A 70-degree week in the middle of October in Erie, PA? If you’ve lived in Erie for some time, or know anything about this city, then this random heat wave shouldn’t be a surprise. I think we can agree that the warm weather was rejuvenating. From sitting on AJs Way to long walks without having to wear layers, it felt like summer all over again! But like the saying goes: all good things must come to an end. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but winter is coming and… it’s here!
Whether this is your first winter in Erie, or it’s your twentieth, I don’t think you can ever be fully-prepared for the cold, wet and sloppiest months of the year. However, there are some steps you can take to ensure that you are ready to face the brutal Erie winter that’s upon us!
When thinking of clothing for winter, I am guessing you think of three to four items: coat, gloves, hat, and boots. These four items are key for staying nice and warm this winter.
There are a few different types of winter coats that are suitable for winter on the lake. Personally, my favorite type of coat is the parka. The one I currently have is from L.L.Bean, and it keeps me nice and cozy during my walk to class. Another option is a puffer jacket, which is quite trendy right now. While the parka is longer, puffer jackets tend to be shorter and don’t cover the lower portion of the body. Some may argue that puffer jackets are more fashionable than a parka, but if you have a long walk to class and it’s frigid out, you may want to consider a longer jacket. That way, you can make sure your lower half also stays warm. Ski jackets, heated jackets and insulated jackets are all good options, too. When finding your perfect jacket, it’s important to consider the distance and lengths of time you may be outside in the cold, how your body responds to the cold and which one makes you feel the most comfortable.
As silly as it sounds, I think my gloves are my favorite part of winter. Recently, I discovered mittens, and in my opinion, they are the best thing to ever exist. The mittens I have are from North Face, and they are both fleece-lined and knit. No matter how cold it gets, my hands are always warm. Some people don’t like mittens because they don’t appreciate their fingers being confined in one space, and they prefer gloves. There are a lot of great insulated gloves out there that also keep your hands nice and warm. Since we are in the 21st century, it may be a good idea to purchase gloves that are tech-friendly and allow you to use your phone with them on (a downfall of mittens)!
The wind chill in Erie can get very low sometimes, and gloves aren’t always able to keep your hands warm. Having some disposable (or reusable) hand warmers on hand may be a good idea. They are fairly inexpensive and work effectively. They can also be used on your feet for when they get cold!
In my opinion, hats are one of the worst winter accessories. They mess up your hair, can make you look silly and can make you sweat very quickly. However, hats can be essential in the Erie winter, especially with the frigid temperatures. Some popular brands of winter hats are Carhartt, LoveYourMelon, North Face, and Columbia. An alternative to hats are knit headbands. I personally prefer these over hats because they don’t cover your whole head, just your ears/forehead. Earmuffs are also another winter hat alternative, and they minimally mess-up hair. Whatever your preference is, I highly suggest having something cover your head during these winter months to protect yourself from the cold!
Boots are essential! Between the unshoveled sidewalks and the slush on the roads, boots may be the most important item for winter. The winters in Erie can be messy, so you want to make sure you have the proper footwear to ensure your feet stay warm and dry. Just like coats, hats, and gloves, there are many styles of boots to meet your needs. A popular type of boot for women are Uggs (although if you wear Uggs in the snow, make sure you waterproof them beforehand). Though Uggs can be expensive, the fuzzy insides ensure warm feet. Some other good brands for snow boots are L.L.Bean, Columbia, North Face, and Timberland. These brands of boots are specifically designed for colder temperatures and the wet ground, whereas Ugg boots are a more fashionable boot. To be honest, I don’t actually own any winter boots. I wear my Hunter rain boots in the winter months, and while my feet don’t get wet in the boots, they don’t do the best job at keeping my feet warm. If you are on the hunt for a good pair of winter boots, make sure they are:
- At least shin height
- Have good traction
Winter gear can be expensive, but it is a necessity. If you don’t have a coat, hat, gloves or boots because of the price, there are alternative solutions to that problem!
- Thrift Stores, such as Goodwill and Salvation Army are likely to have these items for a lower cost. Though they are second hand, they will still do the job of keeping you safe and warm this winter.
- The Erie Free Store is a nonprofit that provides items to people in need. You are able to take what you need, however there are some rules that need to be followed in order to make your visit successful! It is open on Mondays from 4:30pm until 7:00pm and it is located at 2816 Elmwood Ave., Erie PA 16508.
It’s always good to be prepared because you never know what Mother Nature might throw at Erie! While you don’t want to go too crazy and clear the store shelves, it’s important to have some necessities on hand in case of an emergency… or a snowpocalypse.
Winter storms in Erie aren’t too common, but they do happen, so it may be smart to have some different foods stockpiled. Non-perishable items are probably the best route in this case, but some perishable items are able to be preserved through canning or freezing. Not only are these items convenient for when there is a snow storm and you aren’t able to leave your house/apartment/dorm, but they also come handy for the cold, snowy nights when all you want to do is lay under a pile of blankets! Some of my favorite go-to emergency snowpocalypse foods are:
- Cans of soup
- Rice and beans
- Mac and cheese/pasta
- Chicken nuggets (specifically dino nuggets)
Additionally, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to keep an extra case of water on hand. If pipes become frozen or the water needs to be shut off for some reason, you will be able to brush your teeth, wash your hands, cook, and most importantly, stay hydrated!
If you find yourself in need of some extra assistance aquiring food, do not worry! You are not alone, and Gannon is here to help. Store U-Knighted is a confidential resource on campus for students who may run into a food emergency. They provide free groceries, such as canned fruits, vegetables, snacks, pasta, and even some toiletries. If you ever find yourself in need, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for support!
Besides food, there are some other key items that are important when it comes to prepping for the colder months.
- In case of a power outage, you want to make sure you have a flashlight and batteries.
- Extra hygiene items might be smart to have in case you are unable to make it to the store.
- Blankets and sweatshirts in the chance of a power outage and/or a loss of heat.
- A charged power bank for your phone could be vital in case of an emergency when there is no power to charge your phone.
- Extras/backups of any medical equipment you need that requires an electrical source.
Though the likelihood of a snowpocalypse is low, a winter storm or poor road conditions aren’t. It’s never a bad thing to have extras of items that you feel are important in times of need. Like all wise people say, you can never be too prepared!
It’s hard to believe that snow is already in the air, especially after the 70 degree week we just had. As we enter some of the most dreaded months of the year (for some), I encourage you to protect yourself from the cold and prepare for what Mother Nature has up her sleeve.
Stay warm, Knights!