When we’re enjoying warm days on the water and tepid evenings sitting around the campfire making s’mores, no one wants to think about the “W” word: winter. But with summer in full swing, so are the amazing deals on winter gear!
Coming from Tennessee, my winter gear mostly consisted of a thick jacket, gloves, and a good hat. Unless you went into the mountains, there wasn’t a lot of opportunity for snow related sports, so any real cold gear was something you rented rather than purchase.
That’s not quite the same story here in Maine. I quickly learned this last winter what gear I needed in order to stay comfortable while enjoying outdoor activities. Here are the things I can’t imagine living without in future winters. If you look around at some of the local outdoor stores and check their clearance racks, you may find some great deals on these winter items!
Jason gave me a set of Katoohla microspikes that are simply fantastic. They are fairly easy to slip on/off and fit around any shoe or boot. I can’t tell you what a lifesaver they were with the sheet of ice that was once our driveway this last winter! Instead of slipping and sliding around while I walked Tux or went for the mail, I was able to walk with complete confidence across the ice.
Also a Christmas gift, these were wonderful to have after those back to back blasts of snow that left us with almost 2 feet of snow and drifts even higher. Of course, since I’ve never had gaiters before, I was using them all wrong and didn’t realize I could cinch the tops down tight. Once Jason showed me their proper use, they were a wonderful help in keeping snow from slipping down my boots and soaking my socks. Speaking of boots…
Okay, I’ve had boots before. As an Army brat, I lived in a few cold places that got snow, but I was definitely not old enough to be making my own shoe purchases. Since it has been some years, I was hesitant in dropping a lot of cash for a good set of winter boots. I ended up with some Vasque waterproof hiking boots for general everyday boots and Keens for my winter sports boots. I’ve only had them for one season so far, but they don’t leak and are quite comfortable. My only complaint is that, with my poor circulation, my toes turn to ice and take a long time to warm up when I’m out for extended hours. Which brings me to…
Hand & Feet Warmers
I know these are probably not great for the environment since you use them once and throw them away. (If anyone has suggestions that are a bit more environmentally friendly, I’m all ears!) I do love the hand warmers though, especially when I’m going to be outside for an extended period. I haven’t yet tried the feet warmers, but I think they’ll be great for keeping my icy toes a bit warmer when snowshoeing!
Okay, this has got to be my favorite item on the list. I know, I know, an electric blanket is not really “winter gear,” but now that I’ve had one, I don’t think I want to spend a Maine winter without this wonderful product! The electric blanket we have is actually designed for two people and allows each side to be heated to different temperatures. Rather than leave it on all night, we turn it on about twenty minutes before bedtime to get the bed all nice and toasty. Then we turn it off before going to sleep. It’s such a wonderful thing to slip into a warm bed on a cold night. It was definitely worth the money.
What about you? What winter gear do you love or couldn’t do without? I’d love to hear it! And hey, maybe it’s on sale right now!