Dress in layers.
The colder it is, the more layers you should wear. This allows you to keep warm and take off layers if you overheat.
– Long underwear aka long johns. Yes, you need a pair or two. Get silk-weight tops and bottoms if you don’t want bulk, but it costs more $$. If not, get thermal or mid-weight tops and bottoms. These are made of materials that wick moisture away from the body so that you stay warm. Cotton is not a smart option as it retains moisture and you will feel clammy and cold.
– Also called mid-layer. Wear polar-tech, flannel or fleece or wool. You especially want to keep your core (torso) warm. Do not wear cotton. Forget sweatshirts.
– Down or synthetic sweater or vest. (Only when the wind chill brings the real-feel temperature to the single digits or less.)
– A good with insulation and a waterproof shell. Primaloft or other synthetic materials are good. Get one that has a high loft (more than 60 grams of insulation). Down is good as long as it has a waterproof shell or has been treated. If it is not, rain or snow will be absorbed by the down feathers and you will freeze.
– Fingers: Get the warmest pair of gloves you can afford. Or get a pair of liners and wear mittens over them. When I’m used to report in freezing temps, I always wore glove liners with hand warmers and put mittens over them when I wasn’t taking notes.
– Feet: Invest in a couple of pairs of heavy-weight, wool-blend knee-high socks.
– Face: I have a balaclava and wear it often. It will cover your face when the wind is blustery.
– Head: A warm hat made of wool, wool blend, or fleece with an waterproof outer layer. Most of your body’s heat escapes from your head. A hood is OK but can obstruct your peripheral view and it’s best if you have the ability to see what’s around you so no one sneaks up on you, especially when you are out reporting in neighborhoods you are unfamiliar with.
– Buy waterproof, insulated snow boots. Uggs will not keep you warm, especially once it gets wet. You will need the insulation. Wearing two pairs of socks will not do the trick and will actually make your toes feel frost-bitten because your toes need wiggle room to keep your blood circulating.
-Ice cleats: Invest in a pair of Yaktrax, Stabilicers or other type of ice cleats. (About $20) You want to put them over your shoes or boots so that you do not fall on the ice. Every year, we have several students and professors who slip on the pavement and break and arm or leg or worse.
Other stuff worth noting: Vaseline is a good skin protectant. If you are heading out into blustery weather for long periods to do interviews, put it on exposed parts of your face. If you are going to be doing stand-up interviews, do not put it on as it will mess up your makeup.
Taking notes in the cold:
– Keep pencils with you because the ink in pens freeze. There is nothing worse than getting that great on-the-street interview and being unable to take notes. Even worse, a frozen pen might leak all over your nice clothes. Keep them in a plastic bag and use only when it’s above 32 degrees. The Fisher Space Pen has ink that doesn’t freeze. It also writes upside down. I’ve been using them for years. Great investment and they’re now a lot cheaper.
Equipment doesn’t like cold weather:
– Do not store equipment in the cold or leave it in your car. It will likely malfunction if you do. If your videocamera or other equipment doesn’t work or indicates you have no battery power and you know it does, shut if off and restart it. If it’s still not working, try switching out the batteries. (Some types of batteries drain quickly in the cold.)
– Shoot short clips. You are less likely to have loose footage if you are shooting shorter clips of about five- to ten-minutes.