Winter Gear Guide. What to Buy and Where to Save Your Pennies

I’ve said it before and I will say it again.  There is no such thing as “bad” weather…. only “bad” clothing.

Guys!  It’s time to get outfitted for what we love so much about Georgian Bay and get the most out of our time outside!  If you are going to be active in the winter, or come to one of our 'Snowshoe Yoga Hikes' it’s extra important to be suited up properly, and what you might think you need, might not be the right answer at all.  

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So, here’s your guide to know where to put your money.   Outdoor gear can really add up, but good quality gear is totally 100% worth it when you’re putting your money towards the right things.

How do I know all of this? Well, I’ve worked in the outdoor industry for over a decade,  and the total amount I’ve spent on gear… well…. lets just say I could start my own store in Port Severn with my personal collection, lol.

 

WHERE TO PUT YOUR MONEY

1.     Base-layers

“Cotton Kills”!  Heard this before?   It’s a bit over the top, but the lesson is this… stay away from cotton and especially in winter!  Here is why.  Cotton not only absorbs moisture pulling it from the air, your sweat, and the environment, but it also retains it for a super long time.  Cotton takes FOREVER to dry out.  That means when you sweat, that cottony layer will likely stay wet the entire time you wear it, eventually getting cold and resulting in the chills.

What does this mean?

STAY  AWAY from those old school long johns stuffed in your top drawer.   Anything next-to-skin should NEVER have any cotton content.   (Sweetlegs are fine ladies!  I already checked)  The best thing you could do is to invest your money into decent base layers.  Icebreaker has amazing merino wool layers that are breathable and insulating, but a nice poly-blend will do.

2.     Soft – Shell Pants

This might be tough to do all at once, but it is a worthy investment if you are active outside.  I will not wear insulated snowpants or jackets when I snowshoe regardless of how cold is, even in -30C.    How?  Layers people.  If you have ever snowshoed, you know how warm you can get!  You don’t want to be sweating your butt of in those insulated pants, because that runs the risk of cooling down too fast when you stop for a break... and that means chills... and that means shivers…. No fun.  

What does this mean?

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You need outerwear that breathes.  If can’t do both a jacket and pants, start with your pants.   Buy yourself a decent pair of “soft-shell” pants.  These are stretchy, breath-able, and just warm enough.  On super duper cold days I layer up just right.   I have a pair of Patagonia soft shell pants that have lasted me about five years and still going strong!

3.     Merino Wool Socks

Guys… I almost want to make this #1.  Merino wool socks changed my life.   I mean it!   GAME. CHANGERS.  These bad boys are quite the investment.  A single pair of socks can run you anywhere between $13-$25.  But please, don’t be put off… Life changers shouldn’t come cheap.

The good news is these socks last an extremely long time.   I’m proud to say I’ve converted many people to the merino wool sock side, and once a merino wool sock wearer, always a merino wool sock wearer.

 

WHERE TO SAVE YOUR PENNIES

1.     Layers

You can load up on your layers anywhere.  So long as you stay away from cotton, you are good to go.  You can spend your hard earned cash on an expensive fleece, or a beautiful merino wool sweater, but you can find awesome fleece layers under $30 that will do that job almost anywhere theses days.  The fleecier the better!

2.     Hats, Mitts, Neck Warmers

It is always nice to have quality accessories, but from my experience so long as these items fit nicely, almost anything will do the trick.    Here’s a great place to save some dollars. 

3.     Gadgets

If you walk into an outdoor store you will be amazed at how many gadgets and interested new gear they will have hanging around the walls.  Don’t get me wrong, this stuff can be coooool as shit, but not necessary for having an enjoyable and safe experience outdoors.  If you are looking to spend your money wisely, and unless you are scaling Everest or doing an overnight, it’s not always necessary to have a fancy new GPS, a  GoPro, or the latest greatest self filtering water bottle.  These things are great, but if you are trying to put your money to work, best to save your pennies for the things that will actually improve your life outdoors.... see above.

Have fun in the snow!  Stay warm and I'll see you out there in Honey Harbour, Port Severn, Coldwater, or Midland.

Namaste,

Laura Jane