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Tips for Staying Warm this Winter

Although freezing winter temperatures may have put a stop to our whitewater rafting activities, there are still a ton of fun things to do around the New River Gorge (that don’t require going near almost-frozen water). However, when you get ready to head outside, the comfort of your outdoor fun can be ruined if you are constantly trying to warm yourself up or thinking about how you can’t feel your toes.

We have compiled a list of some of the top tips from around the internet (and maybe, our own personal experiences) on how to keep the chill away when outside this winter. Of course, if you’re really cold adverse and would prefer to stay inside, check out our post about rafting books to keep you entertained this winter!

  1. Layers are really important. This is especially true if you plan to participate in any high energy activities, such as hiking. To really make sure you stay comfortable, wear a synthetic, breathable, moisture-wicking fabric closest to your skin. This ensures that you will stay dry, which is really one of the most important parts of staying warm. Then add thermal layers above this, followed by cotton – which should avoid direct contact with skin when possible (it absorbs moisture, which can end up keeping you colder).
  2. Stay hydrated. As the winter sinks in, we all tend to forget the importance of water and hydration – especially since the cold subdues our natural thirst. For ease in this process, try pre-hydrating the night (and morning) before you plan to head outside. Water is especially important in the winter as it acts like a lubricant for your body, increasing blood flow to your extremities.
  3. When possible, where mittens instead of gloves. This may not be possible in some activities that require more specialized use of the fingers (in which case, gloves will have to do), but it does also allow for the full insulation of fingers together. The key is to minimize the amount of exposed skin, while also maximizing the opportunities to keep your extremities warm!
  4. Stay in motion. Depending on your activity of choice, this could be the easiest one to maintain! However, if you are camping or doing other activities that require some degree of stillness, be sure to get up and move around. Keeping your blood “flowing” and your core temperature up by taking a couple of minutes when you start to get cold by taking a short, brisk walk or doing some jumping jacks.
  5. Pace yourself. Even with the correct layering, it can be easy to overheat and then become cold quickly. Try to move at a speed that is fast enough for you to generate body heat, but not quite fast enough for you to break into a sweat. This means that you’ll stay warm without getting too hot.

There are lots of ways to ensure that you stay warm and comfortable despite the plummeting outside temperatures. Do you have a tip that you think we should include on our list? Leave it in a comment below!

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