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Help this Texas girl survive the snow!

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
So we just went to Yellowstone and the Tetons this summer, but the Yellowstone bug has bitten me and we now are planning a winter trip this February! Imagine - snowshoeing to geysers, wolf watching, cross country skiing to frozen waterfalls! I am so excited I am practically beside myself with joy.

One small detail.... I have never been cold before. I have seen snow in New Mexico, and a handful of times its iced over down here in Central Texas, but I am totally ignorant when it comes to serious cold. Wyoming looks pretty serious to me. Which also is another reason why I want to do this winter adventure! I think after surviving the hottest Texas summer on record, I am desperate for something different.

I want to buy a jacket and plan on borrowing snow pants. I need a good warm jacket anyway, mine is over 10 years old and falling apart. My eyes are crossing from looking. There are SO MANY options. I have been on backcountry.com, sierratradingpost.com and ll bean. I like ll bean b/c they have temperature ratings, but the prices are kinda scary. The ones on the other two have really fancy brands, but I don't know if they would be warm enough for Yellowstone. Ideally I wouldn't spend more than $150 and even that makes me feel a little wobbly inside. I really like the 3-in-1 jackets because I could zip them apart and wear them in Texas cold, BUT I don't know if they would be warm enough for Montana/Wyoming. On all the reviews on every coat there seems to be at least one person saying "this jacket kept me warm in a blizzard!" and one person saying "This coat is too thin and left me freezing cold!"

So here are the ones I am looking at - can someone nudge me in the right direction? Or please suggest something appropriate so that I don't kill myself.

LL Bean's Tuckerman Jacket

It sounds great! The temperature rating goes down to -20, and it can zip apart to separate coats I can wear in Texas. But the price seems really high... maybe they will have a sale??? And the stripes don't really do it for me, but whatever, I can live with that.

Here is one from backcountry that looks good:

Salomon Snowtrip 3 in 1


But I have no idea if it would be warm enough. It does have the word "snow" in the title. lol! It looks almost *too* thin. Its kinda pricey too....

Moving on... not a 3-in-1, but with my coupon it ends up being $150 (god I love sierra trading post!)

Marmot Rubicon

It has Gore-Tex which I recognize as fancy words that mean "waterproof - really, really, seriously, waterproof" and also that somehow mean "expensive, really, really, seriously expensive". I still can't tell how warm it would be, but since its a ski jacket, surely it would work right? But then again people who are downhill skiing are moving more than I would be, right? So would a ski jacket be as warm as a "parka"?

Anyone know anything about jackets? Are there any far north locals who could point me in the right direction? I do know to layer with wool/silk underwear.

Also - would my good old trusty waterproof hiking boots work in the snow or do I have to buy special snow boots?

Help! Save my life! Keep me from buying the wrong thing and dying of hypothermia!



Thank you so much Mama's!!!!
post #2 of 18
We use to live in Bozeman, Montana. Yellowstone gets really, really cold. My snow boots are Columbias and I think they go down to -20 degrees.

I know for my husbands work Christmas party we went to a Dude ranch just outside Yellowstone. He went out to the truck in the morning to warm it up and it was -25. Uh, this was mid December! The front desk said "Oh it warmed up. It was -32 at 4 am.

Layers is good too.

Did you say you looked at REI?

eta - My coat is a Columbia (has an inner zip out liner and outer shel). But I am not sure of the temperature rating on it.
post #3 of 18
I have a Columbia coat. I'd really really love to get a Northface coat since mine is a little big and I don't really like it. You need something that is waterproof and can keep you warm in extreme temps. Waterproof boots will keep you drive, but not warm. They usually have boots rated by how warm they'll keep you in certain temps. I have some Sorrels that I love that always keep me warm. You'll definitely need layers, Underarmour stuff is great, but spendy.

It does get cold there. We used to hunt near Yellowstone, one year the coldest it got was -40. By the time it warmed up to 20 degrees, we were all in short sleeves because of the difference.
post #4 of 18
Are you driving or flying? There is a Sierra Trading Post in Cheyenne where you could try on everything and really get some good advice.

If you are planning on being active I truly believe in layers and more layers. And don't forget legs, feet and hands. gloves/mittens and socks are just as important.
post #5 of 18
Yeah, I'd go for something zip-apart in your case, and then if it's REALLY cold, you can layer. Thermal long underwear and a warm overshirt can make a big difference under any coat. If you're going to be snowshoe-ing and such, you will be generating body heat. Look for something with zip-open armpits... accumulated sweat inside a coat can chill you to the bone!

Also, don't neglect your feet. Warm feet are a good thing.
post #6 of 18
No advice, but this Central Texas mama is jealous! Have a great trip and enjoy the
post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Purple Sage View Post
No advice, but this Central Texas mama is jealous! Have a great trip and enjoy the
me too! (moved to Texas in July, but we're from Oregon where we've enjoyed many snowy winters!)

Have fun!!!

(my coat is from patagonia, btw.. the kids have columbia )
post #8 of 18
I second/third/fourth the recommendations for LAYERS! Especially since you'll be active in the cold. Make sure you have a wind-proof layer as well, since it can be cold, but not too bad, then the wind cuts through and you're suddenly freezing! Make sure you layer hands and feet, too (2 or 3 pair of thin socks will generally keep you warmer than one pair of thick socks). Also a good windproof hat/hood that covers your ears will help keep you warm all over. Make sure you have something to keep your nose and cheeks warm as well--especially if there's wind.

A good pair of sunglasses can also be important. The sun reflecting off the snow and ice can be just as strong as visiting the beach. Make sure you carry some good lip balm, too as being out in the cold, especially the wind, you will get chapped lips.

I'm not sure how dry it is in central TX, but in very cold weather, it's very dry as well, simply because the cold air can't support much moisture. Make sure you carry plenty of water and have a good moisturizer waiting for you when you're done for the day.

I hope you have a fantastic trip!!
post #9 of 18
Don't forget to put something on your lips and face!
post #10 of 18
I'm a former ski instructor and we all lived in these at work: http://www.amazon.com/Sorel-Womens-C...6516681&sr=8-3
post #11 of 18
It gets super cold where I live and I managed alright wearing my Sierra Designs 3-in-1 jacket. That said, I now have a super heavy-duty parka and find my old jacket quite chilly.

What I would probably do in your case is to get a 3-in-1 and then get a vest to wear with it if needed. My favourite place for winter clothing is Lands End, especially their overstock pages. You can get some awesome deals. Right now they have a down vest for about $20 that I think would be awesome as an extra layer. The other thing is that if you're snowshoeing, you'll be producing a lot of heat and you don't want to get too warm.

I would say that more important than getting the right coat is getting nice warm boots. My boots of preference are Baffin because they're really warm but they aren't really heavy like a lot of warm boots are. They're pretty pricy though. Also, make sure the boots you get are big enough so you can wear an extra pair of socks without them being too tight.
post #12 of 18
You've gotten good advice but I see one body part that hasn't been covered: your head! Cover it with a great hat - one that has ear flaps will be your friend. It's definitely not the time for cute - go thick!

I'm jealous - we lived in the Tetons for a few years and Chicago just isn't the same... Have fun!
post #13 of 18
I live in cold Canada and have a Columbia jacket as well.
post #14 of 18
Wear layers.

Actually, come wear layers in my house.

I'll live in your house if you want a cold weather experience. You can wear snow shoes to get to the end of my drive.

Please!!

Maine sucks

Edited to add: BUT!!! You can be at the home of LL Bean in 25 minutes, their flagship store!!!




It still costs an arm and a leg for a pair of socks
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bea View Post
I'll live in your house if you want a cold weather experience. You can wear snow shoes to get to the end of my drive.
I snowshoed to work while pregnant. Our principal called our house and said the drifts were really bad, and that DH should drive me over on the snowmobile. I wasn't about to have him dig out the snowmobile for a ride the equivalent of one city block, nor did I want to flounder through hip-deep snow with a gigantic pregnant tummy. So I snapped on the snowshoes and had a nice walk.
post #16 of 18
I agree with the advice to layer. Each layer of clothes also traps an insulating layer of warm air, so you will actually be warmer in 2 or 3 lightweight layers than with one heavy duty coat.

So my strategy in really cold (below 20 Celsius) is to rug up with some lightweight long underwear (merino wool is fantastic if you can afford it), then a long-sleeved t-shirt and/or a cotton turtleneck, then a wool sweater, topped with a vest and then my jacket. It may seem excessive, but if I have hats, scarf and mittens/gloves and a good pair of boots, I'm always pretty comfortable.

If I get too warm, it's easy to de-layer. That's why I like the 3-in-1 jackets that zip apart. The versatility is really useful.

Have fun in the snow!
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by gillibean View Post
I would say that more important than getting the right coat is getting nice warm boots. My boots of preference are Baffin because they're really warm but they aren't really heavy like a lot of warm boots are. They're pretty pricy though. Also, make sure the boots you get are big enough so you can wear an extra pair of socks without them being too tight.
I second this: If your feet are wet and cold, you will be miserable. You need boots. Warm boots. Since you live in TX, I'd get a good pair of hiking boots and then you might be able to wear them again. Then get good socks - silk (or polypropylene) undersocks and then good wool socks to go over them. Maybe even 2 pair. Do not wear cotton socks, they get wet and hold the cold. Make sure the boots are waterproof. Do not, under any circumstances, get rubber boots. They conduct the cold and do not insulate your feet.

And then layer, layer, layer like everyone else said. Get a good scarf, hat and mittens (mittens are infinitely warmer than gloves).

Keep moving.

Have fun!
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thank you thank you for all your advice!!! Good gracious this trip is going to be expensive! How do you up north gals afford all this gear? I guess once you buy it, its good for a long time. Ok, so adding insulated boots to my list. I don't know what to do about the hat... I have a couple of ones, but they aren't serious hats with ear flaps. I am adding a goose down vest to the list - thats a great idea, and I do love Lands End too!

Last night I watched on Man vs Wild Bear Grylis swim through a half frozen river naked up in the artic circle and he survived! Holy crap! If he can do that, surely I will live through some snow at Yellowstone with a freaken jacket on.

Oh and I am jealous that you guys have to snow shoe to the mailbox. (ok that may sound strange, but I am so sick of being hot) Today I woke up and outside the thermometer said it was 46 degrees - brrrr!!! We had all the windows open - I was so happy to feel something other than the sun burning me that I practically cried with joy.

Thanks again for all the great advice!
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