Surviving the Chill: Cold Gear Survival Guide

As I sit in my cozy dorm room writing this particular post, I am enjoying the view from the window, as the sunshine from the early morning sun glistens on the snowbanks and snow-covered rooftops around campus. From the comforts of this heated environment, the view is quite picturesque.

It is only when I venture outside that I realize just how freakin’ cold it really is. Currently a balmy -5 degrees Fahrenheit, it only feels like a breezy -21 degrees. That’s not too bad considering windchill estimates are ranging upwards of -30 degrees the rest of the day.

All in all, it’s a perfect Sunday to stay indoors. Numbers aside, living in Decorah in January is actually quite wonderful. You just have to be prepared for those extra cold and blustery days. So when you’re packing for college in the sweaty summer month of August and you are dripping with so much sweat that you can’t even remember what it feels like to be cold, you’ll have this basic cold gear survival guide to help you out.

Hat and Gloves

I know these might seem obvious, but they are a must. Luther might not be the biggest campus to walk around (it only takes about 5-10 minutes to get anywhere on campus), but when the mercury is below zero that 5 minute walk seems extremely long.


Whether it is a pair of Uggs (or the knock-offs I wear), hiking boots, or the heavy-duty snowshoe-type, having a pair of boots will keep the warmth inside and the snow outside.

Wool Socks

In addition to the boots, having a couple nice pairs of wool socks really helps to keep the tootsies cozy. I also love to go to the Hatchery in downtown Decorah and get a new pair once in awhile.


Even when it’s a mild 10 degrees outside, if it is a windy day on campus, it’s going to be a cold one for sure. Having a scarf really helps keep your face from freezing off.


If you decide to ignore everything else on my list, please do NOT ignore this one. Last Christmas I had asked for my North Face parka and I can honestly say that it is a life saver! While most people are really good about keeping their upper bodies warm, their poor legs still suffer. Wearing a parka keeps the upper body and legs warm, and also doubles as a super comfy sleeping bag when you’re too lazy to take your coat off!

It is currently a balmy -5 degrees Fahrenheit, but with the windchill it only feels like a breezy -21.

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