*Cheap Cold Weather Gear*
By: Sasquatch
27 December 2004

When I was a kid, my brother and I worked a paper route for 8 years. Every day, including weekends, year-round. In Minnesota, that meant -30 Fahrenheit and colder, wading through snow or just walking the plowed streets. In addition to the normal challenge of the cold, we both have hereditary poor circulation in our hands and feet. Translation: hands and feet are cold all winter, and frostbite is an ever-present danger.

Eight years taught us a few tricks. Mittens instead of gloves. Place hands between 2 newspapers. Wear a hat!

But you know that already.

Feet: By paternal mandate, all males in my family wore overshoes. Rubber boots with shoes worn underneath. Schoolteachers loved them--our shoes were clean. We still got cold feet. Here's how I cheated: I took the liners from a pair of Sorel boots (generic term is Pac-Boots), put them on my feet, then donned the overshoes. The hook from a coathanger helped me get the zipper up. For the first time EVER, my feet were warm in the winter! Then the zipper popped, and I had to use the buckle type boots.

Legs: We had snowpants. And cotton long-johns. Cold. My cheap (short-term) trick: long johns, a pair of sweatpants, and a pair of vinyl rainpants. -80 Fahrenheit windchill, eat my shorts! I was warm! After 2 hours, though, I had condensation inside the vinyl. And to wrap up, a stupid face trick that works: fold a bandanna into a cravat as wide as your nose is long, then tie around your head, knot in back, so your nose and cheeks are covered. If you wear spectacles, as do I, this lets the moist air out, rather than directing it onto your glasses. Stay warm!

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