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Fending off Jack Frost

By |  November 7, 2019 0 Comments
Photo: Joe Gulotti

Photo: Joe Gulotti

Being cold is the worst, but even a dummy like me has learned that if you dress appropriately, you can keep that miserable fella Jack Frost in check. I’ve become obsessed with cold-weather gear, particularly since the technology to keep myself warm has evolved in a positive direction.

When I was a youngster in this business, the layering I used to protect myself from the cold was absurd. Every frigid morning began by throwing on a turtleneck, two thermal tops, a beat-down Champion hoodie I scored off the bargain rack at Marshalls, along with a jacket. I protected my bottom extremities with two pairs of cotton thermal underwear, a pair of wool socks and jeans. This layered approach to keeping warm worked, but was quite restrictive. I felt like Ralphie’s little brother Randy from A Christmas Story. “I can’t put my arms down!”

Thank goodness for the advances in cold-weather gear because my winters have become way less restrictive. Instead of layering up, on cold days I sport an Under Armour compression mock turtleneck. This simple piece of clothing keeps my base toasty without being annoyingly restrictive. However, the price tag for this specific piece is quite annoying. I’ve tried cheaper brands but quickly learned that they’re less expensive for a reason. If you’re in the market for a compression shirt, I suggest sticking with Under Armour. It will set you back around 60 bucks, but it’s a worthwhile investment.

I used to be brand loyal to Under Armour but have discovered other brands that perform just as well. I currently own two pairs of compression pants, both of which I managed to find on the bargain rack. I scored a pair of Smartwool thermals for $30 that may work too well, and some Kuhls, which set me back a 20 spot. I prefer the Kuhls, but the Smartwools work just fine.

“You’ll be good as long as your feet and head are warm,” my father used to tell me. I was reluctant to take his advice as a 10-year-old, because 10-year-olds don’t feel cold. However, as a somewhat more intelligent adult, I‘ve grown to accept my father’s sage advice. Any knit cap will work to keep your dome warm, but the technology used to produce socks is right on par with other advances in base-layer technology.

To keep my feet protected from the elements, I wear Smartwool’s Mountaineering Extra Heavy Crew Socks. They’re made with merino wool, and whether you’re shoveling snow at the clubhouse or felling trees on the course, these socks will totally keep your feet warm and dry. A fun fact about these amazing socks: You can wear them day after day. As someone who suffers from chronic foot funk, I am astounded at how well these socks repel the stink.

Who hasn’t used the exhaust from a piece of equipment to warm up their hands? I certainly have, but perhaps my best cold-weather gear purchase in the last two years has been a pair of Burton Work Horse Leather Mittens. I was always leery of the mitten, thinking that they would interfere with the ability to use my hands. Plus, mittens look kind of corny. Despite the hacky look, my hands have never been warmer, and my willingness to sacrifice function over fashion has kept my hands free from the toxic fumes of a tailpipe. If you’re looking to purchase some new gloves, I suggest buying some mittens.

Dressing appropriately to ward off the cold is crucial. I’ve found my job is much easier when I’m comfortable and don’t have to worry about the elements. I used to despise winter, but now that I’m gearing up correctly, I don’t find the winter months to be so bothersome.

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