How to prepare for your first winter

If you’ve spent some time in Baguio City or Mountain Province in January or February, then you have an idea of what cold is like. You cannot take a bath without a heater or hot water. Your breath steams early in the morning and the fog!

But that is nothing when you experience your first winter in the United States. It is cold, nope not Baguio Cold, but refrigerator, freezer cold!

If you are new to the US you better prepare for the cold of winter!

Monitor time and the daily forecast

Check the time because you cannot rely on the sun during the winter. The sun will rise later in the morning. Sometimes, the morning doesn’t become light until 9am, and it starts getting dark by 4pm.

You also need to check the forecast so you know what the temperatures will be. Depending on where you are in the US, temperatures will range from negative to about 10 degrees Celsius. Check the weather warnings because it might affect classes or work.

I’ve been using the Accuweather and Yahoo weather app on my phone to monitor the weather. So far they’ve provided me with the information I need.

Shop for the right clothes

If you have heater in your home and you generally work in an office environment, you can usually get away with less layers. But if you work outside, then you will need to invest in good, solid winter wear.

Here’s a list of clothes you will need.

Undergarments: thermal underwear and warm socks. The idea is to keep your body heat and prevent it from escaping. Look for long underwear–those that are branded as “thermal” works as well as materials made out of silk. It’s also important to keep your feet and toes warm so get warm socks made out of wool.

Shirts and pants. Your usual shirts and pants can still work, but you may need to wear a size up if you have some undergarments.

Outerwear. Get a heavy coat, a sweater, and a vest that you can used to layer on a really cold day. You can add layers if you need more warmth and you can definitely remove them when you get too hot.

Don’t forget other essentials such as head gear: a beanie (that’s bonnet for us, Filipinos), a scarf, gloves, and ear muffs.

Here’s a helpful guide on layering and how you can best do it, depending on your lifestyle and what you want to do outside in the cold:

  • The base layer is worn directly against the skin. In winter, this layer often includes long underwear. The best base layers are made of polyester, polypropylene, merino wool, silk or other materials that wick moisture and dry quickly. In more moderate weather, this layer may simply include a lightweight T-shirt.
  • The mid layer typically includes a long-sleeved shirt. Button-up shirts are a good choice, because they are easy to take off and put back on, as needed.
  • The insulating layer acts as your primary source of warmth. Examples include a fleece pullover, fleece vest or wool sweater. In very cold weather, a down vest or jacket may be used as an insulating layer.

Check out the following sites for more tips:

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