Winter plays games with us. Before it starts, we convince ourselves it’s supposed to be a mild one. Months after it’s passed, we tell ourselves it wasn’t. But true or not, these are consolation prizes, because even though we’re Canadians, and we should be used to it by now, winter is never quite as we remember it. When you’re going through it, winter is ultimately still winter. It’s cold, it’s icy, and it’s an inevitability.
But we are Canadians, and we’ll never let winter keep us inside. For some Canadians, winter isn’t a stop sign, it’s a welcome mat to a challenging adventure—and a point of pride. If you’re prepared for winter, you can best it. And this is the gear you’ll need to do just that.
A weather-proof parka
When it comes to our Canadian climate, you can’t skimp on a good parka. The options feel almost limitless these days, from packable bubble jackets to blizzard-ready parkas. No matter which direction you go in, look for a parka that can adapt to whatever winter throws at it. Some things to look out for are a hood big enough to block the wind, easily accessible pockets to warm your hands when you don’t have gloves, and a silhouette that still lets you move and maintain your balance while keeping your core nice and toasty. Looking good is important, but it’s not as important as keeping warm. Luckily, it’s easier than ever to find a parka that does both.
Boots with injury-preventing grip
Winter makes things that normally come second nature tricky. Even a little bit of ice can make walking to the corner store difficult, let alone going for a winter hike. But if you’re not about to let cold weather stop you from stretching your legs, there’s no better way to stay steady and fleet of foot than with a pair of Merrell’s award-winning boots with Arctic Grip. With unparalleled grip, advanced Vibram soles and ice detecting lugs, Arctic Grip boots are up to any challenge winter has to offer.
Moisture-wicking base Layers
Layering isn’t as simple as just throwing on two sweaters, three t-shirts, and four pairs of socks. Layer improperly, and you’ll end up sweaty with limited circulation, and in the winter that’s a great way to make a cold day feel colder. That’s why base layers are important when the temperature starts to drop. Because the base layer sits against your skin, you want to find something that’s both thin, and moisture wicking, so avoid those classic cotton long johns if possible. Instead, opt for flat-seamed thermal leggings in a tech fabric, like rayon or nylon, or an ultra soft merino wool. The right base layer will keep you warm without you noticing it’s even there.
Walking is hard enough in the winter. Driving might be harder. And while Merrell doesn’t make Arctic Grip tires, winterizing your car with snow tires is the next best thing. Even in more temperate parts of the country, ice is a constant risk during the winter months. Mitigate it with snow tires, which have increased traction to keep you straight in inclement weather. Safe driving is still the most important thing to keep in mind, but a pair of snow tires will take some of the extra risk out your trek to the trail.
While mittens are the best way to keep your fingers warm, we need finger dexterity to get by in our tech-centric modern world. Luckily, there are a lot of tech-friendly options to keep your fingers warm without making it impossible to use your smartphone. This winter, look for touchscreen-compatible gloves that will let you use your phone in an emergency without risking frostbite. Whether they’re wool with smart-fingertips or some of the more advanced heated pairs coming out these days, you won’t miss mittens for long.
Portable, rechargeable battery
Many Canadians have generators in case of an emergency, so why not apply that same contingency to your day-to-day devices? These days, portable, rechargeable battery packs are as affordable as they are versatile. Keep one in your glove box, just in case you need a quick charge in an emergency. If subzero temperatures are keeping your car from starting, you’ll be thankful you brought it.
A good portable mug
If you’re winter-ready with a warm parka, smartphone-compatible gloves and proper boots, you might be more inclined to go for a walk this winter. Unfortunately, none of those will keep your coffee warm. Whether you’re going for a scenic walk on the water or just from the parking lot to the office, investing in an insulated mug that keeps your morning brew warm is a game changer when winter hits. And, if you’re going for a long hike, the right bottle is also a great way to take a soup or stew along with you; chances are it’ll still be piping hot when you want to refuel.