After talking to a few newcomers and offering some tips on staying warm in the fall and winter months, I was asked to write this column and offer some of my ideas for staying warm both inside and outside.
Let’s start with a few tips for keeping the outside from coming inside. First, if you are living in that cool shady cabin that was great in the summer time, you now know that cool and shady means it is cold in the winter.
If you don’t have dual-pane windows, you can get some clear plastic from the hardware store and make a reasonable facsimile by simply putting plastic over your windows with a staple gun. If the windows are hard to reach from the outside you can use it on the inside, like for second story windows. Nothing is more alarming then seeing the curtains blowing in the wind when the windows are closed. This will stop the problem.
Weather stripping the doors of your home will cut down on drafts. If you have large gaps on the bottom, you can seal them with a rubber skirt (sorry, I don’t know the official name) or, in an emergency, a rolled up towel held in place by something heavy, can do the trick.
Because you are sealing your home to keep out the cold and using heat to stay warm, the air can get really dry in winter. If you don’t want to buy a humidifier, you can simply put a pan of water on top of your wood stove and let it evaporate into the room.
Speaking of wood, it is always good to have a stash delivered, stacked and under a tarp before it snows. If you buy your wood in the summer months, you will save money over the winter prices.
Clothing is very important for both inside and outside activities. The outdoor clothing system of layering is still the best. Start with a good base layer — tops and bottoms — and good socks, either Merino wool or synthetics. Have a middle layer for insulation and a waterproof outer layer for outside pursuits. You can remove or add layers as you move inside and out.
When it is icy outside, you need some kind of ice cleats to avoid falls. Out on the trail Kahtoola Mircospikes and YakTrax Extreme models work well for lower elevations. For walking down your driveway or steps, the YakTrax Pro model with the velcro strap is the ticket.
Watch out for black ice which is a thin layerof ice on asphalt that you may not see until it is too late. Black ice is very slippery and the fall will be on pavement, so you will be hurt when you hit the ground.
Don’t forget that you also need to winterize your car. If you don’t have four-wheel drive, you will probably need to get tire chains. Also the going-real-fast method to make it up your icy hill or driveway can lead to real trouble.
Next week, I will talk about gearing up for winter hiking.