This is my third winter living in Edmonton (!) and over the years I have learned some ways to keep myself warm. I don’t have a vehicle so most of the time if I want to go anywhere I either walk or take the bus. With temperatures like we are getting this week I had to learn how to keep myself from freezing. Here is what I have learned:
Layers are Important
When the temperature is -20C or colder I make sure that I wear tights under my clothes. It makes a huge difference! Not the kind of tights you would wear with a dress, but the kind that look like yoga pants. I also wear a long tank top under my clothes all winter. These items cling right to your body and are good at keeping your body heat in. In the past I used to layer my socks too but I have since found that it doesn’t really help. It actually makes my feet colder so I would suggest against that. After my first layer I wear my regular pants and a sweater with long sleeves. Finally, I will wear a jacket on top of that. Something with a hood is preferable. I don’t usually put the hood on, but I have it kind of wrapped around my head to keep the wind off my neck.
My first winter here, my feet were not prepared for the cold. For Christmas that year I bought myself a good pair of boots. They were expensive, but they are made for -30C or -50C weather. My feet are never cold and the boots we definitely worth the money I spent on them.
Another thing you need is a coat that is made for winter. I would choose a skiing coat. They are warm and have snaps at the bottom so you can keep the cold from rushing up inside of it. Again, these coats tend to cost a lot, but if you look around in the summer you can sometimes find really good deals. I got two really nice coats for $100 total last summer. So far I’ve only worn one of them so I don’t see myself needing a new coat for many years.
The next thing you’re going to want is a wide scarf. One that is going to cover most of your face. I normally just have it folded down around my chin, but when that winter wind blows, it’s nice to have a scarf that you can roll up to your eyes like a ninja.
A winter hat is a very important thing to own too. I learned that the first winter I lived here too. My old winter hat just didn’t cut it for the winters here. You need to get a hat that covers your ears, usually called a trapper hat. It must have ties hanging down so you can tie it under your neck. It makes a huge difference at keeping your ears warm. Since moving into my new apartment last summer I haven’t been able to find the hat I bought that first winter and was very upset about it. I had a hard time finding a hat that really fit what I was looking for. I finally found a $40 one which was more than I really wanted to spend. But it has been a wonderful hat and again has paid for itself in warmth.
Finally, you have to keep your hands warm. Since I take the bus most days of the week, I also layer my hands. I will wear a pair of gloves under my mittens. That way, when I take my hand out of my mitten to get my bus pass out of my pocket, my hand doesn’t freeze off. It really keeps my hands warm too. If there are two things that make the rest of my body cold, it’s cold hands and cold feet. This winter, the only things that have been cold have been my face (mostly my eyes) and sometimes my legs when it’s really windy.