All throughout history, people have prepared for the coming of winter. They gathered fruits and vegetables to store in their root cellars, made sure they had enough firewood and made sure they had enough meat smoked and/or salted. This wasn’t something they had to do each winter. It was a matter of life or death.
Nowadays, it might not be as big of a necessity as it was for our ancestors but it’s still important to make sure that you have everything you need for winter. After all, it’s important for your comfort, your safety, and your well-being to make sure that you have everything you need to tide you over these months. Which is why this guide was created. In it, you’ll find just about everything you’ll need to get through the winter months.
I like to shop on Amazon because, well, it’s awesome – so I decided I’ll simply link to their store for all product recommendations in this article for your convenience. Once you click the links off to Amazon you go to stock up and get ready. Ok, here we go:
Clothing is one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make concerning winter weather preparation. Day after day, you’ll be going out into the world, so you’ll want to make sure that you have clothing that is comfortable and appropriate for the season.
Probably the most important article of clothing you’ll need is your coat. It’s the layer that will do the most to keep you warm. For women, there are a variety of really great coats which include Steve Madden Women’s Quilted Puffer Jacket Coat and London Fog Women’s Packable Down Quilted Coat. Some of the great coats available for men include CAT Men’s Heavy Insulated Parka and Columbia Frost-Fighter Men’s Puffer Jacket. These coats will really keep you warm during the colder months of the year.
Shoes suitable for the weather is another thing that’s important to consider. You’ll want something waterproof and that will protect your feet from the cold. Some winter footwear to consider includes snowmobile boots such as Kamik Men’s Greenbay Cold Weather Boots or Baffin Wolf Winter Boot, or if you’re looking for an ankle boot—something like Timberland Men’s Mt. Monroe Mid Waterproof Winter Boot.
Of course, if you expect to have to travel through heavy snow or expect to do heavy winter hiking, then you might want to get snowshoes. Snowshoes will help you trek over even the deepest snow drifts. There are a number of popular models out there but my favorite happens to be Chinook Trekker Snowshoes. These snowshoes are built on aluminum frames so they are lightweight and feature heavy-duty metal crampons that really bite into the snow.
If you really don’t need to cross winter tundras, then you can also go with something a little simpler. Something that will give you traction on slippery surfaces. In that case, you may only need ice cleats. STABILicers Maxx Heavy-Duty Ice Cleats are my favorite because they provide plenty of grip on ice and snow.
What you wear on top of your head is another important consideration to make before winter strikes. While the belief that you use 40-45 percent of your body heat has been thoroughly debunked nowadays, you still don’t want a cold noggin.
The type of hat you’re going to need really depends on how you are going to use it. If you live in a relatively mild climate in which the winters aren’t too cold, then you can get yourself a Women’s Winter Beanie Knit Ski Cap or Original Soft Knit Beanie Cap. If you’re looking for a little bit heavier, then you can consider getting something like the Mysuntown Unisex Winter Trooper Trapper Hat with Windproof Mask. It offers an excellent degree of protection from the cold winds of winter.
Gloves are another thing to consider, especially since your extremities are the first things that get cold and if you don’t properly protect them, then you risk causing permanent damage to them. Of course, it can be a bit difficult to decide which kind of gloves to get—after all, the list is extensive. There are leather gloves, ski gloves, mittens and even touchscreen gloves. Finding out exactly what you need for winter can be difficult.
That’s why I researched the fact for you and came up with gloves that I think are important for winter wear. If you snowboard or ski, then you might want to get a heavily insulated pair of gloves like COPOZZ Ski, Snowmobile & Snowboard Gloves With Zippered Pocket. However, if you’re just looking for a simple glove, then you might want to consider GLOUE Winter Gloves for Men & Women—simple but gets the job done.
While the above things cover the basic winter apparel you’ll need to consider, it doesn’t cover all the clothing you may need this winter. Other things to think about include:
Winter Preparations for Your Car
One thing many people fail to consider when they’re getting ready for winter is making sure that their vehicle is properly prepared for the winter. This can lead to them not being able to effectively navigate the snow or ice covered streets, not being able to see through their windshields or not being able to get out of their driveways in the first place.
Of course, a little bit of forethought and maintenance ends up doing a whole lot. If you’re expecting winter weather conditions such as snow, ice, and sleet, then you’re surely going to want to get a good snow tire. Snow tires are better than all-weather tires in the winter because they not only have a better tread but also because the rubber is specially formulated to stay pliable in cold conditions. This increases your car’s ability to make it through snow and improves your vehicle’s stopping distance in slippery conditions.
However, just a good pair of snow tires might not be enough if you end up getting a whole lot of snow and ice. In those conditions, you really need something that will give you the traction you need. If you have a truck or SUV, then you might consider buying either the Security Chain Company Super Z Light Truck & SUV Tire Traction Chain (ZT751) or the Security Chain Company Super Z6 Cable Tire Chain (SZ143). If you have a passenger car, then you might want to consider a snow chain like the Glacier 1042 Passenger Cable Tire Chain or the Security Chain Company Shur Grip Super Z Passenger Car Tire Traction Chain (SZ335).
Tires and snow chains aren’t the only things to consider for your winter preparations. You should look over your car from bumper to bumper. Make sure that your antifreeze levels are good, that your battery is in good condition and that your heater works and works well. It’s also a good idea to make sure that you’re windshields do their job adequately.
Another important thing to consider is keeping your windshields from freezing up in the first place. How do you do that, you ask? Well, it can be done quite easily using a frost guard. There’s a number of different frost guards on the market today but my favorite is the NFL Frost Guard: Winter Snow, Ice and Frost Windshield Cover XL. Not only does it do a great job of protecting the windshield from frost buildup but it’s also available for your favorite NFL team—whether that team is the Miami Dolphins, the Arizona Cardinals or some other team.
One thing that’s often overlooked by many people preparing their cars for winter is having a suitable first aid and/or emergency kit in the car. While there are many different first-aid and emergency kits out there, my favorite is the Thrive Roadside Assistance Auto Emergency Kit + First Aid Kit. This kit has just about everything you could want. Its 42-piece emergency kit contains things such as screwdrivers with bits and sockets, multi-function pliers, 8-gauge booster cables, flashlight, safety hammer and ice scraper, among other things. Its 62-piece first aid kit contains things such as scissors, alcohol pads, tweezers, bandages, safety pins and non-woven tape. Just about everything you would need in a roadside emergency.
Here are a few more things you’ll want to consider:
- Traction Mat or Cat Litter
- Ice Melt
- A Small Shovel
- Non-perishable (Survival) Food
- A Blanket
- Windshield Wiper fluid
Winter Preparations for Your Home
In the last two sections, we talked about preparing your closet for the upcoming winter season, as well as preparing your car. Now we’ll delve into the winter preparations that you’ll need to make for your home. Preparations that will not only get you through a cold winter’s night but will also get you through the winter storm of the century.
The first thing I want to examine are the things that you need for the outside of your home, so let’s start with snow removal. When it comes to removing snow, you really only have two options: you can either use a snow shovel or a snow blower. Let’s take a closer look at both of these options.
As far as shovels are concerned you have many different ones to choose from. There are the cheap plastic ones that you buy from the local grocery store and there are specialized snow shoves that are meant to push and shovel snow. There are also a number of different brands to choose from. However, my favorite is the Suncast 18-Inch Snow Shovel/Pusher Combo (SC1350). This shovel has a 51-inch handle, a 18×12-inch blade and has a steel core handle. It’s just what you need to shovel and move the snow.
On the other hand, if you’d rather not use a shovel, then you might want to consider a snow blower. Over the past few years, snow blowers have really become quite powerful and easy-to-use. They just aren’t the big clunky machines they once were. And they are manufactured by a number of great companies from Toro to Husqvarna to Poulan Pro. However, my absolute favorite is the Snow Joe Ultra 18-Inch 13.5-Amp Electric Snow Thrower with Light (SJ621). This electric snowblower doesn’t need gas or oil, so it can be used to dig out of the snow even when you can’t make it to the gas station. It also has a 20-watt halogen light on it. It will also handle about 650 pounds of snow per minute.
Other things you’ll need for the outside of your home:
The inside of your home is just as important for you to prepare for winter as the outside of the home. And this means not only protecting the home itself from the elements but also making a cozy environment for you to enjoy. Here are a few suggestions:
Inside-Temperature & Climate Control
If you have leaky windows, then one of the first things you’ll want to do is to get a good winter weather kit. These kits are basically plastic that you place over your leaky windows and usually shrink wrap them to fit. This keeps out the blowing winter winds. While there’s a variety of different window kits available, my favorite is Thermwell (V8425) 84″ x 25′ Shrink Wind Film Window Shrink Kit. It’s easy to use and isn’t expensive.
Another thing worth considering is buying a NEST thermostat. These thermostats learn the temperature you like to leave your house at and will adjust to that temperature. This is not only convenient but can also save money. While there are a number of different models on the market today, my favorite is the Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation. This thermostat works with both Google Home and Amazon Alexa; automatically turns itself down when no one is home; can be controlled by a laptop or tablet, and is Energy Star Compliant. What more could you ask for?
Inside air can be very dry and this can, in turn, dry out your nasal passages. This not only poses an inconvenience but may also contribute to you getting sinus or bronchial infections. To combat this problem, consider buying a humidifier to add moisture to your inside air. There are a number of different brands and models on the market—and they all have their own pros and cons—but my favorite is the TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier. This model dehumidifier has an LED display, provides up to 15-hours of mist, a sleep mode, and a built-in timer.
Other things to consider for the inside of your home during winter:
- Tea kettle
- Tea / Coffee / Cider
- Electric Blankets
- Winter Slippers
- Foot Warmers
- First-Aid Kit
- Thermal Underwear for men
- Fleece Underwear for women
- Cold Medicines & Decongestants
- Lip Balm
- Hand Sanitizer
- Carbon Monoxide Detector
Preparing for Christmas
While many people don’t think about the Christmas Season while they are getting their home ready for winter, it’s something that should be considered early on. If you prepare for it in advance, then you can not only be sure that you have what you need but you will also save yourself a considerable amount of stress. In this section, we are going to go over some of the ways you can prepare for the Holiday Season. Let’s begin with Christmas Decorations.
Outside Christmas Lights
Hanging Christmas lights is a tradition enjoyed by many families. Unfortunately, it’s also an endeavor that can be quite dangerous. Every year, people are injured while they are hanging Xmas lights. Of course, that doesn’t have to be the case. Nowadays, there are a number of Christmas Light Projectors on the market today. These projectors project the festival colors upon your house. Some of the more popular ones include the Tunnkit Christmas Party LED Projector Light and the Gemtune Christmas Light Projector LED.
Of course, if you still want to hang your Christmas Lights, then proper planning is the key. First, you’ll want to Watch This Light Hanging clip:
and second, you are going to want to get some high-quality Christmas Light Hangers like Kwik Clip Plastic Holiday Light Hangers. If you don’t, then you might just feel like you’ve ended up in the Light Scene from Christmas Vacation:
The Christmas Tree
Another thing that really has to be taken into consideration is the Christmas Tree. The first thing you’ll have to decide is whether you want a natural tree or an artificial tree. If you’re going with a natural tree, then you are going to have to decide whether you’re cutting it yourself, having someone else cut it for you or if you’re going to buy it at one of those tree lots.
If you’re going to buy an artificial tree, you have a number of different options to choose from. There are artificial Christmas trees that are 3-feet high all the way up to 10-feet high. Some of the more popular fake Xmas trees you can buy nowadays include the Best Choice Products 7.5′ Premium Spruce Hinged Artificial Christmas Tree With Stand and the KING OF CHRISTMAS 6 Foot Prince Flock Artificial Christmas Tree.
Assuming that you didn’t buy a Christmas Tree that came with a stand, this is the next piece of equipment you’ll need to think about. You’ll want a stand that does its job—which holds the tree in place and if it’s a live tree, give it water. My favorite stand is Krinner’s Tree Genie XXL Tree Stand. It works well for a variety of trees up to 12-feet—both artificial and live ones.
Ugly Christmas Sweaters
Ugly Christmas Sweaters are beginning to quickly become a new tradition in many families. Of course, ugly Christmas sweaters mean different things to different people. Some people think of them as the gaudy holiday-themed sweaters that are often given as joke gifts to the whimsical sweaters that are cute and sassy.
Just because they’re listed as ugly doesn’t mean that they also can’t be sexy. If you’re looking for a more traditional ugly Christmas sweater for women, then you can check out V28’s Womens Oversized Christmas Reindeer Cardigan. For men, you can check out the Ugly Christmas Sweater Men’s Romantic Santa Light-Up.
Christmas just wouldn’t be the same if somebody didn’t give or receive a holiday fruitcake. It’s been an American tradition for decades now, although I do have to admit that it does have sort of an image problem. However, if you love fruitcakes, or know someone who does, then why not give them one for the holidays. You can either make your own or order one of the ready-made ones. One of the more popular fruitcakes nowadays is Claxton Regular Recipe Fruit Cake (5 1-pound cakes). That’s five one pound cakes that you can give to friends and family.
Of course, after eating one or two or three of these dense holiday cakes, you’ll be happy that you prepared ahead and was able to prepare for the winter sports that you’ll be doing during this season. And that just so happens to be the next section of this article.
Preparing for Winter Emergencies
Do you have a plan in place in case of a winter emergency? If you don’t, then you may want to come up with a plan. After all, a blizzard or heavy snow event can suddenly disconnect you from friends, family and the rest of the world. What would you do if you couldn’t leave the house for 3-days or more? Now’s the time to consider that possibility.
One of the most important things to keep on hand is food and water. It’s recommended that you have at least 3-days of food and water—although I personally feel that a week is even better. That means 3 meals per day and a gallon of water for each person per day.
The food should be non-perishable food items such as canned goods, cereal, crackers, etc. If this is food from your regular grocery store, then make sure that you rotate it every time you go shopping. Another option is to buy one of the emergency food kits such as Mountain House Classic Meal Assortment. It provides 29-servings of food. And the best part about it is the food has a shelf-life of about 30-years.
As far as your water is concerned, you want to make sure that you store the water in clean plastic containers. That doesn’t mean gallon milk bottles, however. Milk bottles are a poor choice to store water in. That’s because the plastic degrades quickly, causing it to potentially leak. Another problem with milk bottles is that it can be hard to get the milk out of them, which could lead to dangerous microorganisms growing in your water supply. The best bet is to purchase a water container that’s meant for emergency water storage. Something like Reliance Products Aqua-Tainer 7 Gallon Rigid Water Container.
Another must-have for your emergency winter preparedness kit is a weather radio. You’ll want to get a model that is battery powered. That way, you can still find out what’s going on, even if your power has been knocked out. The weather radio I currently like is the Kaito KA500 5-way NOAA Weather Alert Radio. It’s a weather radio that can be powered by a 3 AAA batteries but also has a NiMH rechargeable battery that it can charge through its hand-crank or solar powers. It can pull in AM/FM/Short Wave and NOAA weather broadcasts. It also has a built-in reading lamp and cellphone charger.
If your home has a fireplace, then you may also want to make sure that you have an adequate supply of firewood. Not only will this give you heating options if the power goes out but it can also give you cooking options. Just be sure that you have your fireplace and flue checked on a regular basis to avoid fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.
A generator is another thing that should be considered. They can provide reliable short-term power that keeps your heat and lights on. This can be enough to keep your home from freezing and thereby causing your pipes to freeze and burst. Nowadays, generators are more reliable and less expensive than they have ever been. One of my favorite generators on the market today is the WEN 56125i Super Quiet 1250-Watt Portable Inverter Generator. It’s quiet, produces over 1,000 watts of steady power and is easy-to-use. It’s also inexpensive. In my opinion, it’s a must-have for any emergency—winter related or not.
Preparing For Winter Sports & Physical Activities
If you’re planning to do any sort of physical activity this winter, then it’s best to be prepared in advance. It doesn’t matter if you plan on skiing, snowboarding or ice climbing, or if you are simply going to jog or walk around the block every once in a while. Winter weather provides some very unique challenges so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Athletic Winter Apparel
If you’re engaging in any sort of physical activity outdoors during the winter, then it’s important to have a base layer to help you keep warm. The great thing about a base layer is that you can add to it as you see fit for your particular physical activity. For example, an ice climber may want to add clothing that will protect them while they’re climbing.
For many people, the running beanie is one of the first things added to the base layer. There are quite a few of them available, but the one that I really like is the SLS3 Running Beanie for Men & Women. It’s made of micro-fleece, has a reflective front logo and it wicks sweat away from you. It’s also easy to wear under a helmet.
Compression base-layer shirts and compression base-layer pants are also items to consider when putting together your workout routine. These items will help keep you warm and help you retain body heat. And the best part about these items is that you can wear them under your coat, jacket, and regular pants.
Another accessory that’s very important to winter sports and physical activities are sports sunglasses. You’ll want to wear a polarized pair of them to protect your eyes from UV rays that may be reflected off of snow or ice. The pair that I’d recommend is Duduma TAC Polarized Sports Sunglasses. These glasses get rid of reflected light, restore true color, protect against UVA and UVB light and are lightweight.
Keeping Baby Warm Outdoors
If you plan on taking your baby or toddler with you when you walk, jog or run, then you might want to get a footmuff for your stroller or your car seat. There are a number of them that are on the market today but one of my favorites is the JJ Cole Original Bundleme. It has a wind resistant and waterproof outer layer and has a nice warm interior. It’s perfect for keeping baby warm.
Although the winter season was taxing for our ancestors, that no longer has to be the case. Thanks to modern technology and information, we can now spend our winters in relative peace and comfort. Of course, that’s only possible if we take a few moments of our time to figure out what we need to get through the winter successfully. Hopefully, this guide has been helpful in helping you think of everything that you might need during the winter months.