Gifts to stay warm in the wintry outdoors, from a former park ranger

Gifts to stay warm in the wintry outdoors, from a former park ranger
Winter gifts for staying warm.
Winter gifts for staying warm.
Image: Mashable composite / HotSnapZ / amazon / smartwool / skida

By Mark Kaufman

The author Alfred Wainwright, who wrote famed guidebooks of the outdoors, knew how to stay comfortable outside. “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing,” is a quote popularly attributed to Wainwright.

It’s often true.

What follows are some clothing essentials to keep someone comfortable in frigid winds, chilled autumn nights, or during the frozen winter.

1. A buff

Buff Polar Multifunctional Headwear from REI
Buff Polar Multifunctional Headwear from REI

Image: rei

As a veteran park ranger of windswept Alcatraz Island once told me: “Protect the neck or freeze!”

Buffs are used to shield the neck and face from winds and cold air. They come in all sorts of colors and materials. REI sells some good ones.

Price: $32 at REI

2. Reusable hand warmers

HotSnapZ reusable hand warmers
HotSnapZ reusable hand warmers

Image: HotSnapZ / amazon

These are awesome. Unlike most hand and pocket warmers, which go straight to the landfill, HotSnapZ are reusable. You boil them before going outside.

Price: $21.88 on Amazon

3. Mittens

Skida’s “The Country Mitt”

Image: screenshot: skida

Gloves are essential, but mittens are exceptional. They amass more warmth than gloves. Many companies make good, quality mittens. Skida makes “The Country Mitt,” handsewn in Vermont. The company describes it as “built for the most rugged conditions and hardest days of play.”

Price: $110 at Skida

4. Long underwear

Smartwool's Men's Merino 250 Base Layer Bottom.
Smartwool’s Men’s Merino 250 Base Layer Bottom.

Image: screenshot: smartwool

Baselayers are for winners. Wool is the way to go. Wool is a material that dries quicker than cotton and holds more warm air. 

Price: $100 at Smartwool

5. Ice Grippers

Yaktrax’ “Diamond Grip Crampon.”

Image: amazon / Yaktrax

Don’t eat shit on the ice! These ice-gripping devices pull over your boots, and usually have chains and/or other grips that provide traction on icy surfaces. Yaktrax puts out a quality product.

Price: $35.96 at

6. Snow Boots

Schnee’s “Extreme” snowboot

Image: screenshot: schnees

Winter without warm, dry snow boots is miserable. Schnees makes durable boots that, crucially, include wool inserts for warmth.

Price: $349-$369 at Schnees

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