Baby it’s cold outside. Like seriously flipping cold! As I write this, virtually the entire county is in sub-freezing temperatures and the East Coast is bracing for a “bomb cyclone”. Seems like a good time to share my winter essentials for keeping warm during the worst cold spells.
Some version of the CuddlDuds Fleecewear with Stretch line has been my go-to this last week. It is amazingly lightweight, soft and oh, so snugly warm! Working from home I have the luxury of being able to wear this stuff virtually full time. Their ClimateSmart line has long been a favorite as a base layer for winter sports and for travel to cold weather climates.
To make bedtime cozy, I layer our winter bed with a flannel fitted sheet (so you don’t feel cold getting in), followed by an old-school Vellux blanket, a top sheet and coverlet. Again, the Vellux is super warm but also super lightweight so you won’t go to be toasty and then wake up at 3 AM in a sweat like so often happens with down covers. I like to layer the blanket before the top sheet so that you’ll have the fuzzy softness right next to your skin.
You know the old saying “There’s no bad weather only inappropriate clothing.”? Well, it’s true. With the proper layers and outerwear you can enjoy your time outdoors in the midst of a Nor’easter just as much as a walk along the beach of some Caribbean island. OK, I lied. But the right outerwear will help you be a good deal more comfortable.
The RAVEAN Jacket
A new jacket on the market that was designed specifically with freeze-babies in mind is the Kickstarter brand RAVEAN. These down jackets use a 12v battery to keep you comfortable in temperatures between -10° and 55° Fahrenheit. The down itself boasts a 750 fill power but the real magic comes in when using the lithium ion battery. With several different heating areas (2 in front, 2 in back, 2 pockets) you can control and direct the heat to the areas that need it most.
Fashionistas, don’t worry – it’s not just technical! This coat also features a cute fur rimmed hood and a built-in 4x mobile device charging station. And did I mention it’s lightweight/packable and machine washable?
If a battery-operated coat just isn’t for you, I have a few recommendations when shopping for traditional winter outerwear.
- For ultimate warmth, look for a longer mid-thigh to knee length parka with a detachable hood.
- Wind and waterproof or resistant outer shell. The tighter the outer shell is woven (think Gore-Tex) the more wind/water resistant it will be.
- Look for down fill with a moderate to high fill power and moderate to high down weight. At a higher fill power, fewer ounces of down are needed to achieve the same level of warmth and the jacket will be lighter. If the down weight is equal, the higher fill power option will be the warmer one.
- Two way zip closure. In the longer lengths this feature is indispensable for ease of getting in and out of cars, climbing stairs, etc. Bonus points if it also has exterior snaps if you just want to quickly seal the jacket at the waist without fully buttoning up.
- A few top reputable brands include: North Face, Patagonia, Sorel, 66° North, Canada Goose.
Decent quality jackets with these features start at about $300 and go up to $1000+. While they can be a substantial investment, they are very durable, last a long time and will transform the way you feel about being out in the elements. I purchased my last set of heavy-duty outwear during the Polar Vortex of 2015 and haven’t regretted it a moment. If anything, I now enjoy occasional hikes and hanging out downtown, even in the worst of it, as I’m appropriately dressed.
Stay warm, my friends!
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