Winter is a magical time of year. For many of us, it conjures up images of cozy fireplaces, hot cocoa, Christmas lights, and snuggling under blankets. We look forward to enjoying holiday meals, family visits, and our favorite indoor activities, all in the comfort and warmth of our home.
For others, winter is a time for adventure in the great outdoors. No matter how strange it may seem to our loved ones who prefer staying inside, we relish the feeling of the cold on our skin, of venturing out into the snow and ice, and of putting something on our feet that will allow us to either climb to great heights or hurtle downhill at high speeds. Whatever your preferred outdoor activity—skiing, snowboarding, running, hiking, cycling, ice skating, snowshoeing, or anything else that gets your heart pumping—winter is the perfect time to get out and enjoy the cold.
It’s important to remember, though, that with extreme cold comes drawbacks and risks. Not only can snow and ice lead to more slips, falls, and accidents than in the warmer months, the air in winter is drier than at other times of the year, and temperatures can drop to dangerous lows. Understanding the potential hazards of cold weather and learning to avoid them is crucial to having fun and staying safe during wintertime.
One way to combat problems caused by the cold is to find clothing and equipment that will keep us warm and dry – and that we actually like to wear. When it’s time to choose clothing for our outdoor adventures, some factors to consider are:
For most of us, when we’re bundling up in our layers, it’s easy to remember coats, hats, gloves, scarves, and footwear, but protection for our faces is often overlooked, oftentimes because they are uncomfortable or ill-fitting. Good face covers for cold weather such as masks, gaiters, balaclavas, and neck warmers are essential to protect us from the neck up and are especially important for people who do outdoor activities. When we exercise in winter conditions, the cold and dryness can irritate our throat and lungs, causing us to cough, wheeze, and have difficulty breathing. In fact, exercising in cold weather without covering our face can harm our airways and even lead to exercise-induced bronchospasm, a condition that occurs when we breathe in air that’s drier than the air in our bodies.
While not covering our face in the cold can be dangerous, choosing the wrong face cover can also lead to safety issues. The shape, fabric, flexibility, and comfort of masks vary greatly, and finding the one that’s right for you may be the difference between staying dry and warm while doing your favorite outdoor activity or having to cut your outing short and go home to drink that cup of cocoa a few hours early.
When searching for a good wintertime face cover, some features we should look for are:
These features are important for serious sports people who want to be on the mountain or trail every day, because no one wants to go out to enjoy their favorite winter sport only to be stopped by a freezing, wet, and mushy neck gaiter or balaclava. At NAROO, we’ve designed each of our products with this in mind. They’re made from moisture-wicking fabrics, which not only keep us dry but prevent our airways from getting cold and help us control our breathing.
Face coverings made of moisture-wicking fabrics such as polyester, nylon, and polypropylene are the best choice for any physical activity, especially in winter, because they absorb our sweat and the condensation from our humid breath and move it through to the top layer of the fabric for quick evaporation. Cotton, while popular for everyday clothing, is not ideal because it absorbs and retains the moisture, keeping it close to our faces and causing us to get colder: a potentially dangerous situation when we’re already in freezing temperatures.
Another important feature of NAROO products is that they’re flexible, which means we can adjust the face covering to fit our own unique face shape. This can help us avoid potential safety issues like foggy goggles. Losing visibility because of our own breath while moving down a mountain at high speeds can be dangerous and terrifying, so this feature is vital during our cold-weather activities. This flexibility also allows us to adjust the face cover to fit comfortably with goggles, glasses, hats, and helmets.
Yet another must for winter neck gaiters and balaclavas is that they’re washable, because even though the moisture on them evaporates, they can still get gross and stinky from our sweat. Wearing clean face covers can prevent bad smells and eliminate bacteria that causes skin inflammation. NAROO’s products are not only washable but durable, staying comfortable and breathable even after a hundred washes.
Remember, protecting our faces and airways is crucial when exercising in cold weather, and NAROO is here to help with that. No matter what activity you’re doing, make sure you wear a great winter mask, neck gaiter, tubular, or balaclava so you can have fun, stay safe, and reach your goals. Take a look at our products, specially developed to keep you dry and happy this winter.
Written by Kaleigh M.
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