Singapore is hot, summer all year round kind of hot. To experience a snowy winter, we have to travel and I think it’s safe to say that most of us get really excited when we see snow for the first time. No doubt, winter is beautiful. We don’t sweat, we get to dress up in clothes that we never get to wear back home in Singapore. However, winter is harsh, winter is dry. Exactly how should we pack and dress for winter so that we can sustain our excitement, without falling sick?
17 Dec 2017
As a general rule of thumb, when we pack and dress for winter, we usually only allow our eyes to be exposed. Lesser exposure, lesser heat loss! Read on to see what we mean.
1. Head & Neck
Cap and ear muffs
A woolen or knitted cap is great to keep our head and even ears warm. If your cap doesn’t cover for ears, remember to wear an earmuff.
HAN-dy tip: I usually get my knitted caps and ear muffs from Bangkok. They cost about SG$10 each or less and are often cute and keep my head warm.
The white snow reflects lots of sunlight and wearing a sunglass can protect our eyes from the glare of the sun, especially if you are doing winter activities.
I cannot stress enough how the neck warmer “saved” my life in the harsh winter of Lapland. Doubling as a face mask, a warm fleece neck warmer can be used to cover your neck upwards till below your eyes. No chilly wind blowing on your face means you can stay warm outdoors for longer periods of time.
Yup, even with a neck warmer, a scarf is a good addition. Not only does it prevent any possibility of the chilly wind from entering, it can also act as a fashion accessory.
Moisturizer and lip balm
Coming from a humid country like Singapore, the biggest problem when we travel to countries during winter is that our skin will dry up really easily. So, remember to apply lots of moisturizer and lip balm, before and after your day out! For my recent trip to Finland and Norway, I’ve used Kiehl’s Lip Balm and Innisfree Canola honey hand butter.
HAN-dy tip: Apply vaseline on your hands first followed by your hand cream to ensure that moisture gets locked in!
2. Upper Body
The best way to dress for winter is to do layering so that you are warm enough outdoors and can easily remove the outermost layer when you move indoors.
– Thermal wear, preferably made of wool. However, I’ve tested out my (significantly more expensive) woolen and (cheaper) cotton thermal wears and it seems like the difference is not so significant if your second and third layer are good enough.
– Sweater, either knitted or woolen. When the temperature was -25°C, a thick knitted sweated was warm enough for me.
– Down Jacket, ideally water and windproof. Investing in a good down jacket would ensure that you keep warm and dry throughout the trip.
Generally speaking, we usually focus a lot on our upper body and rarely will it feel cold when you layer up. Our poor hands on the other hand (pun intended ^^), are always the first to freeze. The unbearable cold starts from our fingers and causes the rest of our body to feel the cold too. Get a wind and waterproof gloves to keep yourself warm!
- Put on your gloves before putting on your down jacket. In this way, you can prevent any heat lost through your wrists.
- Also, use the small clip on each glove to keep them together and prevent the loss of one of the gloves after you have taken them off.
- Stuff a heat pack into each glove to keep those fingers warm!
- Buy gloves that has touchscreen capabilities. You don’t wanna expose those fingers in the cold winter! Usually, the gloves are most sensitive at the fingertips.
Vaseline, hand butter, and body lotion
Okay, vaseline is like a must for people with very dry fingers during winter like me. My poor fingers cracked really badly when I was in Finland, even though I had applied hand cream every time I went out. Apparently, you have to apply every time they are not in the gloves, or even better, use vaseline with hand butter. I had to learn it the hard way. So remember to spread vaseline and hand butter on your hands like you would spread Nutella to your bread! Do the same with body lotion on your body!
3. Lower Body
As per our upper body, to dress for winter, usually layer your legs with thermal wear and wind + waterproof pants, lined with fleece. Since there isn’t any jacket for legs, sometimes I wear another fleece leggings as my second layer. A pair of windproof pants really makes a positive difference, compared to normal jeans lined with fleece.
During winter, getting “cold feet” (hehe) is another common problem. Remember to wear woolen or fleece socks! If it’s not warm enough still, wear two pairs of socks (or more)!
HAN-dy tip: Stick heat pack underneath your socks to keep your toes warm! Don’t stick the heat packs directly on your feet or else you might get burnt!
Get those wind and waterproof high cut boots with inner fleece lining! It’s always wet and or slippery during winter times so getting waterproof shoes will keep them clean! Also, make sure that your shoe has a good grip ’cause road surfaces are often covered with a layer of ice and are extremely slippery. If you are hiking, get those ice cleats to prevent slipping and falling.
- Since we only get to wear our winter boots once or twice a year, we got our winter boots for less than SG$10 for Taobao and they served us extremely well! So you don’t have splurge on winter boots if you won’t be using it that frequently.
- Always get 2 sizes bigger than your normal shoe size to ensure room for your woolen or two pairs of socks. Having a layer of air trapped in your shoes will also reduce heat loss, keeping your toes warm!
So externally, we are all warmly dressed for winter and ready to go. However, keeping warm internally is as important! Having a thermal flask filled with a hot beverage and taking sips throughout the day will help keep your body warm too. Besides, isn’t it a great reason to drink hot chocolate every day? ^^
Just like packing for any trip, remember to pack your medications! Besides the basic medicines, I really swear by Tan Ngan Lo Medicated Tea as whenever I don’t drink enough water, I get heaty really easily and end up falling sick. Other things that you might wanna pack would be motion sickness pills and medicine for high altitude sickness, depending on your destination.
The above are the things we pack and dress for winter, with a disclaimer that we come from a country with an average temperature of 30°C and humidity of insanity.
Let us know in the comments how you pack and dress for winter!