How to stay warm in Chicago's subzero temps
I'm obsessed with finding hacks to stay warm — indoors and out — during Chicago's chilliest days.
Why it matters: After five years of research and interviews with cold weather experts, I've distilled my best tips to get you through this next subzero snap.
I've tried Bengay, pantyhose, wool socks, regular socks and plastic bags and concluded that the combination of a wool sock + plastic bag + wool sock + warm boot keeps my toes the toastiest.
- Make sure your boots are big enough to fit the extra sockage.
Wearing nitrile gloves under a down or ragg wool mittens allows my fingers to share warmth but still protects them when I have to poke at my phone for a moment.
Note: The plastic bag and nitrile glove methods can make your feet and hands sweat, which makes them unsuitable for brisk activity followed by long periods of stillness in the cold.
A balaclava with a good nose hole prevents my glasses from fogging and lets me breathe without creating so much condensation that the face protector gets wet and freezes.
- But all bets are off when I start talking.
- If I must expose my face on a long cold walk, I'll smear it with Vaseline on the wise advice of a longtime postal carrier and my son who used it when he had to play football in freezing temps.
Hand warmer packets have never really worked for me, but I've had great success filling my inside coat pocket with a hot baked potato in a plastic bag, a plastic bottle filled with very warm water, or one of those new electric hand warmers that also serves as a battery charger.
On subzero days when my home office feels like a walk-in cooler, I head to the toasty bathroom and line the tub with towels, a cushion and desk tray from which I am writing this very story.
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