How to Stay Warm in Cold Weather

By December 18, 2020Uncategorized
Trees covered in snow, grey sky
By Aurora Heat

 

Being a small business that designs and crafts natural and reusable fur warmers, we’re often asked, “What’s the best way to keep warm?” As Northerners, knowing how to dress warm was learned from a very young age simply for survival. Traditionally, Indigenous peoples have always used fur and hides for warmth and help all of us today enjoy the Land and colder weather activities.

We at Aurora Heat certainly know the meaning of cold. Today, in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, it is a frigid cold day of -36°C with windchill. Fur is one of Nature’s gifts and this tradition has been passed down to keep ourselves, our families, and for all of those who purchase our offerings.

What happens when we don’t dress for cold weather?

When we don’t dress properly for the elements, our comfort and health can be impacted. From challenging our immune system and being more susceptible to catching a cold or flu, to more severe conditions like frostbite and even hypothermia—dressing for the cold is important to our health. From experience, children are more affected by cold and  don’t always have the communication skills to tell us that they’re cold until they’re freezing so it’s important to be observant and prepared. As parents, dressing children for the elements also makes for their full enjoyment and participation in the full day at Forest and Nature School. At home, dressing warm makes for uninterrupted playtime and activities like sliding, skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, speed skating, hockey, tobogganing and more!

Two kids on a sled on top of a snowy hill

There are many benefits of dressing ourselves and our children effectively. According to a study from Harvard Medical, spending anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes in the outdoors, three days a week, offers immense benefits to mental health. The sounds and presence of Nature are proven to lower blood pressure and levels of stress hormones, which in turn calms the body’s fight-or-flight response. When we’re warm and comfortable, free from painfully numb fingers and toes, it’s so much easier to enjoy our time outdoors. What follows are four helpful tips for doing just that. 

Tip 1: Layers are Your Best Friend

No matter where you are in Canada or what time of the year it is, when it is cold, layers are the first defence. From +10°C to -40°C, layers are necessary. There are three types of layers you’ll want to look out for:

  • Warming Inserts are added to areas that are most vulnerable to the cold like hands, feet, fingers/thumbs, wrists, ankles, ears and your head. The chemical based warmers that produce heat from up to 10-hours and battery-operated warmers are not recommended for children.Natural and everlasting warmers like Aurora Heat™ are perfect for kids! They are made of natural fur which use your own body heat to keep you warm and never cause burns or overheating.
  • Base Layers sit closest to you and your children’s skin and help absorb moisture to keep you dry. They insulate the heat your body naturally produces. Think of long johns, merino wool sweaters, and thick wool socks.
  • Middle Layers are what goes on top of your base layer. This layer can be a fleece or down jacket that further insulates your body heat.
  • Outer Layers are the layer that protects you from wind or rain seeping through to your mid and base layer. Think of rain jackets, windbreakers, and even waterproof hats! A study conducted by REI Co-op found that in windy conditions, windshells can increase warmth by 10°C or more.

Tip 2: Choose Natural Materials

When you can, opting for natural materials is better for the environment and oftentimes, better for those who have sensitive skin. While it’s hard to avoid purchasing synthetics for our outer layers due to their water and wind repellent benefits, middle layers, base layers and warming inserts all come in natural alternatives like merino wool and other natural fibres like silk. Wool is a superior insulator even when wet and is naturally odor resistant.

When examining warming inserts, there are many many benefits to choosing natural and sustainable alternatives over chemical-based synthetics. Aurora Heat™ warmers are a newer choice in the marketplace and are made of winter-quality sheared beaver fur. This is the dense, velvety-soft underfur of a beaver that offers 10,000 fur filaments per square inch. It is also the insulation layer that enables beavers to keep warm while going in and out of freezing water in Northern Canada. Being 100% biodegradable, it’s the most eco-friendly choice in addition to being breathable, odour resistant and hypoallergenic.

A fur hand warmer

At Aurora Heat, we solely source wild furs primarily from the Genuine Mackenzie Valley Fur™ program. This program exceeds standards laid out in the International Agreement of Humane Trapping Standards and keeps the cultural heritage of Canada’s Northern Indigenous peoples alive.

Tip 3: Keep Your Head, Hands & Feet Warm

We all know the pesky feeling of cold hands, feet, fingers and toes. It’s not fun and causes us to retreat indoors even when we’d rather continue enjoying ourselves outdoors. Toques or hoods, mitts/gloves, wool socks, and winter/rubber boots are a must have for winter outdoor gear. Adding a warming layer such as Aurora Heat™ natural and reusable warmers will ensure your head, hands and feet never feel the cold. It also helps to avoid adding additional middle layers allowing you to be more comfortable. Doubling up socks, wearing two layers of mitts/gloves, or having to wear a hood over your toque restricts movement and can feel stuffy. 

A person putting on a glove outside

  • Head warmers for adults and kids are worn with the fur side facing the skin for ultimate insulation. Worn within toques, helmets, or tight-fitting hoods, you can avoid losing heat from your or your child’s precious noggin.
  • Hand, finger and thumb warmers for adults and kids use the same concept. Positioned directly against your skin, within your gloves and mitts. You’ll be surprised how Aurora Heat’s warming inserts keep your hands, fingers and thumbs toasty warm the entire time you’re outdoors.
  • Wrist warmers are great for those who snowmobile or do any outdoor winter sport where the wind breaks hard. Warming the blood that circulates to your fingers and hands for extra warmth, these are also effective for those who have poor circulation or achy joints.
  • Foot and toes warmers for adults and kids are worn with the fur against the skin, inside socks to keep them in place. The heat from your feet is kept within the dense fur filaments and circulated back to your toes keeping you consistently warm. Not too hot, and never cold.
  • Ankle warmers offer an added benefit of warmth by warming the blood right before it hits your feet and toes! So very comfortable these are great for those with achy joints and poor circulation.

Tip 4: Protect your Cell Phone in Case of Emergency

Most devices like cell phones or tablets shut down when exposed to cold temperatures. Smartphones typically run on lithium-ion batteries which don’t react well to the cold wherein many electronics experts recommend leaving your phone turned off until you are in warmer temperatures to avoid damaging the battery.

A cell phone warmer ensures your phone can continue to operate in the cold. This is extremely important in case of emergency and also great if you want it to be quickly accessible for picture perfect photo opps!

A cellphone pouch

We hope these tips and introduction to our products have been helpful to you in some way. If you’re looking for additional tips on how to use natural and everlasting warmth, we’re always happy to hear from you at info@auroraheat.ca. Using natural and reusable warmers in your outdoor, and even indoor clothes can save on your heating bill and is a sustainable alternative for those who care for the environment. As a nature lover and member of CNAC’s community, Aurora Heat has an exclusive discount of 15% just for us! Please email sean@auroraheat.ca to receive the code.