Read on for my top 10 hacks for socialising outside this winter. Get ready for cold weather, outdoor socially-distanced, covid-19 restricted winter meet ups!
We’re now well into autumn (which I personally love) but with covid-19 restrictions not going away any time soon and the colder months of winter just around the corner, we need to devise different ways to meet with our friends and family in a safe outdoor environment.
Here’s my top 10 ways for socialising outside this winter:
1. Get water-proofed up
You can’t always avoid the rain and if you still want to socialising outside this winter you need to get prepared. You can spend £20 on a pac-a-mac or you can spend £400 on some fancy all singing all dancing mountain expedition kit. I can guarantee a really cheap ‘water-proof’ jacket will not keep you dry for long. However, I can also say the really expensive ones will leak eventually, especially if you’re out all day in heavy rain and strong wind. At the end of the day it’s a personal choice of how long you’re planning on being outside, how long you want your jacket to last and how much you want to invest.
Don’t forget the water-proof trousers either. I must say from experience, a cheaper pair of over-trousers will usually suffice a rainy walk.
2. Get snuggly in a duvet jacket (down jacket or puffa jacket)
This is your ‘warm layer’. There are many brands out there offering insulation jackets of some kind or another. Like with waterproof clothing, the cheap ones will not keep you as warm as the more expensive ones, but if you’re only going to be out an hour at a time, then a cheaper may be all you need. Something to be aware of those your are wanting to be more environmentally conscious; many of the major outdoor companies are investing a lot of effort into becoming as sustainable as possible producing clothing with sustainably sourced down feathers. Outside have a great feature on their website that filters products for the more environmentally conscious of us.
3. Invest in a hat, scarf and gloves
Over the years you’ve probably been given loads of hat and glove sets. Well now’s the time to get them out. They are the most practical thing when it comes to the cold, they come in every style and colour imaginable so you’ll find something that suits you.
- if you’re got a bobble hat, it’s more difficult to put your hood up.
- if it’s a rainy day, it might be worth taking 2 sets of gloves when one gets wet and your hands get cold, swap into your spare pair.
Suffer from Raynald’s?
I suffer from Raynald’s where my fingers easily get white and numb in the cold. Once they go white, I’m unable to do anything with my hands. A game changer for me was some battery powered Outdoor Research gloves which I bought before going mountaineering in the Alps. I’ve never looked back – they were a life changing investment.
4. Keep your tootsies warm
Don’t neglect your feet. Letting them get too cold can lead to chilblains. Warm, thick socks or 2 thinner pairs should do the trick. And it’s not just the socks, thin soles on trainers such as Converse and Vans can seep the heat straight from your feet. Trainers with a thicker sole are good or invest in some winter boots. There’s plenty out there from fur lined Ugg boots to Gore-tex approach shoes.
5. Get some wellies and get sploshing!
I have a dog. We go on walks through muddy fields. It was inevitable that I would end up with a pair of wellies. Like I’ve mentioned before, you get what you pay for most of the time; you have to weigh up how often you’re going to go out, and how long for and how much money you want to spend. My pair of ‘fashion’ Hunters lasted 3 years. I’ve since upgraded to Le Chameau and they’re awesome. Saying that, I also have a pair of little shortie wellies – leopard print with a bow, £10 from the market – which I use for around the garden, camping and occasional dog walks and they’re brilliant.
6. Buy a flask
Wow, has my flask seen some action lately! I always use my flask regularly for day walks and when we’re out climbing. In my local area (at the time of writing this – 23/10/2020) we can only meet friends outside within out tier 3 area. My flask has now made it’s way into an integrated part of my social life.
- Remember to warm up the flask with hot water beforehand to keep it hotter for longer.
- It’s not just tea or coffee that can go in flasks; hot juice and hot soup work a treat.
7. Get active and generate your own heat
We all know that our bodies more generate heat when we start moving more, so on a cold day head out and get your heart rate pumping. You could go up your local hills or go for a power walk, run or cycle with friends.
8. Explore somewhere new
Tired of going round and round the same old loop in your park?
Ordnance Survey’s GetOutside initiative is a great starting point for local walks and bike ride. Another great source of information is the National Trust and Woodland Trusts websites. You may be in a city with not much green space. But that doesn’t matter, make the most of your urban landscape, just get out and explore your neighborhood etc.
9. Don’t just walk and talk, enjoy and appreciate Mother Nature
When you’re chatting away with people, you often forget to actually take in your environment. So, when you’re next out remember to take in aspects of nature, what you can hear, what you smell and what you can see. You’re out in Mother Nature, just a moment to look at her properly.
10. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
Who doesn’t love an open fire to gather around. If you have a garden and the space, invest in a fire pit, chimenea or log burner. Get stocked up on marshmallows and get those chestnuts ready you’ve just collected. We bought this amazing Kadai Marshmallow Fork from Outdoor Living.
One last one….
11. Have a sense of humor
Even after you follow all of these tips for socialising outside this winter, you may still get cold, and wet and hungry but hey, you’ve got great company whether it be with your friends, family or Mother Nature herself. Be grateful for what you have and enjoy those moments….and least you’re not at work!
If you want to keep up to date with what I’m up to, check out my events page and follow me on social media.