By Payson Everett-Brown, RE/MAX Social Media Intern
Until I left California to attend school in Colorado, I had never experienced living in true winter weather. I thought I was ready for the snow: I had a light jacket, a beanie and my tennis shoes. Looking back, I could not have been less prepared. I was shocked when it started snowing around Halloween and didn't stop until May! That first winter was so cold I thought I would never feel warm again.
Eventually, I learned that it is possible to survive a true winter without developing frostbite, you just need the right equipment (and plenty of hot tea or hot chocolate!).
So if you're moving to a colder climate, here is a detailed list of winter necessities. You'll probably be surprised at what you didn't think of!
1. Down jacket
Mine has been a life-saver. Wearing a long down jacket helps me feel like I'm still cozied up in my bed. Regular length jackets can work for relatively cold conditions, but at some point in the season you will want a longer coat or parka. These jackets can be an investment, but they're well worth it.
2. Warm SNOW boots
Don't try to get away with rain boots. Snow boots tend to fit more snug around the calf or ankle, helping to keep moisture out when you have to walk through a snow bank. They also often have a flannel lining or one that repels water and keeps warmth in. Fortunately, boots come in a wide variety of styles, which makes them almost as much of a fashion statement as a winter necessity.
No matter how long you'll be outside, whether you're skiing or taking the dog for a walk, long underwear or lined leggings and shirts under your clothing are essential for staying warm. And even inside, it can still be chilly. Wool sweaters keep warmth in and cold air out so you don't have to wear a coat inside. Just make sure you can peel a layer or two off if the heat's a little more intense indoors than you were expecting.
4. Hat, gloves and socks
Keeping your head warm will help regulate heat throughout your body. Gloves are essential when you have to scrape snow off your car or you have to grip an ice-cold steering wheel. In cold, dry climates, going gloveless can result in painful cracked skin. Also, summer socks in the winter will leave your feet cold and possibly wet. Stock up on a few pairs made from wool or another heavy material.
5. Car prep
Make sure your car is winter ready – check the tire pressure, oil levels, etc., before flakes start to fall. For example, windshield washer fluid you bought in a warmer climate could freeze so it's important to fill up with washer fluid that's meant for below-freezing weather. Also, a snow scraper will come in handy when you don't want to wait 20 minutes in a parking lot waiting for the snow on the windows to defrost. You may also need a broom or snow brush to sweep snow off your car.
Preparing for winter before the first frost is your best bet. If you wait until the first major snow storm to get your shovel, chances are you've waited too long and stores are already sold out. Plus, if you get shovels in the off-season, chances are they're on sale. Who doesn't like a bargain?
7. Pet needs
Does your dog need a dog jacket or booties? Frozen snow in paws can be painful for your pups, and road salt can also cause skin irritation. Properly heated shelter outdoors or access to the indoors is critical, too. Make sure your pets are as comfortable in the snow as you are.
Stick to these guidelines and your first snowy winter will be one to remember – in a good way!