As a native Vermonter, I always considered myself a pro at getting through the long winter.
Then I moved to Minnesota. December through March here in the "Bold North," where the mercury routinely drops below zero, as bone-chilling winds whip through the streets, is a whole new ball game. Luckily, it didn’t take long to identify some gear (and strategies) for staying warm and sane through the season. Yes, winter is coming, whether you like it or not, but with these buys there’s no reason to shed a frozen tear.
You’ve probably heard the advice before that the best defense to the cold when it comes to getting dressed is to layer right. There’s a reason: it works! Need proof? Try walking around the block in just one pair of pants after the temps and wind chill dip below zero. Your legs will feel like popsicles. The good news is there’s an easy fix, and it doesn’t have to leave you looking like a kid bundled up for recess. Pick up a light base layer to wear under— SmartWool to thermal pants, or, my personal favorite, fleece-lined leggings — and you’ll be good to go.
A Long Parka (Puffer Is A Plus)
Growing up in New England, I was no stranger to pea coats, ski jackets and parkas. But it wasn’t until I moved to Minnesota that I realized what a difference a three-quarter-length jacket makes in keeping your whole body toasty when the temperature plummets. If you have a big budget, Canada Goose or North Face are popular picks. I went with a Vince Camuto jacket (complete with multiple pockets and a removable fake fur hood trim), and have no complaints.
A Travel Mug
Warm beverages like coffee, tea and cider are essential for thawing out (not to mention staying hydrated), especially if you, like me, have to weather a commute or daily walks with the dog. My own Yogi tea consumption has grown in leaps and bounds since I arrived in the Bold North. A sleek insulated mug lets you bring your steamy drink of choice along when you’re on the go without fears of cooling down or spills.
Speaking of being on the go, don’t hibernate on the power of disposable hand warmers. The staples of ski trips and outdoor winter sporting events can also come in handy when you need to walk or wait outside in the winter. Several friends sent us packs in care packages after our move and they have yet to disappoint. Buy a box and keep them in your bag or car to keep your fingers from freezing.
Of course, the easiest way to stay warm is to avoid going outside when the mercury drops. While my family loves winter sports like cross-country skiing and even ice climbing (a great opportunity to truly comprehend just how hard it would be to climb the Wall in Game of Thrones), there are plenty of days (and nights) where hygge is the activity of choice. Purchase a subscription to a streaming service like Netflix or Amazon Prime, load up a Seamless gift card, and make sure you have a cozy blanket and fully stocked bar cart at the ready and settle in for the long weeks (or months) until the sun returns, no FOMO necessary.
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