Something feels different from the moment you wake up. The air is crisp, the light is different, and the world seems a little bit quieter. When you look outside, your suspicions are confirmed— it’s a perfect snow day! You can’t wait to get outside and test all that snow on your sled. Whirling down an icy slope on your favorite toboggan is about the most fun anyone can have in the winter, but what should you wear?
From sledding and snowball fights to building snow forts and Frosty, the winter season is loads of fun. However, if you’re not dressed properly, you can risk catching a cold, or even worse, hypothermia.
Hypothermia sets in when your body loses heat much faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low core body temperature. It can be caused by prolonged exposure to very cold winter temperatures or even at cool temperatures if a person is chilled from sweat or rain. It’s a serious medical condition that affects the brain, which can make you feel dizzy and unable to think clearly or move well. In addition to hypothermia— if that isn’t bad enough— frostbite is another condition that can occur due to freezing temperatures.
Frostbite is a skin injury that can leave your skin feeling waxy, hard, and numb. In some cases, it can go all the way down to the muscles and bones, so it’s important to call the doctor or go to the emergency room right away. With that in mind, it goes without saying that dressing properly for a fun day of snow play is of the utmost importance.
So, how does one dress for success to keep themselves warm, you ask? Great question.
Wearing proper clothing for a fun day in the snow will make the experience much more comfortable and enjoyable. Those who are ill-prepared often become wet, cold, and miserable. Discomfort means fewer runs down the local hill and a shorter day of fun. Unless you’re snowshoeing or hiking the frozen tundras of the North Pole (and sometimes even then), snowy attire is almost always about layers. In fact, you should wear at least three layers of warm clothing and footwear to make the most of your snow day experience.
Base Layer.Wear a wicking, thermal base layer to keep moisture off your body. The base layer is important because it will also provide some insulation against the cold winter air. Base layers are available as one-piece for the entire body and as separate pant and shirt pieces. Wool base layers are a great choice for insulating, while synthetic materials are better at wicking moisture. Both are excellent options for a snow day.
Mid-Layer.The mid-layer, or warming layer, provides insulation against the cold. Fleece, wool, down, and synthetic blends are common for this layer. Long sleeve shirts are standard, but vest options are also a great choice. For your lower body, cozy sweatpants are a must! The mid-layer will keep your core warm and maintains your body temperature to keep hypothermia at bay.
Outer Layer.Lastly, the outer layer, or waterproof layer, provides a shell against moisture and adds protection from the cold winter wind. Be sure to wear snow pants and a snow jacket for optimum comfort. Pants with buttons or cinch cords around the ankles are ideal for preventing snow from seeping into your boots and freezing your feet. Jackets with hoods provide valuable wind protection around your head. You can find snow jackets and pants at your local outdoor clothing store or purchase them through a ski shop.
Once you’ve put on your three layers of clothing to keep your body nice and toasty so you can comfortably destroy your little brother in a snowball fight, it’s time to protect that noggin of yours!
Headwear. Knit hats are the best at keeping your head warm when enjoying a day of fun out in the snow. Although it maynot be true that you can lose half your body heat through your head, you still can lose quite a bit, which can leave you susceptible to feeling rather chilly.
Helmet.Ah, helmets! To wear one, or not to wear one. If you or your little ones are going outdoors to build Frosty the Snowman or to challenge the neighborhood kids to an exciting snowball battle, a helmet is probably not needed. However, if your kiddos are sledding or snow tubing, you may want to really consider strapping on a helmet first. Why? Well, for one, research shows that a whopping 30% of the kids hospitalized following a sledding injury suffered significant head injuries, such as comas, concussions, and even brain damage— pretty scary. The good news, though, is that helmets are 85 percent effective in preventing brain injuries. So protect your head, protect your kid’s head, and just put on a helmet.
Eyewear.Ever hear of snow blindness? Technically calledphotokeratitis, snow blindness is a painful eye condition caused by overexposure to the harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. When too much UV light hits the transparent outer layer of your eyes (cornea), it essentially gives them a sunburn— ouch! This happens because the snow has reflective qualities that send more UV rays directly into your eyes— that’s how the term “snow blindness” came about. If you’re going out for some fun in the winter sun, be sure not to leave the house without your sunglasses or goggles.
Have you ever picked up the snow with your bare hands? Sure, you have! Snow is cold— like,really cold. Help keep yourself warm during a day of sledding fun and protect your fingers and toes from the snow.
Mittens/Gloves. When it comes to keeping your hands warm, mittens and gloves lined with a synthetic or fleece insulation work best. Never wear cotton out in the snow, because it absorbs sweat and loses all insulating ability once wet. Wearing a cotton glove or mitten is essentially an invitation for cold hands and should be avoided at all times in snowy weather. If you’re going snow tubing or sledding and typically rely on your hands to slow down as you whirl downhill, wear a thick glove rather than a mitten.
Socks. Just like with your hands, neverever wear cotton socks out in the snow. It’s not uncommon for a little bit of snow to get in your boot. If you’re wearing cotton socks, they will absorb all the water and essentially keep your feet colder than if you were to wear no socks at all. Do yourself a favor and invest in a really good pair of wool socks.
Boots.Be sure to wear waterproof snow boots while sledding. Good quality boots will keep your feet dry and warm from the snow throughout the day. Wet feet will quickly become cold feet, which can really put a damper on your sledding fun.
Now that you know the essentials let’s dive into the extras!
Scarf.Scarves are one accessory that many people consider to be more for fashion than for warmth. Although they do have the ability to bring some “pizzazz” to an otherwise dull outfit, scarves are also a key part of any winter attire to keep you warm. Avoid cotton and look for a scarf made of wool.
Fanny Pack. Fanny packs have become quite the fashion trend over the last few years, and for good reason! Gone are the days of coming home after a fun day in the snow, only to realize you lost your smartphone— yikes! Fanny packs are ideal for sledding because you can safely keep your phone and wallet securely wrapped around your body at all times. There are many different types of fanny packs on the market, but our favorite is theFUNBOY Crossbody Shearling Bum Bag, which features a cream faux shearling material, a zip compartment, and an adjustable strap.
Inflatable Sled. Okay, so maybe an inflatable sled isn’texactly an accessory, but they are so easy to carry that they might as well be! If you want some serious fun sledding in the snow, purchase an inflatable sled that you can carry around with ease.The FUNBOY Snowmobile sled pays homage to classic snowmobile vibes to keep you looking stylish as you zip down the slopes. All you need to do is inflate it with apump for endless hours of sledding fun and when you’re done for the day, deflate it for easy storing. Trust us, an inflatable sled is something you won’t want to go without this winter season!
Winter is a perfect season for lots of fun in the sun. From snowball fights to sledding, there are a ton of exciting activities to be had in the snow. If you’re planning your next sledding adventure, be sure to keep yourself warm and dress appropriately.