Living in Canada has never been easy in the winter. Despite my love for skiing, ice fishing and building snowmen, I’ve always struggled with rhinitis (inflammation of my upper sinuses when the temperature drops). Staying warm is a must in Canadian winters and I’ve accumulated a wardrobe of essentials for when the temperature dips below 0. I find what’s especially challenging about Canadian winters compared to ones I’ve experienced abroad (Shanghai) is that the outdoors are brutal however indoors the temperature is cozy making it difficult to dress appropriately. Whereas thick, wool sweaters are fantastic in the outdoors you may be disappointed to find that indoors
To help you prepare for the winters, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite must-haves for winter 2021. Whether you’ve been living in the frozen tundra for all of your life or you’ve migrated from warmer climates, this will be a helpful guide to staying warm.
Thermal Tops and Bottoms
Having worn thick wool sweaters for the earlier part of my childhood, I’ve discovered how pleasant thermal tops and bottoms can be. It keeps you warm without being overwhelmingly warm indoors. You can layer how you like and custom it to your own styles. Some thermal tops have mock necks and turtlenecks as well to help keep you extra warm.
Snow Boots or Shoes
Having a good pair of snow boots or weather-resistant shoes are a must for Canadian winters. If you’re living in a milder climate like that of British Columbia, rain boots or insulated rain boots may be more functional. Either way, weather-resistant shoes help you stay dry and comfortable when you’re out in the deep negative degrees climate.
Thick Warm Socks
Another way to keep your toes toasty and dry during the cooler months is to sport some thicker ankle length socks. Keeping your feet warm also helps to improve circulation in your lower extremities. If you’re spending an extended period of time outdoors from waiting for the bus to walking between different buildings, thicker socks are a great investment that will last you a long time.
Similar to the thermal tops, these are extremely easy to layer. Opt for one with zip-up to help you get in and out of them easily when in-door temperatures are high. Fleece sweaters are also non-bulky to wear and pack which means travelling in these versatile pieces is simple.
Despite this being one of the most controversial winter clothing pieces in the winter, I still swear by them as they have helped my joints stay warm. A single layer of jeans left my joints and lower extremities aching when going from -30 temperatures in Alberta! Thermal leggings are a thin, skin-tight layer that can be worn under your pants to protect your lower body from the extreme temperatures.