It’s undeniably and unequivocally winter here in Montreal. On bad days there is snow halfway up to your knees or a slushy slurry of snow and near frozen water that could very quickly result in frostbite or worse.
..and yet I still see people making fashion choices that could potentially kill them. The worst offenders are often a complete and total disaster but many others could still do a lot to keep themselves safer.
The way I see it there is one basic rule of thumb that could save your life when leaving the house in winter.
Winter Prepping: Could you walk home in that? If not then you are endangering yourself! Click To Tweet
Let’s start this discussion from the bottom up as usually that is the most frequent and blattant offense (especially for women). Appropriate footwear is an absolute must in winter. You never know when you may need to walk outside or how far you will need to go. Sure the sidewalk might be fine right now but if it really starts to come down how are you going to fare with what is on your feet. At the very least you need something that is warm and waterproof. The higher the boot the better to keep snow out and yourself warm. Most people won’t want to wear winter boots wherever they are headed so just bring a change of shoes. No real Montrealler will fault you and most bars will have a coat check or something similar that will accept your boots.
Next top offender is the jacket. No matter how fashionable you think it looks, if you are shivering you look like an idiot. The secret here is proper layering. You don’t need a jacket good to -60 C but you do need layers that will see you through at least 10 C lower than forecast. Take the layers off when you get where you are going and use the to moderate your body temperature on the way. Everyone will still be able to see your expensive coat and you can stay warm and safe. Try and remember when you first try it on you need some room to layer. In this case something longer is also better.
Third are a hat, scarf, and gloves or mittens. Your fingers and ears are among the parts most likely to suffer frostbite. A good hat or tuque needs to cover your ears completely. Warm and waterproof gloves are also essential and dependant how cold it is you may want to layer here as well and keep a thin pair inside a larger outer pair. The scarf is necessary so that you can cover most of your face if the wind is blowing.
Next I would suggest a quick review of your EDC (Every Day Carry). Personally I keep several extra things in my primary winter coat including:
- Extra cash in case I really need a taxi
- Hand/Foot warmers
- Kleenex/Facial tissue
- An extra flashlight
Although not stritly a clothing choice being informed about upcoming weather can also be key. I never put all my faith in the weatherman knowing it’s an inexact science, but I do still check for any weather warning signs. Freezing rain, snowstorms and extreme cold can be very dangerous and should be treated with respect.
None of this is rocket science but it is the uncommonly found ‘common sense’. You simply never know when things could go bad so you try and make sure you are as prepared as possible.Winter Prep: When leaving the house ask yourself. Could I walk home in this? Click To Tweet