Tips for the Cold

With these frigid temperatures, I thought I’d share a few tips with you that I learned from working outside on location shoots during bad weather.

WARMERS. The bags are yellow, red, and orange. They’ve got toe warmers, foot warmers (for the whole foot), hand warmers, and my favorite, body warmers. They cannot be placed on the skin directly, but break open the outer red and yellow cellophane bag and shake the warmer, then place it against the layer of fabric closest to your body. The small hand and foot warmers last a couple of hours. The body warmers last 8-10 hours. I usually put a body warmer in the small of my back, on the thermal shirt layer but under the next sweater or shirt. By keeping that part of my body warm with a steady heat, I’m fine. The heat is more concentrated and intense than those Therma-care wraps, so I also use them for muscle pain. I know Home Depot carries them, and I’ve seen them in several other hardware stores and even at Costco. They will change your life. I’ve even worn them indoors, when the boss dialed down the thermostat, rather than sit there and shiver. I can’t concentrate when I’m cold.

LAYERS. Try to keep breathable layers next to your skin. The best is silk (and now there are lots of washable silks at reasonable prices, thank goodness). Silk thermals, silk socks, silk glove liners will earn their price the first time you wear them. Then layer on the wools, etc. If you wear a synthetic against your skin that traps the sweat rather than wicks it or breathes the way a natural fabric does, you’ll wind up in alternating hot and cold sweats, which is unhealthy. When I’ve been caught without silk, I’ve put on thin cotton socks under my wool socks, and that works, too. Mittens retain heat better than gloves, but often gloves are necessary in order to function, so a pair of silk glove liners make a huge difference. And, of course, hats and scarves. Both Winter Silks and LL Bean have good silk layers, and, especially when they have sales, the prices are reasonable. They’re fantastic, if you go to LL Bean’s outlets rather than the main store. My silk thermals are about twelve or thirteen years old at this point, and they’re still in great condition.

HOT WATER BOTTLES. These are safer than space heaters or heating pads (and DO NOT use them together with anything electrical). I always travel with a hot water bottle. If I’m in a cold place, I just heat some water, pour it in, and I’m toasty warm for hours. If you have pets, they WILL wrestle you for the hot water bottle. So get them their own, especially for older animals.

If you have to go out, make sure you’re well wrapped with as little skin as possible exposed, and re-warm it every 2-3 minutes, even if it means stopping what you’re doing. If you have the option to stay in, do so, even if you’re worried about cabin fever.

Stay warm, stay safe!

Published in: on January 15, 2009 at 7:18 am  Comments (7)  
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