot about it, worked 8 hours while it stayed outside on my bike holster, biked the 9km home in the dark canadian winter evening, arrived home, said "oh hey, my tea!", popped it open and took a swig, and burned my mouth.)
posted by euphoria066 at 11:36 AM on July 10, 2020 [7 favorites]


Winter is so much more bearable with a heated mattress pad.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 11:39 AM on July 10, 2020 [2 favorites]


I live in Minnesota and genuinely enjoy winter! I could do without it getting dark at 5:00 pm, but the cold doesn't bother me at all. I can't stand heat and humidity, and Minnesota has been AWFUL the last few weeks, so I've been keeping sane by fantasizing about how much more I will enjoy quarantine once the weather cools down.

My two best pieces of advice re: staying warm outside:

1) Fleece lined tights as a base layer. You can get them at TJ Maxx for $5 or $6 a pop, and they're not weird/bulky under pants like long underwear are.

2) DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES WEAR COTTON SOCKS. EmpressCallipygos beautifully explained why cotton isn't great during the winter, but I'd like to stress especially that cotton socks are the devil. Your feet will sweat, your socks will get wet, they will not dry/wick, and you will have icy toes within minutes. I wear either Smartwool or Darn Tough socks.

In terms of indoor/winter coziness, you might find some good ideas googling the word "hygge."

Finally, I would recommend doing some baking this winter. Not only will you warm up your space by turning on the oven, but the smell of fresh cookies/muffins/bread/cake/etc. will make your house super cozy and nice!
posted by leftover_scrabble_rack at 11:51 AM on July 10, 2020 [2 favorites]


This is my outdoor uniform for walking in a Wisconsin winter:

(1) a cozy down parka, about knee length, with a hood. It's important that it covers the butt and is roomy enough to wear whatever number of layers underneath. I like wearing the hood up because it creates a warm pocket around my neck and head. My rated-below-zero down parka is probably overkill for DC, but I think a lighter weight one with the same features (length/hood) would be really nice for 20-40 degrees.
(2) a wool hat
(3) a scarf wrapped closely around my neck (and over my face if it's really windy).
(3) mid-weight wool hiking socks (smartwool or REI brand)
(4) fingerless gloves with a mitten flap; if it's really cold I'll wear a pair of glove liners or stretchy gloves under them.
(5) good walking boots/shoes. If the shoes are low-top, I might wear wool leg warmers to cover up to mid calf.

As long as it's above zero, I'm usually just wearing a cardigan, dress, and normal weight leggings as my regular clothing. For me, fleece-lined leggings are a bit much for 20+, but ymmv. (I got mine from Sock Dreams.)
posted by esker at 12:24 PM on July 10, 2020 [1 favorite]


I would add something like wool-lined sneakers or boots, or any brand that has real, fuzzy-wool lining. I'm still not bold enough to always wear my old UGG slipper boots like people recommend, without socks, but a couple times I tried it and they really did keep my tootsies completely warm. I'm particularly fantasizing about these for winter but they're a bit out of range right now.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 12:30 PM on July 10, 2020


Actually, my 20 degree list should have a balaclava along with a hat. Mine is a Turtle Fur Shellaclava.

I also have this absolutely ridiculous-looking but extremely cozy wearable blanket/onesie thing from Turtle Fur, like a big bag with pockets, a front zipper, arms and two cuffed holes at the bottom for your feet to come out. I can't find a link to anything exactly like it, but if you are willing to look stupid in exchange for being warm while you relax around the house, you can try searching "wearable blanket."
posted by Redstart at 12:45 PM on July 10, 2020 [1 favorite]


Hi, I also live in the DC area and I hate being cold. This answer focuses on going outside in the winter and enjoying it despite that impairment. Our winters are comparatively mild, so it’s possible to enjoy being outdoors with a moderate investment in proper clothing. For me, the keys are:

Long underwear. Cotton thermal undershirts and pants or tights are a warmth superpower for the really cold days, and I find they don’t overheat me too much if it warms up a little.

Flannel shirts. A good flannel shirt and a normal undershirt keeps me happy between about 40 and 70 degrees, and is drizzle-resistant. There is a reason these are stereotypical Seattle attire, and our winters can be similarly grey, cool, and drizzly. Duluth Trading Company is the place to get flannel for curvy women. (As usual in our society, men and less-curvy women have plenty of options.)

Hats. Real wool (not acrylic) beanie when it’s cold, something waterproof when it is chilly or drizzly. I wear a waxed cotton hat with a wide brim and never bother with an umbrella.

Gloves. I wear these because they don’t impair my hands’ dexterity much, and deerskin stays soft after getting wet. Your preferences may vary.

Coat. I like a real wool coat that ends below the waist and above the knee, or for more casual occasions and yard work, a lined heavy canvas coat. Both are pleasantly drizzle-resistant.

I tend to look a bit like a lumberjack in the winter, but there is no reason one can’t achieve a less forestry-oriented style with clothes of similar materials and utility.
posted by musicinmybrain at 1:10 PM on July 10, 2020 [1 favorite]


Silk long underwear, sock liners, and glove liners are the bomb!
posted by jgirl at 1:27 PM on July 10, 2020 [1 favorite]


I felt dumb buying snow boots because it so seldom snows where I live, but turns out it's great having really warm, comfy snow boots!
posted by potrzebie at 1:49 PM on July 10, 2020


I have no experience of DC winters or how they compare to New York winters. But one of the best things I ever did for coping with the cold, wet, slippery New York winter was to get a pair of Army surplus cold weather “Mickey Mouse” boots. They’re the most waterproof, nonskid boots I’ve ever had, and they’ve lasted forever. A pair of thick socks makes them toasty warm. I can walk through just about anything in them.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:43 PM on July 10, 2020 [1 favorite]


People seem to have the clothing well covered, so I'll talk about your home. I cannot recommend a SAD lamp enough. Buy a serious one and use it every morning while you eat your breakfast or whatever.

I'm also a huge fan of the sunrise alarm clock. It makes waking up when it's dark out much easier.

If you own your own place, a heated bathroom floor would be dreamy. In a similar but less invasive vein, a towel warmer would also be heavenly.

Lots of low lighting options make for a cozier atmosphere inside--buy a crapton of lamps and candles to go with your crapton of rugs! Turn off the overhead lights, turn on the lamps and light some candles every evening. Pairs well with hobbies like knitting, punch needle and crochet. You might need a task lamp for stuff like cross stitch or whittling. Don't forget a cozy or extra soft throw blanket.
posted by purple_bird at 2:56 PM on July 10, 2020 [3 favorites]


For years if not decades, I hated the cold around Boston. I'd hear people say, "there's no bad weather, only bad clothing," and I'd think it didn't apply to me, because I wore layers, an LL Bean down coat, etc. etc., and when it was cold out, I was still miserably cold. When that coat finally got really old a few years ago, I did some web research before choosing its replacement. I ended up with a well-reviewed Eddie Bauer that was MUCH thicker down, and that came down to my lower calves instead of ending just above my knees like the prior one had. I was astounded to learn that I could be toasty warm when it was 20 degrees out. All those years, I thought I had a decent coat, and I just didn't. So, I'm with others above who say you don't need anything high tech or innovative, just a really good coat and whatever boots, mittens etc. you like to wear with it. I waited for the Memorial Day sale to get that coat, and I think it was around $100.
posted by daisyace at 3:03 PM on July 10, 2020 [2 favorites]


Lots of great advice here. I spent several months walking 18 children 25 minutes after waiting for them for 20 last winter so echoing:

- a base layer makes a huge difference; merino wool is great. I have a Costco set of base layer and it's awesome.
- get a hat you love that covers your ears, and scarf or other face covering
- down is the best
- mittens are one million times better than gloves

I may have missed this but boots, with cleats (the elastic kind) if weather requires them, i.e. freeze/thaw, are also a must.

For your house - our One Cool Trick is really good quality candles, a whack of them with just one consistent scent (so a bunch of soy/unscented and then one nicely scented one). Also: warm drinks (tea!), a great throw (down is not a bad choice here) and some pillows.

Finally - warm fleece pyjamas, really cosy slippers (which will vary by your taste; our favourites are sheepskin-lined moccasins) and we have jersey sheets for the cold months.
posted by warriorqueen at 3:15 PM on July 10, 2020


Also, I just wanted to extoll the incredible beauty and sharpness of a walk in winter when it's dark. A night hike in snow or when it's crisp and clear, is really one of Earth's gifts to mankind. The sky can be amazing if you can get out of light pollution, but even so, there's a clarity that comes when your breath is making smoke. I hope you enjoy it!

If you want to jazz it up, Wintergreen lifesavers will spark when you break/crunch them. :)
posted by warriorqueen at 3:17 PM on July 10, 2020 [4 favorites]


Traction cleats for walking on ice or snow! They fit over your boots.
posted by mareli at 4:01 PM on July 10, 2020 [3 favorites]


Also, getting your cold-weather gear in colors as bright as possible can really lift your spirits on a gray gloomy day.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:55 PM on July 10, 2020 [4 favorites]


Real talk, unless the gyms are closed again I'm just going back to them. There's only so much a person can take. But if they are closed again, which who knows, they might be -- or just out of business altogether -- then I will have to resume the cold-weather running I did for the first half of the pandemic.

The thing with outdoor winter exercise is walking the tightrope between frozen when you start and overheated as you progress. (Personally I love being cold and hate being warm, but even so I am not immune to frostbite and have to dress, you know, appropriately.)

Spring where I am is about equivalent to winter where you are, so here is what I wore to run outdoors daily from February through April:

-A down vest keeps your core warm without making you overheat as you get increasingly active. Get one with good pockets for reasons outlined below.
-A substantial sweatshirt or thick exercise top for under the vest
-A lightweight base layer for under both of those
-Good gloves (I never actually had any gloves at all but constantly wished for them)
-A small enough hat that you can stuff it into a pocket if it becomes too warm, OR an ear-warming headband which will be less likely to become too warm.
-Good thick leggings, lined if that's your jam.
-Tall socks. You want to not have random gaps between your leggings and your socks.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 5:34 PM on July 10, 2020


This is a big YMMV but I discovered that for me some of hating cold is about having sensory issues that don't always mix well with layering unless I'm pretty careful about size/fit and texture. I grew up with the idea that natural fabrics are the best and while I still appreciate silk and wool and cotton, microfleece has been a godsend for me because it's soft and it doesn't hold in the cold (i.e. it doesn't feel cold to the touch if I put it on while I'm cold) and I don't need to manage hand-washing it when it's freezing.
posted by needs more cowbell at 10:48 AM on July 11, 2020


I have poor circulation in my hands, and last winter I picked up two of these Saferell rechargeable hand warmers. They have been life changing. I no longer have to cut winter walks short because my hands are too cold. They also let me get away with just wearing a light pair of gloves, so I can actually get my keys out of my pocket. That had been impossible with my old big bulky gloves. There's three different temperature settings, and I've only ever needed the lowest one, though it doesn't get below freezing often here. I typically need to recharge them every 2-3 days.
posted by Sibrax at 10:24 AM on July 12, 2020 [1 favorite]


Wow - AskMefi comes through again! I seriously could have marked every answer as best, since there's so much good info. I'll be stocking up on a lot of these suggestions. Here's to a toasty winter!
posted by kinsey at 9:27 AM on July 13, 2020 [2 favorites]


I am an avid snowboarder; and dressing warm is critical to having fun on those stormy powder days.

Here is my gear list, hopefully it will help you build a wardrobe that will keep you warm too. I put the AMZN product numbers where available so you can look up the exact items I use.
From head to toes:

1. Balaclava (B074NB35L) - I hate having my mouth covered up when I'm exercising so I cut out the mesh piece and sewed in a bit of fleece to make the hole small enough that my lips are covered. I wear a helmet over this, so a beanie on top wouldn't be a bad idea.

2. Body layers:
Thermals: B00EF1K1BI & B01NANZ4WL - I prefer the "tall" version because the extra length in the sleeve and in the back makes sure that I have 0 exposed skin, by far the most important part to keeping warm.

Soft Layer: If it's going to be near 0F, I wear another layer of cotton, usually sweatpants of some sort. My coat (see below) comes with an inner liner that I only use in the most frigid of conditions.

Hardshell/Outerlayer:
Coat - I *love* my 686 coat. It's a "smarty-3-in-1" coat and having vents under the arm makes it very versatile; I can start zipped up, and as I warm up I can unzip them and as I swing my arms it introduces cold air into my torso. Adjusting the size of the opening to the conditions is really useful.

Pants - I have Burton snowpants B071GFX1BG, but I've gone through many pairs by many brands, the two things I look for are waterproofness (look for 10k-20k mm "waterproofing") and vents (which make breathability a little less important);
I have a pair of snowbibs B01EFL8VDW, but I reserve those for multi-foot powder days - they're not as versatile as the pants, though they do keep the snow out.

3. Gloves.
I think gloves were what first made me realize that money can buy warmth, but don't buy the most expensive option thinking it's the warmest. I find mittens warmer than gloves, and I don't have too much of a dexterity problem wearing them. I'd have to take gloves off for the tasks I take my mittens off for anyways. These are the best gloves I own. However, my brother in law doesn't think they're warm enough, so he has a pair of gloves with heaters in them.

4. Feet:
I have Darn Tough socks B000XFZXYK at $25 a pop they're not cheap. but they are *so* worth it. I bought one pair to try them out for a year or so, and then after I realized they were that good, I bought 4 more pairs ( and lemme tell you, clicking submit on that $100 (for socks!) order was tough.) After I washed all my socks, I realized I couldn't tell the difference between the brand new pairs, and the one that was a year old. I've had them for 4 years now, and I'm pretty sure a new pair would blend right in - the color hasn't even faded that much.

Of course, when I'm snowboarding I wear snowboard boots, but good waterproof and breathable boots are worth every penny. I have a pair of B0042ANB4G that have lasted me 5 years now, but the treads fading and they're not as waterproof as they once were. I firmly believe in Pratchets Economic Theory of Boots, but I'm not sure these are contenders. Pratchett set me up for 10 years, but I'll only get 6 out of these.
posted by krieghund at 3:47 PM on July 13, 2020


I used to run a winter camping festival, and don't particularly like cold. In DC winters, there is *always* some amount of clothing you can wear to stay pleasantly toasty.

Basically, if it comes down to this: if your core gets cold, no amount of additional stuff on your arms, legs, hands, or feet will help.

I tend to go t-shirt, hoodie, winter jacket on top, a warm hat (or two warm hats layered!) on my head, and a good pair of ski gloves. If you're still cold, favor "warmer jacket" over "stylish jacket", as well.

For bottom wear, long underwear is actually pretty good under jeans if you're out for any length of time. Carhartt makes wonderful stuff. Otherwise, just wear leggings under jeans; leggings aren't great at stopping wind, but if jeans do that for you, you've got two workable layers.

Wool socks. Some waterproof or water resistant shoes/boots/whatever if it's raining or snowing... and honestly just gym shoes with wool socks if it's not.

But TLDR: keep your torso warm, and the rest will follow. If you have to skip the hoodie or the second layer on your legs, try skipping the legs and not the torso. Your toes can get cold and it's not horrible if your body is warm. If your body is cold, it's horrible and your feet are cold, even if you've got seventeen layers on your legs and feet.
posted by talldean at 6:56 PM on July 13, 2020


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