In Praise of Gear

It is another cold day here. We have a windchill of -14 F (-25 C). I just got back from a four mile walk. Outside. I was warm and comfortable the entire time, thanks to winter gear.

I thought I would share what I wear to walk when it is very cold out. I used to stay inside when it was this cold, but I’ve found I’m a much happier person if I get fresh air every day.

When it is below 10 degrees F I wear wool socks and good winter boots. I don’t wear cute winter boots, as I have not found a pair warm enough. I have a long down coat with a hood. I only zip the coat, I find I get too hot if I snap it. I wear a running base layer from back when I used to run. I wear fleece lined jeans (under $30 at any farm store) tucked into my boots. If you don’t tuck your jeans in you will regret it when the cold air hits your calves.

The hardest parts for me to keep warm are my head and hands. I wear Head technical gloves from Costco under mittens. The gloves are windproof and allow me to change podcasts without totally exposing my hands. I wear mittens my friend Jess knit for me (OK, I told her I was going to steal them and she gave them to me. I regret nothing). If it is about 10 degrees I only wear the mittens.

On my head I start with a headband. It might seem silly, as I cover my head with a hat, but if I don’t put it back before I start my hair falls into my eyes and I have to take off my hat and mittens to adjust it. I wear a light hat (a worsted hat would be too hot), my sockhead cowl, and my hood. It feels excessive, but when it feels like -14 out I need excessive to stay warm.

Do you get outside in horrible weather? What do you wear?

23 thoughts on “In Praise of Gear

  1. I agree about needing to get outside. I can skip one day but then I get cranky. I have both fleece and flannel lined jeans. Both are great but for my favorite black jeans that are unlined I just wear a pair of heavy leggings underneath. I often wear fingerless mitts over my tech gloves. They aren’t warm enough on their own. My biggest problem is my lack of a well fitting down coat. The long one I have is a size too small. I’ve got to just buy one.

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  2. I like going out wrapped up when it’s cold, but it just doesn’t get that cold ever here. We got married at the Icehotel in the Artic Circle and I’m not sure it was that cold there either. It was minus 5C in the room we slept in and the chapel we married in. Here it is rain we have to battle and have gore tex over trousers, walking shoes and coats…could do with waterproof gloves at some point. Thanks for reminding me I should get out every day no matter what, definitely affects my mood if I don’t.

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      1. Yes, they are a UK brand, currently a wee bit snug with my winter weight gain. Oh and yes it was really cool at the Icehotel, in all its meanings. We didn’t invite anyone, it was the 2 of us, our witnesses were the photographer and the priest’s assistant who kept tourists out during the service. We snowmobiled, dog sled and had a fabulous time…we both LOVE snow and there every snowflake that fell you could see it’s detail…unlike in the UK where you get big blobs of snow, not individual flakes.

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    1. That’s a great idea. You won’t have an excuse to skip the gym, and leggings under pants is really comfortable. Do you have any rain gear suggestions? I need to start planning for spring.

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      1. Jessica Clough says:

        I live in the Marmot Precip jacket. it’s 6 years old and still waterproof. I don’t have any rain pants because I kept ripping them. There are Marmot precip pants too but I haven’t tried them. If they’re as durable as the jacket, maybe I should.

        cheap rain coats will often say they’re waterproof but they’re only water resistant. Get one that is actually waterproof. A truly waterproof jacket should have zippable armpit vents. Something you don’t think you need in your life until you wear a truly waterproof jacket!

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  3. You’re doing winter right! I confess, I don’t go outside when it’s that cold if I can help it. It’s been around 10 degrees the last couple of days and we’re still taking Duncan out on a leash. I do bundle up a little bit with a handknit hat along with my coat and gloves. And I’ve been known to layer with CuddlDuds. I’m glad you’re able to stay warm and get the fresh air you need!

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  4. You have some good gear there! I have a good warm coat that goes down to mid-thigh, and when it gets really cold I also have an insulated Skhoop skirt I wear under it. I also have just warm boots, not really cute ones. I also have fleece lined tights, which are super cozy and warm. For headgear, just one of my stranded colorwork hats, as they are warmer! For my hands, I have some nice stranded mittens, and for really cold days, thrummed mittens 🙂 sometimes it is nice to get out in the fresh air, even when it is really cold – and you are right, gear is essential!

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  5. I laughed when I read this. We could be twins actually! I wear thinsulate ear muffs under my hat on single digit degree (or colder) days. I also wear thin gloves under my mittens for the same reason as you, and to better pick up after my doggo! About 10 years ago I developed very bad lower lobe pneumonia in both lungs. Doc told me I should not go out in temps below 32 and I would use an inhaler for the rest of my life. Being a big “all weather” walker, this broke my heart. So, I ignored him!! 🙂 I walk in every weather. Last year in upstate NY, it was – 30F and my dog and I walked!

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      1. Might I add that I never had to go on an inhaler once I fully recovered. I just have to keep my nose and mouth covered so the air going in is warm.
        I am enjoying your blog. Expect a few more “likes” in the near future! xoxo Regina

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