Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Prepping for Winter - Part 2

Termination dust is in the mountains, signifying that it's time to go down to the basement and break out the winter clothes. We spend a lot of time talking about what our little ones should wear outside for a successful family outing, but we often neglect to talk about what we, the parents, should wear. An expedition lasts only as long as EVERYONE is happy and comfortable. I've seen parents, and some long-time Alaskans, skating at Westchester Lagoon, sledding at a local hill or hiking on trails in the winter, their kids are perfectly bundled up in the appropriate layers, but the adult is wearing jeans and their lips are blue.

As mentioned in the first part of Prepping for Winter, all outdoor experts whether talking about infants or adults, say "Cotton Kills." Cotton unlike polyester & wool fabrics does not wick moisture away from the body, nor does it dry fast. Having a cotton layer, especially up against your skin is an invitation to hypothermia and frostbite when you are active. Sweat saturates the layer and clings to your skin, subsequently freezing from the arctic air.

Loose layers are key to feeling comfortable and allow you to regulate you body's temperature. Tight fitting clothing can decrease circulation, inviting frostbite to spread more quickly.

Footing - trails, sidewalks and even parking lots are a dangerous place, especially in the freezing/thawing months of early winter (fall for people in the Lower 48) and spring. When ever you are carrying or wearing a child it is important to consider wearing ice grippers. You go down, so does your kiddo. Some sneakers like Ice Bugs come with studs built into the treads of the shoe, others fit over the sole of your shoe & there are services provided by local stores, such as Skinny Raven, to put studs in an old pair of running shoes or boots.

Gloves & Mitts - Like baselayers, you don't want cotton or any material that is slow to dry. Mittens are the most effective tool to keep you hands warm and provide the best space for hand warmers. Gloves separate the fingers which looses heat. Mits are the ultimate example of power in numbers, however you do loose some dexterity.

Extra hand and foot warmers are always a great thing to have stashed in the car along with extra layers of clothing. Cosco sells them by the case. I'm on a mission to try to find an effective reusable brand.

While it is true you pay for what you get, there are reasonably priced layer options at any department store and at lots of second hand stores. Good gear is an investment that should last you years.

1 comment:

  1. SkHoop skirt and my Black Diamond mittens are the two best purchases (along with diamond ice grippers). Couldn't live without them in winter. Oh--- and hand and toe warmers! :) Thank you for the column, Harmony!