It’s that time of year again, when the air gets crisp and the streets become slippery with ice. Where little white snowflakes fall from the sky and we get the lucky task of layering ourselves in coats, sweaters, boots, gloves and hats….that’s right…winter is upon us. If you are into outdoor activities like trekking, snowshoeing, ice skating, mountaineering, skiing and more, then you know a little preparation goes a long way to keep the heat! For all of us ‘frosties’ out there, others with Raynauds and those of you who are just plain cold creatures looking for ways to survive the winter, here is a list of my favorite items to help keep the blood flowing through the season.
It is no secret that the Base Camp Booties by Baffin Boots are my favourite product for keeping warm. Having Raynauds means that I always struggle with cold feet and so finding reliable footwear is key. The Base Camp boots are soft, tall, and have a draw string over the ankle to keep the warmth in. They are exactly what I need after a long day of outdoor activity in the cold. These boots make camping more tolerable and enjoyable for me because when I get to camp, the first thing I do is kick off my hiking boots and slip into my Base Camps. They are durable, making them suitable to wear in and around the camp or at home and because they are soft, I use them inside my sleeping bag at night. In fact, I often gsay these slippers are sleeping bags for my feet. I also bring them on airplanes and wear them around hostels and hotels. If you are someone who struggles with cold feet then Base Camp Boots by Baffin are a sound investment.
Small hand and foot sized chemical warmers which you can buy in bulk at department stores and hiking stores around the world. Simply open the package and shake the warmer and it will begin to heat up and stay that way for (up to) 8 hours. Whenever I go hiking, climbing or even something as simple as walking the dog, I put a couple in my pocket just in case I need them. Since they are relatively small and light, they are easy for me to pack when I head out to do a month of trekking. *frostie tip* I like to shake a few up and throw them into my sleeping bag while getting ready for bed on a trek. This way my sleeping bag is pre warmed for me!
Base layers can make a huge difference in keeping you warm. The Merino wool base layers (top and bottom separates) by Ice Breaker are a reliable product for keeping heat in. Not only does merino wool keep the heat in but is also sweat wicking which is extremely helpful if you are enjoying athletic activities. This Ice Breaker product is also anti-stink as well as quick drying which if you’re doing any multi day trekking is something you will appreciate. Ice Breaker provide base layers in many different styles so you will be sure to find your fit. They are a warm, sweat wicking, anti-stink, quick drying product which will fit under regular clothes and keep you significantly more comfortable during the winter season and your outdoor activities.
One of the best ways to add a little warmth to yourself whilst hiking or skiing or on the top of a mountain is by drinking something warm. The Hydroflask Water Bottle will keep your drinks warm for hours on end. Fill it up with hot water in the morning and it will remain hot all day. The small mouthed water bottle is BPA free, made from pro grade stainless steel, and has a sweat proof coating and a loop top to clip it onto your bag. The Hydroflask Water Bottles come in a variety of sizes and colours and will give you that taste of warmth you yearn for on a cold day.
Heat saving, sweat wicking, quick drying hiking socks. Again, a big part of keeping yourself warm is by keeping your feet warm. Smart Wool socks are ideal for everything from trekking to skiing to everyday activities. As well as being one of the best products for keeping your feet warm, the socks do not slide inside your footwear making for less blisters during your hikes. Do not worry about getting them wet as they also dry very fast. Smart Wool socks are a great idea for anyone who gets cold feet no matter what the activity.
One of the things effected most by Raynauds is the hands. If you are prone to having cold hands then Merino Wool glove liners by Icebreaker are perfect for you. These small skin tight gloves are worn under your bigger more waterproof gloves. As well as keeping heat in they also wick the sweat away which is ideal as dry hands are warm hands.
Let me just throw this out there. Buffs are amazing. The scarf/headband/balaclava convertible product well help you in more ways than one. If you’re looking for a little extra warmth then fleece lined Buffs are available. These make perfect, unobtrusive scarves or excellent hats depending on your activity. A Buff can be worn in over 10 different ways so you can cater your product to your specific area of cold.
Gloves for outdoor adventure activities come in all shapes and sizes…and prices. The North Face Revelstoke Mitt is great full length glove for a mid-range price. The Revelstoke Mitt is made from “Hyvent” water proof material and is an insulated alpine mitt. It has a ladder lock wrist clip to keep the heat in as well as a cinch at the top to keep the snow out. Although they take up room in my backpack, carrying heavy duty gloves with me has always been more of an asset than a detriment. This is the perfect mid-range, mid-sized glove for me. They have yet to let me down.
These are my favourite products to help keep the heat in on a cold winter day. Having Raynauds makes my search for comfort in the cold an active mission. So tell me…what are your favourite ways to battle the cold?