News flash: winter is coming. For those fortunate few who live in Southern California, Florida, and the southwestern United States, this means 60 degree weather. Oh, the horror! For the rest of us it means snow shovels, sleet, salted roads and freezing temperatures. If you are slightly off-kilter like me you keep riding anyway.
I get X amount of money per month, I spend Y amount of money to pay bills, eat, and sadly drive to work. This uses some of my hard earned money to make that money. What all of that really means is that by the time Y is spent on all of those items there is no $ for me.
How do you stay warm with little to no budget?
You improvise, or in this case you layer. Start with a thin layer of clothing closest to your skin. This allows it to breathe and keeps you from sweating. I have some base layer compression pants and shorts that have been around for years. If you don’t have something like this a light t-shirt and boxers – even yoga tights will work.
The next step depends on what kind of jacket you own. Some folks are fortunate that their gear is waterproof, windproof and insulated. If that is you then life is already good, enjoy the ride. If it’s not, read on.
To add some additional warmth your next layer should be some sort of thermal material. Whether this is long johns, a sweatshirt, or high tech thermals it needs to be the layer to keep you warm.
Your final layer that can either be under or over your jacket is something to make it waterproof. If you happen to have a rain suit this is the easiest method. It’s already designed to be worn over your gear, is waterproof and will block the wind from getting into the other layers.
If you don’t have a rain suit the cheapest way to provide waterproofing and wind proofing to a jacket is with trash bags. Wear these under your jacket and over the other base layers; it provides excellent water protection. (Assuming you cover the exposed areas.) The bags also block the wind so when properly positioned greatly aid the thermal layers at keeping you warm.
This same system applies to your boots and gloves. One neat cheat for gloves is wearing rubber or latex gloves inside of them: instant waterproof gloves. Plastic bags from the grocery store are a cheap and easy boot liner.
In the not totally free, but awesome category are the $1.99 hand warmers. For that small sum you get two warmers that can fit into your gloves, boots, wherever you want.
Air-activated hand warmers generate heat through a process known as oxidation. Once you break the packaging seal, air makes its way into the pack through the holes in the bag. The air reacts with the iron in the hand warmer bag and forms iron oxide, otherwise known as rust.
The bag traps any moisture, keeping your hands dry, there is an ingredient called vermiculite that holds the heat in and keeps it close to the reaction. To disperse the heat throughout the pack material, carbon is often added. Salt is included for its catalyzing properties in producing instant heat. The remaining space in the bag is filled with cellulose along with charcoal or sawdust.
Lastly is one of my favorites and I almost forgot about it. The newspaper is a much maligned antiquated piece of bygone times. It is however an excellent insulator and can work as a makeshift waterproofing when layered under a jacket.
What other “free” or low cost methods to stay warm do you use?