So you think the winter months are no good for getting outside? Let me try to convince you otherwise.
A lot of people who dabble in the outdoors are looking to break free of office sounds, cell phones and e-mail. Solitude is the prize. Here’s a little secret: The cold shoos away the crowds.
But is it too uncomfortable to get outside in the deep freeze of winter? I don’t think so. Not if you prepare.
Oklahoma winters are relatively mild and mostly free of snow. It can get cold, and our winter winds to have a bite to them. But if you’re dressed right, you can have a great experience outside during winter. Some tips:
Dress in layers. Preferably, packable layers. Lightweight synthetics, fleeces, etc., can easily be stowed in a daypack if temps warm up, and then put back on when the wind kicks up for temperatures drop. Leave bulky clothes behind.
Steer clear of cotton. Cotton is durable, comfortable and breathes. It also soaks up and retains moisture, which is bad news when it’s cold. At best, you’ll feel clammy and cold. At worst, wet cotton clothing can contribute to hypothermia, which can be deadly.
Bring rain gear. Winter is a dry time in Oklahoma, but wet weather – rain, snow, sleet and ice – can occur. Even water-resistant clothing can get waterlogged, so rain gear is a good idea to have along.
Take a hat, and gloves, too. Some outdoor activities, like climbing, don’t mesh with gloves. But a hat and gloves can help regulate your body temperatures without forcing you to wear a ton of layers.
Bring plenty of food, water and sunscreen. Even though it’s cold, don’t be fooled into thinking you can’t get dehydrated. Bring two to three liters of water for a typical day trek. You burn more calories when it’s cold, so food is key. And just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you can’t suffer from sunburns. Bring lip balm, too.
These are just a few tips. Do your research. Learn what hunters, skiers and snowboarders have known for a long time: Cold-weather activities in the outdoors can be fun if you’re prepared.