I lost some of my ambivalence/guilt about having these parkas when I got stuck in the woods overnight in -15F. I pulled my arms inside my parka and slept on the ground--and stayed warm enough to keep myself and the dogs safe.
Since we're talking about gear this weekend, and I get a lot of questions directly, are y'all down for a list of my winter recommendations?
I'm not being sponsored to recommend any of this (although if any of the companies FEEL like sponsoring us... hello!). Some of the gear I've bought new, some of it I've made, some of it I've been sent to test/review, and much of it I've gotten used or from ebay over the years.
If you're going to be in temps above, say, -30F, the best parka for the money is @DuluthTradingCo's Ice Fog parka. The Ice Fog bib overalls are also amazing -- they're my go-tos in any temperature, all winter long. https://www.duluthtrading.com/mens-alaskan-hardgear-ice-fog-down-parka-32225.html …
The best base layer tops are cashmere sweaters from thrift stores, don't @ me.
.@shopSKIDA sent me a little gift package a few years back and ever since then I am, like, religiously attached to their colorful hats and neck gaiters. They're not super warm but they're perfect in every way and always make me feel cheerful when it's dreary out.
My fav boots for dry cold are lobbens, which hold up well, and you can often find them used online for $40-$60. My fav boots for wet cold are @MuckBootCo's Chore and/or Arctic boots.
Insulated skirts are game-changers and I reviewed them for @outsidemagazine here. https://www.outsideonline.com/2278316/best-performance-skirts …
Winter gear I don't recommend:
-synthetic base layers
-any kind of electrically heated clothing
-jackets that don't cover your butt
-gloves in general (yes this is controversial)
The biggest mistake people with winter clothes is buying clothing that fits their bodies. Stop! It should fit your body WHEN you're wearing three extra sweaters. Or four pairs of socks. You do not want to look sleek. You want to be puffy! There is nothing cool about being cold.
Also y'all don't wear enough clothes. I'm just saying it. People come here and say they're dressed for the cold and they're wearing, like, a coat and a hat. No wonder y'all get cold!
So, yes, I'm recommending my fav brands of outdoor clothing, but if you don't want to buy them or can't afford them (gear is $$$) you can get really warm, functional winter wear for much cheaper if you just keep in mind that it should be BIG.
Lupine headlamps are better than any other headlamps. I wouldn't buy them for weekend camping, but if you're in outdoor situations where your life depends on being able to see, these are what you want. https://www.lupinenorthamerica.com
Duluth Trading, in general, has the best clothing and gear for a range of women's bodies, especially bigger bodies. Way to go, @DuluthTradingCo!
I'm getting sidetracked, but let me rant: I'm 5'8" and usually wear a size 12. I wear an XL in most women's outdoor clothing. It's the LARGEST SIZE AVAILABLE. What sort of utter bullshit sexist capitalism is this where women any larger than me can't buy clothes for the outdoors??
Like we are so afraid of women being powerful and competent that when women have larger, powerful bodies we can't give them clothing that enables them to use those bodies outdoors
*resumes gear recommendations*
OK BUT also maybe one of the reasons I love down skirts so much is that they're actually BETTER than insulated pants in many ways (warmer, more comfortable, breathable) and they're like this secret thing we can have where women's gear is actually better for once
Those charcoal hand and toe warmers are really good. Don't be embarrassed. Use them freely. We do.
.@Fjallraven_Swe's Abisko Trekking Tights are amazing. Never thought I would recommend tights that retail for $175 but I've probably worn them 200 days this year, not even exaggerating, and they've held up perfectly through serious manual labor. https://www.fjallraven.us/collections/trekking-tights/products/abisko-trekking-tights-w …
Also get wool insoles for your boots. And y'all are already wearing wool (or synthetic) socks in the winter, right? No cotton against your skin?
One of my passions is helping people love winter, and the main reason people don't do more in winter is because they're cold. But cold is a thing that can be fixed! You can change clothes + habits. You can be cozy outdoors when it's subzero, I promise. Yes, YOU.
These are my fav gear items that come to mind at the moment, but feel free to ask if you want other recommendations.
Oh! And we use dog booties from http://dogbooties.com .
More winter tips: Snacking makes you warmer, but big meals make you feel colder. If you're chilled, eat a snack and pee (even if you don't think you have to). You can stick hand warmers in your armpits and they'll warm your core. Get a boot dryer and dry your boots every day!
You can follow @BlairBraverman.