Lifestyle Stay warm on trips to colder climes with these essential tips and...

Stay warm on trips to colder climes with these essential tips and tricks

It's easy to feel miserable in the cold if you're not properly outfitted, so check out these packing essentials before you start your own packing process.

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Travelling to colder climates is exciting, especially if, like me, you hail from a tropical country. The thought of being all wrapped up, enjoying the snow, the cold, crisp air and warm drinks conjures up sensations of coziness and decided satisfaction. But the reality is not often as pleasant as the daydream, so preparation is key!

Freezing, having wet feet and feeling extremely uncomfortable are all possible eventualities if you don’t prepare for a cold weather trip. It’s easy to feel miserable in the cold if you’re not properly outfitted, so check out these packing essentials before you start your own packing process.

Remember to check the weather forecast for your destination on the days that you will be there. Noting down temperatures and changes in the weather will help you pack wisely.

The advice in this article is based on current temperatures in the northeast of England—eight to 11 degrees Celsius during the day and between 2 to 5 degrees at night.

Layering is key

Anyone familiar with cold weather will tell you that it’s all about layering. While my tropical self naturally resists the thought of being smothered by multiple layers of clothing, I have to admit that it is the way to keep warm in cold weather. Don’t fret—there is a way to layer up but still retain a feeling of flexibility, ease and mobility (and fashion!).

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The key is in light and easy-to-pack layers. These days, most outdoor and cold weather gear shops sell thermal layers, fleeces and down jackets that can be packed away without taking up much space. Remember that closer fitting layers in fabrics that stretch are better for keeping warm.

Essentials

As a rule, you want to pack several of the following items for layering in different combinations:

  • top-to-toe thermal base layers (merino wool will keep you warm, dry and fresh, as will hemp-based clothing)
  • tshirts
  • long-sleeved tshirts
  • sweaters/jumpers (look for natural fibres for extra warmth and comfort)
  • fleece jacket (this can be used on its own or inside down or waterproof jackets for extra insulation)
  • down jacket (packable down jackets are available in stores)
  • waterproof jacket (essential in a place like England or anywhere with regular rain showers)
  • dress shirts (if you need them—make sure you’ve got space under your dress shirt for a thermal layer)
  • dresses (pack dresses that can be worn with tights or leggings)
  • leggings (stretchy leggings can be used as thermals or as a layer above)
  • tights (shops sell fleece or wool tights that can be worn with dresses or under pants)
  • pants (take your pic from jeans, dress pants, hiking pants, chinos, etc. — just make sure you have room underneath for your thermal leggings)
  • comfortable thermal underwear
  • thick wool socks

And then there are the must-have cold weather accessories:

  • scarves (look for scarves that can double as shawls or wraps—basically mini blankets)
  • hats (keep your head warm and get them in a variety of colours and styles)
  • gloves (choose from leather, wool, or synthetic)
  • boots (keeping your feet dry is essential to staying warm)

Cold weather hacks

Choose layers that are easy to wear and hold or pack away. Establishments and homes in cold climates all have heaters that provide much-needed warmth. When you enter a heated building, the first thing that happens is that layers come off until you feel comfortable with the change in temperature. If you’re inside, the discarded layers can be hung on hooks or draped over furniture, but if you’re out and about and the weather changes, be ready to have to carry the layers you decide to remove.

Pack a day bag that is roomy and comfortable to use. I prefer to use a backpack or a sling bag that goes across the body. Shoulder bags are pretty much useless when wearing a puffy down jacket or anything made of smooth or slippery fabric—they’ll keep sliding off! A backpack is perfect as it has space for storing your layers and cold weather accessories plus any purchases you might make while you’re out.

Be wise about your shoe choice. You want to pick shoes that are comfortable to walk in, have room for thick socks and are not too difficult to put on and take off.

It’s all about the outerwear. Most of your photos will probably show you in jackets or outerwear, thanks to the weather, so bear that in mind and take some artistic liberties with your fashion. Most outdoor shops offer outerwear in a great variety of colours and styles, so it won’t be hard to find something that reflects your personal taste.

When in doubt, shop locally. If you can’t find suitable cold weather gear in your country of residence, don’t worry—one good tip is to buy right in your cold weather destination. Cold weather gear will be more plentiful, and perhaps it’ll even be on sale! Find out where the locals get their gear and shop there.

When in doubt, shop locally. If you can’t find suitable cold weather gear in your country of residence, don’t worry—one good tip is to buy right in your cold weather destination. Cold weather gear will be more plentiful, and perhaps it’ll even be on sale! Find out where the locals get their gear and shop there.

Though a staunch supporter of tropical weather, I must admit that the cold has its own charm and can be fascinating and beautiful. When properly geared up, the cold becomes a friend instead of a bitter enemy.

Ready to escape the heat of Singapore? Plan a cold weather vacay. Hey, Christmas is around the corner, and who doesn’t love a white Christmas? /TISG

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