When you have several days in the winter that can’t even make it above zero degrees, chances are you are going to wonder how you can even manage to survive the weather conditions.
It can be easy to think of a South Dakota winter just as any other winter in any location. As a matter of fact, that is the first common thought when not living here or being new to the area. The funny thing about South Dakota is winters can be downright brutal with the cold temperatures, but then add wind chill and some snow and at times it is miserable out and the correct apparel becomes a necessity.
“Buy and wear a good quality coat or jacket,” said SDSU Apparel merchandising Professor Nancy Lyons. “A longer style (closer to your knees) with a hood might be a good idea. Some thickness to the coat’s construction will add warmth. Examine fabrics and think about the exterior fabric, filling and lining. I love my down-filled coats in SD winters! One has a nylon exterior, one is polyester; both are durable.”
When walking across campus or just walking for a decent amount of time it is important to try to cover as much of the body as possible. The main key in dressing for South Dakota winters is layering. You can always remove layers if they end up unnecessary, but the importance of not having them if needed is huge.
“Mittens are warmer than gloves because your fingers that touch will keep each other warmer,” Lyons said. “Dress in layers; over the long underwear add a sweater or a hoodie–or both–under your jacket. Your legs can be layered, too: underwear, pants and then another type of pants (not jeans) should be added. You can always remove layers.”
The importance of winter gear in South Dakota can vary depending on you if you are just walking around or if you are going to be doing winter activities such as skiing or snowboarding. In those cases the most important factor would be to make sure to get a fabric that is at least somewhat waterproof for when you end up in the snow. When going specifically to look for gear for the various winter sports it is best to just ask a sales associate who is knowledgeable about those particular products.
Top five items necessary
for the cold:
1) Snow Boots- Even though UGG boots may be warm or look cute, real snow boots are a must here. You need a pair of workhouse boots for the traction on the bottom and also so that when the snow melts, all that moisture doesn’t drip into your boots and make you miserable.
2) Hat- The head is where you can lose the most heat and walking in the wind is extra miserable on the ears.
3) Gloves/mittens- They are seriously a must when you have to scrape windows or walk in the freezing temperatures.
4) A sweatshirt/soft-shell jacket – A zip- up jacket (especially one that protects you from the wind) is awesome when needing to be more bundled than wearing just a typical winter coat.
5) A heavy winter coat- In most cases a longer and waterproof coat will make the winter temperatures and precipitation much easier on you.