By Shayla Reaves

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Cold temperatures are part of life in Minnesota, and embracing the cold requires the right gear. WCCO’s Shayla Reaves connected with Minnesotans to find out the best tips and tricks for staying warm outside on the coldest days.

“The two most important things in Minnesota winters are insulation and wind resistance,” Twin Cities Outdoors publisher and founder Sharon Brodin said. “[If you don’t factor in wind resistance] you’re definitely going to be in trouble. In our climate in zero degrees, getting into single digits below zero, even if there is no wind, just a breeze, you’re going to feel the below wind wind chill.”

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Brodin shared tips for cold weather gear, including the best materials for insulation. Her favorites include down.

“I love down. It’s super light. It’s super warm. It’s naturally wind resistant,” Brodin said.

She said downhill ski pants provide protection beyond the slopes.

“I don’t wear them for skiing. I wear them for winter walking, winter hiking,” Brodin said of her ski pants. “These are insulated. They have a cuff at the bottom. I’ll also wear them for snowshoeing and really extreme cold like below zero, 10 or 15 below zero, that kind of weather.”

If plans include sitting outside for a drink, Brodin offered suggestions for protection.

“For sitting outside, you definitely want warm snow boots…I would wear snow pants. I would wear a down jacket with a hood, probably these warm mittens and then probably this wool hat.”

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Tips for protecting the upper body include wearing a base layer, mid-layer and outer layer. Materials can impact your experience outside and how warm you feel. If cotton gets wet, it doesn’t stay warm and could take some time to dry.

“It doesn’t have the technical features,” Joe’s Clothing manager Jenner Rauscher said.

He suggested polyester or wool as alternatives, adding bulky doesn’t necessarily mean warmer.

“They will stay warm even if they’re wet,” Rauscher said. “You can always layer underneath with thinner product.”

Technology is also making it easier to manager comfort from your key fob or your phone. Options include heated socks or a heated shirt with a mobile app available for download. The heated socks can maintain warmth for four to 11 hours and the heated shirt for two to 10 hours.

Extra protection can help if you’re dining outside. In northeast Minneapolis, Centro offers gas pits for customers embracing the cold temperatures.

“They come here for the tacos and margaritas and stay for the fire pit,” Centro pastry chef and kitchen manager Ngia Xiong said. “For the die hard Minnesota fans who really enjoy the cold weather, this is perfect for them. “

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When it comes to gear, Brodin said she shops name brands because of their experience making gear for cold conditions. For those looking to save money, Brodin suggests looking for those brands on sale, clearance, at thrift stores, consignment stores and garage sales.

Shayla Reaves