Winter is a spectacular time of the year. From dog sledding to snowshoeing and cross-country skiing to snowmobiling, or just camping out in the woods, it’s a time when you can experience the hushed, serene world of white. However before planning any trip or sporting activity in the winter you must be prepared to face the dangers of this glacial weather. Winter activities can be dangerous and this is further compounded by the weather that they are performed in. If you aren’t prepared for the hazards with the right kind of winter gear, you could be at risk from frostbite and hypothermia, the most common threats to your health from winter activities.
So, it becomes imperative for an outdoor winter adventurer to know the finer points of winter gear. For instance, winter shoes. Backpackers, fishers, or campers exposed to ice, snow, and water can enjoy their sport without fear of frozen toes if kitted properly with the right foot gear for the winter. The foot gear you choose will naturally depend on the activity that you are involved in as well as the temperature that you expect to be in. It also depends on the kind of environment that you will be facing, e.g. will it be wet, snowy or icy? For instance, different types of shoes are recommended for cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
For the former you will need a boot that provides support to the ankle. You may also need a ski over boot to give to the added insulation over the ski boot. For snowshoeing or hiking in the snow, regular backpacking boots are just not good enough. They are simply unable to provide the requisite dead air apace. There are several options for boots. Among them are:
Insulated Boots – Commonly called ‘Mickey Mouse’ or ‘M&M’s boots, these were originally designed for use in the Korean War. They are designed to provide an impenetrable shield against water and extreme cold. A wool-lined interior and several layers of rubber serve as insulation. Their most distinguishable features are their giant size and pure white color. The boots are able to prevent frostbite even at -20 or -30 degrees Fahrenheit (-29 to -34 Celsius); a thin layer of air trapped between two layers of rubber acts as a powerful insulator. They’re now available in black, with pressure valves, special moisture-wicking liners, and ratings down to an amazing –60 degrees Fahrenheit (-51 Celsius). You can purchase them thorough Army Surplus Stores, which is preferred over the modern copies.
Mountaineering Boots – Plastic shell mountaineering boots [http://www.winter-gear-online.info/easy-snowboarding.htm] have a woolen or a foam insulated inner boot. These are very warm and can be easily used with ski bindings, crampons and showshoes.
Mukluks – Mukluks are a type of footwear [http://www.winter-gear-online.info/skiing-photos.htm] originally made by the Athabaskans and Eskimos to keep their feet warm and dry in the winter. These are one piece moccasins which come up to the knee and are lined with felt and wool. How ever, since they are not waterproof they are best used in dry, cold winter settings. They can easily be used with snowshoe bindings and on cross country skis with special bindings, as well as with hinged crampons.