As the past week or so has shown us, we here in Minnesota have plenty of winter to go. With many of us avoiding indoor gatherings, getting outside offers a much needed escape from the winter blahs - but many outdoor winter activities require special gear. Here are a few tips for how to take advantage of the snow and crisp winter air, without buying a bunch of new items. An important way to reduce our environmental footprint (and save money!) is by not buying new, as the manufacturing of winter clothing and gear requires a lot of energy and resources.
Are you experienced in gearing up for winter outdoor activities? Add a comment below if you have tips or suggestions that we've left out!
Start with Layering Up
A successful winter outdoor experience begins with layering up properly. We’re well into a year where outdoor socializing is the least risky way to get together so there’s plenty of information out there on how to layer up properly. Here’s a collection of tips for how to retaining heat while socializing outside in the cold: How to Retain Your Heat (and Stay Up-Beat) with Friends Outside this Winter
Buy Nothing Groups
Check out your local Buy Nothing Group. Focusing on a hyper-local gift economy, these groups are a way to see if anyone in your area has winter gear that they would like to offer up for free. You can find out more about your local buy nothing group at buynothingproject.org.
Just as we can rent canoes in the summer, winter offers many rental options too!
Hennepin County’s Choose to Reuse program has a great list of rental options.
Some additional rental options include Sawtooth Outfitters out of Tofte, MN (they also offer used gear ), and Piragis out of Ely, MN.
Between in-person thrift shops and online marketplaces, there are a number of places to check to purchase your winter gear second hand.
A quick google search offers up a number of accessible options for local outdoor gear resale shops. Given that stores may have altered hours or shopping restrictions, it might be a good idea to call ahead.
A short (not exhaustive) list of places to check for used gear:
Borrow from Friends or Family
Maybe you have an Uncle who used to be really into snowmobiling, or a friendly neighbor who stockpiles ice fishing gear. Ask them if you can borrow their gear!! Here’s a helpful explanation of borrowing etiquette, to keep those relationships healthy while borrowing potentially expensive gear: Gearing Up: How to Beg, Borrow and Rent Gear Before You Commit to Buying
Stay warm, and have fun!