5 Tips for Staying Warm in the PNW

Don't fall in!

Oregon’s Crater Lake – National Geographic

Here in the Pacific Northwest, the winters can be pretty brutal.  Lots of rain to drench us, with no sun to dry us out.  Luckily, we live in an age of creature comforts.  Whether you’re watching whales on the windy coast or you’re carving out curves in the Cascades, here are 5 things you can do to stay warm and happy this winter:



  1. Stay Dry – Man, once you’re wet, it’s all over. Avoiding the rain in the PNW would keep you indoors for half the year, so instead get yourself some moisture-wicking gear to keep the water off of your skin. Wool, for instance, can hold up to one-third of its weight in water before it starts leaking through.  Pay special attention to making sure your feet stay dry, or you’ll be miserable.
  2. Layer – Many live by the 3 layer ruleBase layer for wicking moisture away, mid layer for insulation, and shell for weather protection.  Keep that core warm!  And anybody in the Pacific Northwest can tell you, the weather here changes frequently.  Having layers allows you to shed a few for the 5 – 10 minutes of sun you may get to see someday.

    Washington Coast in Winter

    Washington Coast in Winter

  3. Maintain good circulation – Layer, but not the point of constriction, especially your feet.  Poor blood circulation means that you’re going to have some chilly toes, no matter how many layers you’ve got on. And get moving!  Nothing gets that blood pumping better than an active body.
  4. Stay hydrated – And don’t just drink the delicious coffee and craft beer.  Whether it’s from a gorgeous glacier or a bubbling spring, we’ve got some great water here.  It’s vitally important to drink tons of water in cold temperatures because water allows your body to generate heat, your body is working harder under the weight of all your extra clothing, and your sweat is evaporating much more rapidly in cold, dry air.  And to keep your water from freezing, put your water bottle in a wool sock, insulated bottle sleeve or a DIY cell foam sleeve.
  5. Grow a beard – Or just find some other way to keep your neck and face covered.  May I suggest a neck warmer or scarf?

    This guy has a neck warmer AND a beard.  He is enlightened.

    This guy has a neck warmer AND a beard. He is enlightened.

So get out of the house, and go get whatever scraps of Vitamin D from the sun you can!

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