What cold-weather gear is worth your extra dollars

Dressing for the weather – especially here in Manitoba can be pricey. After all, layers upon layers can add up quickly.

WINNIPEG — Dressing for the weather, especially here in Manitoba can be pricey. After all, layers upon layers can add up quickly.

There are definitely places you can splurge and a couple of areas you can save.

Here’a a bit of a breakdown to help you direct your money to the areas where it’s needed most.

LONG UNDERWEAR

There are basically two main choices to choose from. Synthetic fabrics like polyester, compared to the pricier merino wool.
Polyester wicks away moisture from your body and is better for the more active outdoors person. And for the price, it’s your best bet. It’s usually less than half the price for the wool variety.

Those long johns will help you out in a wide variety of temperatures and doesn’t absorb odor. They are also good for the environment. You won’t have to wash these as much as the synthetic brand.

BOOTS AND YOUR FEET

When it comes to what you put on your feet, it’s important to think about what you’ll be doing outside says Anne Batac, from the Work Boot Factory.

“A temperature rating is important to look at and for most of us a rating of -30 C is good enough,” says Batac.

You’ll want a boot with good insulation and an outer sole that’s made of rubber so it can handle the icy streets.

So-called “fashion boots” that don’t have a temperature rating will make your cold much more quickly. Good for running from the house to car, but not much else.

Socks are also very important.

“Cotton socks tend to not work very well,” says Ken Berg of Mountain Equipment Co-op. “One of the reasons is they don’t really wick moisture away from your skin so you will end up getting cold.”

It’s a good idea to have some space in your boot so that it’s not constricting blood flow.

Items that are right up against your skin like socks, and even long johns are worth the extra money to help keep you warm.

MITTS

For warmth, mittens are always the way to go.

They keep you warmer because all your fingers are being kept together instead of separated in gloves.

Berg recommends mittens with a higher pile on the inside always helps to keep you toasty.

If you don’t have the best gloves or mitts another inexpensive option are the hand warmers you can buy almost anywhere. And you can put them in boots!

Berg notes that if you haven’t used up all the time on your warmer – put them in a Ziploc bag, take out the air, and the next time you take them out they won’t work quite as well but you’ll still get a bit of the heat out of them.

JACKETS

If there is one splurge in winter – it should be your jacket.

However you can save some money by buying a lighter outerwear jacket. Just make sure it’s a material that can block the wind. That way you can still layer underneath and get some added warmth by pairing it with something you already have like a big sweater or lightweight fleece.

Down coats will cost you more because there are no cold spots in the jacket and the construction overall is usually better.

And like Berg says, “after all, this is Winnipeg. It’s really worth the investment to have a really good winter jacket.”

© Shaw Media, 2016

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