I went to college and then continued to live in an area where snow constantly covered the ground from at least Thanksgiving until Mother’s Day. Sometimes there would be snow on Halloween and occasionally in June too. These 8 tips for those living in the snow come from my years of dealing with this fluffy white stuff. Being unprepared for snowy weather can be very unpleasant. The 8 tips below might make it more enjoyable for you.
8 Have a Shovel Handy
Photo Credit: dmguz
Be sure to check your snow shovel status well before winter arrives. Not only did I have one in the garage, but also in the house and a collapsible one in the car. You never know when you’ll need it. There were times when I had to shovel my way out of the house to get to the car. I also had moments that required me getting out of the car to shovel a path into the driveway, since the snowplow had so kindly blocked my drive with a thick hill of ice, snow, and salt.
7 Make Sure Your Long Underwear is Adequate
Photo Credit: tanyasavage
Taking outdoor camping courses in college taught me how to dress properly for the cold weather. Living in a harsh winter environment is different than dealing with the occasional snow storm I saw as a child. The common phrase I recall my backpacking instructor uttering was, “Cotton kills”. This meant that it was better to wear clothing made from synthetic materials, instead of the cotton waffle-weave of my youth.
6 Invest in Wool Sweaters
Photo Credit: belly2010
The amazing thing about wool is that it is still warm even when it is soaking wet. The lanolin in wool is what makes it water resistant. The hardest part to remember is to wash wool on cold and don’t toss it in the dryer. It took me a few times to learn this one. I had some amazing sweaters quickly reduced from a size that would fit me to one that my Malamute could wear.
5 Keep Your Feet Dry
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Dry feet greatly increase your overall warmth. If you don’t believe me, try changing out sweaty socks for a dry pair next time you are cold. I’ve come inside from working outdoors hauling wood and such during the winter and been too busy to change out of my sweaty socks. Sometimes I don’t even realize they are wet until I start to feel cold. All I have to do is put on a dry pair of thick socks and I immediately begin to warm up.
4 Be Careful of Frostbite
Photo Credit: Mark Hannaford
Frostbite is one of those things that can sneak up on you during the winter. Mild frostbite can turn into sever frostbite before you know it. Once you’ve gotten frostbit, the skin is more prone to become frostbitten again later on. There are at least two types of lotion I know of that are perfect for protecting any skin type from becoming frostbitten. One of these special lotions has been tested in the harsh conditions of both the North and South Pole regions. I recommend having a tube of this on hand if you are the outdoors type and also if you have small kids who take on any winter activity they possibly can.
3 Enjoy the Outdoors
Photo Credit: nature55
I know most of these tips have been about how to protect your self during the snowy weather, but it is also important to not forget to have some fun too. Winters can be long and depressing for some people, especially for those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. This type of depression is triggered by the lack of sunlight that tends to come along with lots of snowy weather. The location I lived up north had very few sunny days in a row, sometimes we wouldn’t see actually sunshine for a few months at a time. Staying busy and making the most of all that snow was the best way to make it through the winter quickly.
2 Fill Your Car with Safety Equipment
Photo Credit: Pink Knitter
Being prepared for anything isn’t always possible. If you live in a remote area or will be traveling through areas with lots of snow, then make sure you equip your car with some important items. Emergency blankets, below zero sleeping bags, a small cook stove with fuel, dehydrated food, a cooking kit with pan and utensils, hand and feet warmers, a set of dry clothes, and wool blankets are just some of the things I used to keep in my car during the winter.
1 Watch out for Your Pets
Photo Credit: csnyder103
Animals don’t always know when it’s not safe to be outside or if they’ve been out in inclement weather for too long. Dogs and cats can get frostbitten paws and ears fairly quickly. You don’t have to go out and buy special clothes and boots for your animals, just keep an eye on them. Make sure they have a warm dry place to go to if you aren’t able to stand by the door and let them in when they wish to come inside. I had a section of the garage where my dogs could get into and have access to the door at the back of the house. This allowed them to take their time outdoors and I didn’t have to stand in the cold and wait for them to make up their mind where to do their business.
I’m sure cold weather residents have some additions for my list of 8 tips for those living in the snow. Not living in the north has made me a bit soft over the past 4 years. I’m sure if I moved back to the north a few extra tips would come to mind. Can you think of any snowy weather tips that you feel should be passed on to others? Were any of these tips passed on to you by others or did you learn them the hard way?
Top Photo Credit: crustydolphin