What it costs to dress warmly, safely in this cold

ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. - Polar apocalypse, stupid cold, polar vortex, call it what you will, the weather is downright dangerous, but there are ways to dress warmly and safely.

The key, as most Minnesotans know, is to limit exposed skin and dress with plenty of layers.

These days, those layers include the latest in technology.

"One of the first rules of survival is 'cotton kills,'" explained Todd Brewer of Hoigaard's. "So cotton traps moisture against your body and that cold air will zone in on the moisture and that will make you really cold."

To avoid a "wet cold," Brewer advised wearing some sort of wool as a first layer, or some type of synthetic.

"The Patagonia Capilene is a great product, or smart wool, which is wool based," said Brewer.

Silk will also work well as base layer.

That first layer is a lot like long underwear and should cover you nearly head to toe.

Next are your feet and finding the appropriate socks.

"This sock is woven to give you protection in the toe," described Brewer.

A sock that provides warmth in the toe and hugs, yet is flexible in the arch costs $20.95.

The first jacket worn should be something that insulates, keeps the core warm, but gives you mobility.

The jacket that goes over that, or the "shell," should use a type of Gore Tex product to stay dry, wind resilient and breathable, a lot like the pants which should also be ventilated.

The key to good boots are a layer of insulation between the cold ground and your feet.

Finally, cover your face and head with a mask and hat. Use mittens instead of gloves and wear goggles because at 20 below zero the eyes can freeze.

It can be a costly venture, but there are all sorts of alternatives both more expensive and cheaper.

"Fleece is pretty inexpensive," said Brewer. "There's a wide variety of fleece out there. It's a great wicking insulation. I think you can find good alternatives out there at any price point and any budget."


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