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13 winter tips from Canadians to keep you warm and safe this winter

POSTED: January 9, 2017 9:21 a.m.
Emily Cummings/

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I grew up where winters got snowy and icy, but things hardly ever dropped to be below negative degrees. That’s certainly not the case in some parts of the world. Thankfully, our frozen Canadian, Russian, and Scandinavian friends on Reddit are willing to share the tips and tricks to staying warm even with wind-chill.

Here are 13 tips perfect for any Floridians moving to Minnesota (and all of us who are looking to make this winter just a little easier):

Avoid cotton

In a message board about what fabrics are best for this kind of weather, a cold-weather-expert Canadian gave this pro tip:

“I thought the best part that most people don't get is not to dress in cotton. Cotton is the devil... The frost devil.” If you want to use natural fibers, go with Merino wool, not cotton. Synthetic fibers will also keep you warm. Remember to dress in layers!

Time to namaste

You might not want to do yoga outside in December, but standing on a yoga or rubber mat instead of the freezing asphalt or concrete for long periods of time will help keep your feet warm.

Swap socks

“I’ll add my little tip I learned working outdoors for long shifts in the winter: bring an extra pair of socks. Midday or on your lunch break, dry your feet and change to the clean socks. It will noticeably increase the quality of the rest of the day.”

Paper or plastic?

Obviously, waterproof and insulted shoes are your best bet, but this hack does the trick. Invest in a good pair of wool socks and then put your feet in plastic bags before putting on your boots. Your shoes can get soaked but your feet will stay nice and dry.

Practice makes perfect

Nervous about driving in the snow? Here’s some advice: “If you can, and I highly recommend this: find an empty parking lot during a snow storm. Practice turning, emergency braking and obstacle avoidance (bring along a cone or a cardboard box to act as something you're trying to steer around). This will help you immensely because few people ever get to discover the limits of their vehicle in snow until it's too late. You'll learn exactly how slow you need to be going to avoid an accident, as well as how your car behaves.”

The wait is worth it

The minute the temperature drops in November, don’t get out all of your winter gear just yet. If you get used to your heaviest sweaters and coats before it gets really cold, you won’t have any more layers to break out when January comes. Start with sweatshirts and work your way up to coats.

Smart move

Use your body as a heater! “When things get really cold, I tend to put my next day's clothing under the covers with me when I sleep, so that I won't be changing into cold clothing in the mornings.” You’ll sleep as sound as this puppy and will wake up to warm clothes which is a win-win.

Do some decorating

A Russian commenter suggested keeping your apartment or home a little warmer by doing some redecorating. If a cold basement is leeching heat through the floor, rugs can help retain heat a little. Hanging rugs or tapestries on the wall can help with your home’s insulation too — just make sure they don’t create a fire hazard.

Time for cookies

Keep your home (and yourself) warm by baking for lunch and dinner. Your oven will help heat your house while dinner is in the oven, and cracking the oven door after you pull out tonight’s meal helps keep things warmer even longer. Drinking and eating warm foods can help heat up your body’s core as well.

Stay warm and hydrated

While it’s nice to sip hot tea in the freezing cold months, remember to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. You can also help keep your feet warm by making up a hot water bottle or a corn bag; fill a sock (or cute bag) with dried corn, beans, lentils, rice (etc) and tie off the end. Heat up in the microwave for a couple of minutes for a DIY heater.

Run like this

Don’t know how to dress in the wintertime for a run? Here’s a tip from this message board:

“If you have this luxury, I recommend trying it: if you run locally around your house or apartment, wear a little extra clothes and take a mile one direction, then turn around and head home. By then, you should be decently warmed up and that sweatshirt, gloves, and hat combo are going to feel heavy and hot. Take them off and throw them on your porch (or, in my case, in my mailbox) and be on your way!”

Run like it’s wintertime

“Oh, and do note, during the winter (snow, ice) running is quite different. It's a lot harder running on those surfaces and your body uses different groups of muscles so start building core strength over time otherwise you won't be able to run your current distance.”

Buy the right kitty litter

If you’ve heard the tip about using sand or kitty litter to give your tires traction in the snow, just beware: the clumping kind will turn to mud when it hits moisture. Buy the non-clumping variety to get a rocky texture that will actually help you get unstuck.

Did we miss anything? Comment with your best winter tips in the comments.
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