Saturday, January 8, 2011

How to dress for fun in cold weather

In keeping with my resolution to drive less this year, I ran about a mile to the ice rink for my 8:00 boot hockey game this morning.  It was about 4 degrees Fahrenheit, and with the wind chill, it felt like it was just below zero.  For the past 15 plus years I've always, without thinking, driven my car to these outdoor games. Turns out, running provided a great warm up and warm down. It didn't do much for my scoring however ;-(

Torso layers
Thanks to proper winter wear, I was comfortable for the whole 2 1/2 hours of running and playing boot hockey.  For those unfamiliar with how to dress for cold weather, the first thing to know about is layering.  It's far better to have multiple layers than one big layer, that might become either too cold/warm after one is active or as the wind or temperature changes. 

Windbreaker, hat, gloves & choppers
Starting from the bottom, smart wool socks are fabulous for the feet.  They allow for breathing, wicking the moisture away from the skin, and are quite warm.  Since we were playing boot hockey on the ice, I wore broomball shoes with little suction cups, to assist with traction on the ice.  Actually these worked well on the icy roads too.  While they're made for broomball, they could be great for winter walkers! 

For the legs I put on a pair of polypropylene tights and an outer nylon pants shell. Like smart wool, the polypropylene is warm and also breathes.

Broomball shoes and socks
Often people mistakenly wear too many clothes over their torso, which seems to be a pretty good heat generator.  I wore a polyester underwear, then another breathable layer of polyester and finally a nylon wind breaker.  While all of these layers were thin, they were more than adequate to keep me warm.

For the hands I used a thin polyester glove inside a leather chopper with wool lining.  Normally just the wool lining with the chopper is adequate, but my liner has worn thin over the years. 

Sole of broom ball shoe
Then, most importantly, a warm hat that covers the ears.  While my hat is a bit unfashionable, okay, quite a bit, it more than makes up for it in warmth.  Not quite sure what its made out of. It feels a lot like felt.  Wool is a great option for hats.

Since we were playing boot hockey I also put on some shin guards and knee pads for protection. 

Shin guards and knee pads
Nothing better than having a lot of fun outdoors and getting some exercise to boot.  With the proper dress this is possible, even during January in Minnesota. As my Norwegian relatives like to say, "There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing." 

Bundle up and have fun!

Boot hocky players

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