Medicine Woman

  (Waynesville, North Carolina)
dangerous herbs, medicinal herbs, culinary herbs
[ Member listing ]


I used to live in the Adirondack Mountains in northern New York State and also in the state of Maine, so, I have had plenty of experience with cold weather, including getting stranded with my car, sliding into  snow banks or ditchs and, with children with me.  I also have looked up a couple of good websites, listed at the end of this blog and scrambled everything up to give you friends some ideas of how to dress properly in this freezing cold stuff.  ENJOY! And thanks to the websites that helped out here!


To start with ..stay inside as much as possible.  If you have to go out, shorten your stride in snow, ice, sleet, or heavy rain. Dress in layers. What does that mean? 



Layers means clothing that accommodates other clothing to keep your body warm in cold weather, whether you are going to stay inside or go outside.   Proper winter dressing means three layers:  wicking, insulating and protection.



The first layer is what is called wicking: This is the layer worn next to your skin, usually consisting of  thermal underwear made of a synthetic , usually polyester,  fiber that has "wicking" power. This means the fibers will wick (move) moisture away from your skin and pass it through the fabric so it will evaporate. This keeps you warm, dry and comfortable. Silk is good, as is cashmere and is a natural fabric that has wicking abilities.  Wool also is good. While the polypropylene layers are important, keep in mind that wool offers added protection to stay warm because, even when wet, wool will keep you warm. The wicking layer should fit snugly (not tight) next to the skin in order to effectively wick moisture. Comfort is key for the insulating layer. It should be loose enough to trap air between layers, but not so bulky that it restricts movement.



THE SECOND LAYER is called Insulating layer which includes sweaters, sweatshirts, vests and pullovers. The purpose of this layer is to keep heat in and cold out, which is accomplished by trapping air between the fibers. Popular insulation materials include:


•Fleece, a synthetic material which maintains its insulating ability even when wet and spreads the moisture out so it dries quickly.


•Wool, which naturally wicks away moisture.


While denim is not waterproof,  denim jeans is a good wind breaker when just doing errands or anything that isn't going to involve much water.  Also, if you wear denim jeans, wear them inside your boots so that they don't get wet and it won't be next to your skin. Water will soak through and you'll end up cold, wet and miserable. (Trust me! Jeans don’t dry fast and will stay wet and even get ice on them!)


Don’t wear cotton including: cotton athletic socks, cotton jeans, cotton sweatshirts, or cotton T-shirts. Cotton absorbs moisture (sweat and snow), and retains it. When the wind blows, you will get very, very cold.


Wear tights , long johns or  thermal leggings whenever you wear a skirt or dress or pants.  (Ladies, this will keep you warm whether you are inside or out! )



For men or women, a good choice will be a shirt that is a blend of Merlino wool and polypropylene or a heavier shirt of polypropylene, several of which have a “waffle” style construction on the underside. On really cold days a wool shirt will be the final layer that will be topped off by a cold weather, windproof jacket. So a wool shirt is a good investment!


One pair of light-weight or medium-weight socks works best for skiing, snowboarding or snowshoeing. Socks are made from a variety of materials, including polyester, silk, wool and nylon. Some socks have wicking properties similar to long underwear, meaning your feet will stay dry and comfortable. If you are going to be inside, a pair of slippers  that are crochet, knitted or even another heavier pair of socks is nice to wear over regular socks.



THE THIRD LAYER is known as protection layer or exterior layer. This is generally outside clothing such as coats, jackets and pants, hat, gloves, etc.  They serve as your guard against the elements of winter. They should repel water from snow, sleet or rain and block the wind, while also letting perspiration evaporate. For jackets and coats, goose down is the warmest insulation for its weight, and the higher the “fill” number, the better it insulates. Don’t let the down get compressed or it will loses its insulating ability.  A nice wool coat isn’t a bad investment either. I'm partial to fur coats and jackets as well as hats, as there isn't anything much warmer.


For recreation in the snow and cold, such as skiing, skating, snowboarding: one-piece suits, which combine a jacket and pants, are popular with many skiers, (and not a bad idea for the kids to play outside in either) especially on cold days and days where there is a lot of fresh powder snow. Look for functional hoods, cuffs, pockets and zippers ; details that truly make garments comfortable in a snowstorm.  Most snowboard clothing is still designed to fit looser than alpine skiwear, giving snowboarders freedom of movement. In addition, many snowboard pants are reinforced in the seat and knees for extra protection when kneeling or sitting on the snow.



Up to 60 percent of your body's heat can escape from an uncovered head, and can give you a headache. Wearing a hat, especially made from fleece or wool is or crochet or knitted a good idea. Next a wool or crochet or knitted,  scarf tucked in around the collar of your coat. The scarf can be loosened when needed to regulate heat loss during exertion. Wearing the scarf around your neck, mouth and nose will keep out the cold from entering your lungs. 


Look for gloves and mittens that use waterproof, breathable fabrics. Mittens, in general, are warmer than gloves, but offer you less dexterity. But, if your are just walking, mittens are good.  If you get leather gloves, be sure that there is a good lining in them and they should feel warm when you first try them on. Other gloves that are warm can be found in places such as Walmart, Target, TJ MAX, etc.  Snowboarding gloves and mittens often have a reinforced palm because of extra wear from adjusting bindings and balancing on the snow. Some snowboarding gloves and mittens also have built-in wrist guards, which are excellent for novice snowboarders. Cross country skiing gloves tend to be lighter-weight for extra movement and because you perspire more.


Sunglasses and goggles protect your eyes from damaging solar radiation. Look for 100 percent UV protection in sunglasses. Make sure the glasses fit snugly behind your ears and rest gently on the bridge of your nose. Snow, or any other reflective surface, makes ultraviolet (UV) rays stronger, while increased altitude also magnifies the danger. On flat-light days or when it's snowing, goggles are vital. They protect your eyes and special lens colors increase the contrast so you can properly discern terrain features. Goggles should form an uninterrupted seal on your face, extending above your eyebrows and below your cheekbones. Watch for gaps, especially around your nose.



FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE CHILDREN:   Cold weather can be dangerous for kids if they aren't dressed warmly.


  Avoid Cotton. Clothes made of cotton do not have the ability to insulate the child if they do become wet. Buy winter garments and clothing made of fleece and wool in order to keep your child warm.


Also, children can lose ‘up to sixty percent’ of their body heat if their heads are exposed so make sure that your children always have a hat on whenever they go out in the cold weather and keep it on. Always make sure that your children have socks and shoes or slippers on when  inside and warm socks and boots on when outside, no matter how young they are.  Also, put tights or legging under their dresses or pants; put a sweater or sweatshirt over their dresses or shirts. Wearing long john pants and shirt will help keep your youngster warm and toasty! Make sure that their dresses and shirts are long sleeved.


Keep an eye out that your children do not get wet while playing in the snow or on the ice, as it may seem “warm” to them.  However, the wetness makes children that much more vulnerable to the dangers of hypothermia and frostbite.



If you can’t just go out and buy all this clothing that is needed, you can find a lot of good, warm clothes at thrift stores , Good Will and Salvation Army places.  For those of you who are having financial difficulties, try calling the Red Cross  or shelters and see if they can help you. 




 Read more:


Charlie Burchfield is a past president of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association


















 Look for boots that go up to just below the knee and are made of insulated material or leather with a good, warm lining.  Stay away from the manmade pretty boots that will get ruined if they hit the water and are oftern cold to wear.





















RSS feed for Medicine Woman blog. Right-click, copy link and paste into your newsfeed reader