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Old 09-01-2009, 02:17 PM
 
Location: part way up Mt. Magnificent
153 posts, read 430,045 times
Reputation: 69

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Using our search function for 'winter clothing' netted me some pretty good starting points, but didn't really answer my questions.

For instance, //www.city-data.com/forum/ancho...hool-time.html was spot-on because I'm looking for inexpensive and durable winter clothes for a 10 y.o. boy. While I already knew WHAT items my spawn would need, I didn't know where to get used stuff (I'm not gonna blow $$$$ on stuff for a sprouting kid if I can help it!) besides a Salvation Army. Value Village was suggested. Cool- I'll head there.

The search also netted me this gem- //www.city-data.com/forum/alask...deal-cold.html - entertaining but without what I'm really looking for because it lacked certain details.

Certain stores were suggested in this thread //www.city-data.com/forum/alask...fairbanks.html , and that was helpful too- knowing _where_ to look is 1/2 the issue because I don't know if Walmart or Target carry the quality (not necessarily name-brand, get me?) that we need. Ray's tip about the synthetic windproof materials was spot-on, but is that for inner or outer layers? Floyd's post further down was AWESOME and so close to what I'm looking for - I was told that Sorels were badass and the way to go... I guess not- but what's the alternative? (and what's a shoe pack?) ... and then... it petered out.

THIS one was great because of mal's post- //www.city-data.com/forum/alask...a-florida.html - it gave some of the details I'm looking for: a temp rating (-20F), a brand to look for (thinsulate), mittens over gloves (see there's a good tip I didn't think of) ... but then the post petered out.


What I'm seeing in most of these posts is where, when n00bs ask 'What should I get?' the answer is "GOOD boots, GOOD ___x___, THICK ____..."
Those aren't very specific.

What MAKES a 'good' boot? What should I be looking for in an everyday boot for a kid (for me too, for that matter!) that will be outside every chance he can get, that walks a mile or so to & from the bus stop every day? What foot-accessories should I stay away from, that are gimmicky or otherwise unuseful?

I see in pictures from Barrow and such extra-cold places that the folks are all wearing pull-over hooded parka-things. What are those? What all do you wear under them? Are they better than a winter coat? Which winter coats would be suggested? ie: I have a Columbia with a liner, not very heavy, that I've worn at -10 to -20F in Northern WI and N.Dakota and I was cooking. Is that going to cut it here if we're out hiking and playing in the snow?

As for activities, this winter it probably won't be much more adventurous than hockey, iceskating, snowboarding, sledding, snowmachining, 4wheeling or long walks (I hesitate to call it hiking) until we get a feel for the activities we'd be interested in finding out more about.

Some folks have suggested talking to the sale clerks at some stores.. but how do I know that that person really does know his/her stuff and to trust their suggestions?






Shan


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Old 09-01-2009, 09:31 PM
 
3,763 posts, read 8,178,678 times
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I'm an Anchorage teacher who over the years has seen all the multiple jackets, hats, coats, gloves, including expensive REI single gloves piled in the school's lost & found box. Tons of lost clothes all winter long. That and the fact that kids are growing recommends places like Value Village.

Winter clothes for school recess can be different than when your kid is out for hours & hours on the weekends. At school regular socks inside felt-lined boots (sorel-types are OK)work fine. But for extended outdoor activities wool socks or insulated socks are the ticket.

A lot of the 4th/ 5th/6th graders start caring more about looking "cool" than being warm & consequently are freezing out at recess. Hoodies (hooded sweatshirts) layered under a Columbia 3-in-1 jacket works well for recess. That look seems to be popular with the 10 year old boys. Add a cheap knit hat, cheap because they lose them like crazy and a pair of gloves or mittens. You should be able to find snow pants at Value Village for your kid. Have him mark his name in them for school. Let your 10 year old help pick things out so he will actually wear them. That's the big deal with that older elementary age group- they often hate to wear hats/gloves/snow pants.

For extended outdoor activities, it depends on what you all are doing. If you are involved in aerobic activities like skating, cross-country skiing, hiking, etc. dressing in layers that can be added & shed as needed is the way to go.

Your northern wisconsin columbia jacket in which you were cooking at -10 to -20 may keep you very warm here in Anchorage also.

My suggestion is that you try all your layers from Wisconsin/N. Dakota first before you run out & buy. You should be able to get by with layering. A wool sweater, wool hunting shirt & an insulated jacket can do very well here in Anchorage for the most part.
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Old 09-01-2009, 09:54 PM
 
Location: Kunsan AB, Republic of Korea
1 posts, read 10,696 times
Reputation: 10
Shan,

How are you now that you are in AK? I hope everything is going good. I can't wait until April to get up there!

As far as winter clothing, if you want real technical data I would go to Sportsman's Warehouse or that place called 6th Ave Outfitters. I wish Anchorage had a Bass Pro Shop or Cabela's but I'm sure the previous stores I've mentioned before, would be able to help. It may be pricey but I've had an arctic hoody jacket for years from Cabela's and it's still lasting til this day. Worth the money. Hope that somewhat helps?

You have to tell me about Anchorage! So I hope to hear from you soon.

Mike
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Old 09-01-2009, 10:01 PM
 
Location: Anchorage
376 posts, read 769,046 times
Reputation: 68
Bongo, I was very interested in what you said. I live in Colorado right now and I know it is important to layer. I may not be outside all the time, but when you go into different buildings, some of them are too warm where others seem to be cold. It varies, so I find I might be putting a jacket on in one place and shedding it the next! Good information though, no matter what!!!

TS
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Old 09-02-2009, 02:01 AM
 
Location: part way up Mt. Magnificent
153 posts, read 430,045 times
Reputation: 69
Thanks bongo,

He's been choosing from the pool of items I show him, he's not very fashion conscious yet, thank goodness. I do want to get as much as we can second-hand, for just the reasons that you said. I have nothing against it in any manner!

I just wanted to know what I'm looking for- I don't understand what gram-weight insulation measurements mean, nevermind how to tell them just from picking a garment up. If I'm looking at a set of boots, how do I know that they're going to hold up to the cold & use?

What makes a 3-in-1 jacket? When I look at them, it's an inner liner and the outer shell that usually zip together.. where's the 3rd part? (that's what I have, BTW, a columbia 3-in-1)

I wanted to know what materials were best besides polypro.

The main concerns I had were for boots and outer layers, because I know that sometimes stuff that's 'rated for -40F' may hold up to that for a week or two, and then start to crack or chip. I've been looking for customer opinions on gear, but what I find is usually from people that don't really USE it... or the other end of that line with mountain climbers and such that get the extra-high-end stuff.

I'm pretty savvy with the layering, I've got that down.

It's the materials, mostly.

That and I don't want to send my kid to school looking like the sta-puft man when everyone else is in undershirt-henley-heavy hoodie-jeans.

I read an article detailing how snow boots were different from winter boots, but it didn't give examples. *sigh* It just stated that snow boots are for heavy use and long-term outdoors, while winter boots are what you wear when y ou're just running around town, or going to school, or just doing household chores outside.


Hey puppet! We are LOVING it here! Waiting on our travel pay reimbursement so that we can get out and DO things (the fair! the state park fees! a chainsaw!) Can't tell you much about Anchorage except that it's fun to drive around in and that I need to stay away from New Sagaya.

I don't mind throwing down cash for something, I really don't- if it's going to be worth it. I follow the Way of the Frugal Zealot though, and throwing down $$$$$ for kids clothes is stupid when, as Bongo said- they lose 'em or grow out of 'em long before you get your money's worth.

Good, solid boots that will last the season... heck yes I'll pay for those if I don't find a gently used pair. Good coat? Oh heck yea, because if I get it a size bigger it may last more than one season. Wool socks? yep. Everything else is going to def. be yard-sale or second-hand shop.


So yea.. good, solid rugged winter boots in men's size 7-8 suggestions, anyone?




Shan
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Old 09-02-2009, 01:45 PM
 
Location: Alaska
5,356 posts, read 17,607,092 times
Reputation: 4060
Quote:
Originally Posted by browncoatflan View Post
What makes a 3-in-1 jacket? When I look at them, it's an inner liner and the outer shell that usually zip together.. where's the 3rd part? (that's what I have, BTW, a columbia 3-in-1)
3-in-1 usually refers that the liner can be worn as a coat by itself. That way you have the liner, the jacket without liner and the jacket with liner, making 3 coats. There are some liners that are not meant to be worn as a coat, so you have only 2 configurations for the jacket.
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Old 09-02-2009, 02:22 PM
 
Location: Alaska
5,356 posts, read 17,607,092 times
Reputation: 4060
Quote:
Originally Posted by browncoatflan View Post
I just wanted to know what I'm looking for- I don't understand what gram-weight insulation measurements mean, nevermind how to tell them just from picking a garment up. If I'm looking at a set of boots, how do I know that they're going to hold up to the cold & use?
3M Thinsulate™ Insulation - FAQs (US)

See question 8. I don't understand it beyond more weight means it's good for colder temps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by browncoatflan View Post
I wanted to know what materials were best besides polypro.
Polypro is good for your first layer, i.e., underwear, long johns, etc. It wicks moisture and dries quickly. It's not necessary if you're just running errands or inside most of the time. Other good materials for layers are polar fleece, down, wool and thinsulate to name a few.

Quote:
Originally Posted by browncoatflan View Post
I read an article detailing how snow boots were different from winter boots, but it didn't give examples. *sigh* It just stated that snow boots are for heavy use and long-term outdoors, while winter boots are what you wear when y ou're just running around town, or going to school, or just doing household chores outside.
Snow Boots v. Winter Boots - A Comparison

IMO, snow boots are a subset of winter boots. I usually wear my Sorels during the winter when snow/ice is on the ground. Other times I just wear my regular dress/running shoes or XtraTuf boots.

I think you're over thinking winter clothes. Just get what's been recommended and by the middle of winter you'll know if anything else is needed. Oh, I also recommend snow or ski pants. He won't likely wear them to school, but they're great for after school sledding and weekends outdoors.
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Old 09-02-2009, 04:53 PM
 
Location: Anchorage
4,061 posts, read 9,242,117 times
Reputation: 2344
I agree with akck. This is not the Himalaya or Antarctica, where you could die without the right gear. Wal-Mart (from what I have seen) does not have winter stuff good enough in the Fairbanks area but Anchorage temps are milder. Fred Meyer has good stuff, including Sorels, but for day to day winter use you could get away with wearing a pair of Sketchers outside, unless you spend a prolonged time out there.
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Old 09-02-2009, 07:52 PM
 
Location: part way up Mt. Magnificent
153 posts, read 430,045 times
Reputation: 69
I don't believe that I'm overthinking it at all-

I don't want to shell out 50-100$ on something that I find out sucks butt the first time that I slip and fall in a slushy puddle, or that after hours of playing in the snow my kid comes in with frostbitten fingers that were inside gloves & mittens because I just grabbed the first affordable pair. I've been there before, and I learned my lesson.

What makes it a bit harder is that I'm looking for second-hand stuff first, and sometimes second-hand items have worn-out tags or missing tags even though those items are still useful.. but how can I tell just from the materials? I'm really good at telling the difference between fashion fabrics.. but goretex and polypro and smartwool and thinsulate...?

As for whether we'll be fine with WalMart offerings just because we're in Anchorage.. I'm really sorry to point out that that's very improvident to say to anyone in the Alaska forums. Who's to say that we only go outside in this area? That we -ohmigosh- would never venture out to actually see more of this state? Based just on that opinion, we'd be in some kind of hurt if we took our mild/ok-for-Anchorage outerwear and dared to wear them in Fairbanks-where-those-aren't-good-enough. (I suppose they must be though.. I mean really- what did people do here before WalMart?!)

Perturbed, kind of grumpy tone aside.. we DO plan on making our clothes work. We like being outside in the winter. We like taking long hikes and other outdoorsy stuff. We plan to take every opportunity we can to take the MWR sightseeing trips to who-knows-where.

I'd be doing the same type of research if I were moving back to WI or ND.


Thank you akck- that's the same article I read about the boots, ha. I did know that about polypro clothing.. but isn't it stinky and hard to wash? Thanks for the thinsulate faq.. Google failed me on a search for a breakdown of the gram-thermal explanation... and I'm an idiot that didn't think to look on the 'Thinsulate' site because I thought it was something that pertained to all cold-weather materials. dur.


Shan
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Old 09-02-2009, 08:27 PM
 
Location: Anchorage
4,061 posts, read 9,242,117 times
Reputation: 2344
Check out the Army Navy store in downtown Anchorage and its counterpart Big Ray's in Fairbanks for some ideas, maybe try the Anchorage Craig's List. Wasn't suggesting Wal-Mart per se, just mentioning how much off the mark their offerings were in Fairbanks. I grew up in there before Wal-Mart came to town, and was surprised when I moved back that they sold winter gear more suited to warmer climates in their store.
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