Vast mountain landscapes.
Epic walls of rock.
Serene trails. These are a few of our favorite things. But unfortunately, for most of us, these things are not our everyday routine. Many of us do not get to experience those beautiful outdoor scenes as frequently as we experience our bus commutes into downtown, shoveling snow off our driveways, standing outside for hours at a time at our children's sporting events, working out in the yard, walking to a local cafe, or taking our dogs outside to leave behind some yellow snow. Even though our everyday routines are less adventurous than ski resort weekends and grueling alpine excursions, we can still ensure that we are prepared to beat the elements while doing them. We can all agree that there is a huge difference between showing up to work soaked, cold, and miserable and showing up to work warm and dry, after a 1-mile bike commute.
Below are 5 simple suggestions to help make your everyday explorations a bit better.
1) "Upgrade" your cotton outerwear.
Cotton is one of the most versatile materials out there, and there's a good chance that the majority of your closet contains garments made of cotton. The bummer about cotton is that it usually has the same level of water-repellency as a sponge. It's decent as a layer, but when it comes to protection from precipitation, untreated cotton will absorb it, adding weight to the garment, blocking breathability, and passing that moisture through to your lower layers or skin, creating the "chilling" affect.
Suggestion: Add water-repellency to your cotton outerwear with Nikwax Cotton Proof.
Your sweatshirts, denim jeans & jackets, canvas jackets & pants, and corduroy garments can all have water-repelling functionality added to them. Now, don't make the mistake of thinking your cotton will magically turn into GORE-Tex or some elite, impermeable membrane; hopefully, you have some technical outerwear that does the heavy lifting. The idea here is to upgrade your everyday clothing to help you avoid those uncomfortable moments of suffering through damp outerwear. And don't forget to avoid standard detergent once you've "converted" one of your cotton garments, otherwise, you're back to where you started.
2) WASH. YOUR. DOWN.
We wrote this one in all caps, because we want to continue to help set the record straight... down-filled jackets and puffy vests perform best and last longest when they are cared for and clean. There are many myths out there about "never washing your down." They are partially correct, but not quite the whole picture...
Suggestion: Keep your down jackets & vests clean and in top shape with Nikwax Down Wash Direct.
Washing your down-filled garments in standard detergent, or ignoring the garment care label is truly a recipe for frustration and agony. It leaves behind water-attracting and dirt-attracting residue and ruins the insulation properties of the down, over time. A gentle cleaner or down cleaner, like Down Wash Direct, will clean the down feathers and increase loft, keeping you warmer...for longer.
So maybe it could be written: "Never wash your down... in standard detergent."
3) Winterize your footwear.
Winter brings all sorts of wet, unpredictable weather. Your footwear can sometimes be the first thing to alert you to just how wet it truly is out there. The moment you accidentally step in a puddle and feel your sock get damp, you realize that maybe you should have taken a few minutes of preparation.
You don't have to always sacrifice style for functionality. If you waterproof them ahead of time, you can wear your smooth leather boots and shoes and not have to worry about them soaking up water and losing the integrity of the leather. The same thing goes for your mixed fabric boots and footwear. Waterproof those puppies! Knee-high rain boots don't have to be your only option for staying dry.
4) Show your rain jacket some love.
A good rain jacket goes a long way. Keeping it handy and easily accessible can be the difference between a dry outing and a soaked one. Today's rain jacket technology is astounding, but in order to keep performing at a high level, most jackets need to be cared for, intentionally.
If you start to notice that your rain jacket is no longer repelling water, it is probably time to clean it, and possibly even re-waterproof it. Your walks in the rain down to the post office or the brewery don't have to be a miserable experience... simply show that rain jacket a little love.
5) Make the most of your fleece garments.
Fleece pullovers are one of the staples of many 'a winter wardrobe.' They keep us cozy and we swoon at their softness. They make for great warming layers, but they have the capability for more.
What's better than a warm, breathable piece of outerwear that will bead up water? Not much! Now you have a comfortable and effective option for those pesky, grey, sprinkling days, when a rain jacket seems like overkill but a sweatshirt would leave you damp and too cold.
All in all, you don't have to go through your everyday routines, tasks, and endeavors with underperforming apparel and footwear. Take a few minutes every now and then to give your daily-drivers some love. They will love you back!