Friday, November 26, 2010

Parental Gear

We are always talking about gear for our children, but often neglect to talk about gear for us. Our own gear is as, if not more important to everyone enjoying a family outing. What is your favorite piece of outdoor winter gear and why? Share your most important item to enjoying the great outdoors with your family in the cold by commenting below.

I'll be first and share mine...

I have Raynaud's which is described well on as "a rare disorder of the blood vessels, usually in the fingers and toes. People with this disorder have attacks that cause the blood vessels to narrow. When this happens, blood can't get to the surface of the skin and the affected areas turn white and blue. When the blood flow returns, the skin turns red and throbs or tingles. Cold weather and stress can trigger attacks. Often the cause of Raynaud's is not known. People in colder climates are more likely to develop Raynaud's than people in warmer areas." While I love my SKHoop, this means keeping my hands and feet warm is most crucial to staying outside for extended lengths of time. Thus I have 2 favorite outdoor gear products.

Steger Mukluks - These are boots inspired by Native North American technology and are advertised as "The warmest boots in the world." Which I can totally attest to. Living in Fairbanks, AK for 6 years, I saw tempertures drop to -60 degrees, yes below Zero! Nothing would keep my feet warm besides my Steger Mukluks. They come in many variations of the same general style. I happen to have the moose hide and canvas ones, with the boiled wool liner. Their only draw back is that they are only meant for temperatures below freezing as they are not waterproof.

The second most important item of gear that makes my life outside enjoyable and safe is mittens. Gloves are not something I even own. With this condition they are actually dangerous. Gloves separate your fingers from one another, while mittens allow your fingers to keep each other warm - power in numbers. There are numerous amounts of pair of mittens in our coat closet, but I usually use only 2. My light weight driving mittens, as I call them, and my huge expedition, Denali type mits (a truly thoughtful Christmas present from my husband!). The light ones allow me to do smaller fine motor skills operations while still being protected. I often put hand warmers in these so I am still allowed the dexterity the others don't offer. On long expeditions or activities such as snow machining I wear the expedition over mits over my smaller one, which act as a liner. Wearing the layers allows me to take off the top layer and be able to adjust gear with out having to have my hands completley exposed. Complete exposure at some temps. ends my, and consequently my family's, fun outdoors for the moment. Both of my pairs of mitts happen to be made by OR (Outdoor Research).

1 comment:

  1. My goretex merrel hiking shoes. My feet stay dry, they have great treads and super support for packing kiddos.

    My eddie Bauer pants that are stretchy and warm for hiking, skiing or dog walking. I think if you have seen me out and about I was most likely wearing these.