Oh Alaska, you frigid friend you. Most people despise winter because they can’t bear the cold and get out and play. Not me. With the right winter gear, Alaska’s backcountry is my playground and I’m never too chilly for a playdate.
Skoop Original Insulated Skirt
Life without my down (synthetic!) skirt during the winters here would be unimaginable. I have three Skoop Skirts, a mini, a knee-length, and a floor-length. I also have a different pink mini, too.
Throw the mini on with leggings and boots and prance your little fashioned bum all over town…or just to the grocery store. The ankle length I actually use for backcountry skiing when it’s super cold out and the floor length one is just for milling about. It’s the one I use the most as I wear it everyday back and forth to work over my scrub bottoms (they are terribly breezy) and out when I walk Bob.
I bought mine at REI , but they are also available or on the Skoop website. A friend told me the company was started by a doctor’s Scandinavian wife, here in Anchorage.
VEGAN! – Some skirts are made with goose feathers (down), so be sure yours is made with synthetic (sometimes they just call it “insulation” as opposed to “down”, or Primaloft is a common synthetic.)
Bogs Classic High Snow Boots
Are Bogs as big in other wintery states as they are in Alaska? They are huge! I only just recently jumped on the bandwagon and I am loving every warm-footed second of wearing them! The classic ones are rated to -40 F, but they make garden clogs and rainboots as well. I ordered mine a little big so I could wear huge fluffy socks with them.
I bought my pair from Shoebuy, but they are available on Amazon and their website as well. I really wanted a vegetable patterned one (how appropriate, huh?), but they were last years and didn’t have my size! As a note, try ordering one size up, as they tend to run small. I really like that they accommodate my orthotics too!
VEGAN! – I emailed the company and they assured me all their non-leather Bogs are 100% vegan! Even the glue!
Mega Insulated Coat
So, I have a giant, completely ridiculous red poofy coat. Todd tells me it makes me look like a “gansta”. Admittedly, I do not care one smidge what I look like because it is the warmest damn thing on earth. I got it from Sierra Trading post four years ago. It was orginally almost $400 and I ended up paying less than $90 for it, with some coupons and seasonal sales. I adore it, however, it’s made with down. Sad face. And down…I can no longer do.
When the time comes to get a new coat, I’ve discovered that there aren’t a whole lot of options for me. I’d like to first disclaim that my coat requirements are not average. I need a coat that will keep me warm in -30 F when winter camping or just generally not moving. There’s a big difference in a coat that will keep you warm at freezing temperatures when you’re active and when you’re not.
I usually turn to belay jackets to fill this requirement. They are huge parkas that are super warm. Imagine you’re belaying your ice-climbing buddy for an hour. That coat needs to be warm…and huge. Unfortunately, most of these jackets are made of down. Why? Because down offers more warmth per weight than synthetic. However, it won’t keep you warm if it gets wet, unlike synthetic.
If I had to get a new coat tomorrow, there are two I would choose from.
Black Diamond Stanley Belay Jacket
Yes, this is a men’s jacket. Women’s belay jackets can be hard to come by and when you do find them they just aren’t up to snuff when compared to men’s. They’ll be lacking abrasion pads that their male counterparts have (like women don’t need abrasion pads!) or usually they just aren’t as lofty. What’s up with that? So, yep…I would get a men’s XS jacket. Now, there are some cons to this, most notably being the shape. You’ll want enough air space in the jacket, but not too much. However, with adequate layering, I’d take a chance on it.
You can find this jacket on their website.
GO VEGAN – Synthetic insulation is made without goose feathers!
If you absolutely must have a ladies jacket, I’d go with this one, below. You can find it on the Big Agnes website here.
Big Agnes Hot Sulphur Belay Jacket
So there you have it. Some vegan-friendly winter basics for your legs, torso, and feet. Stay tuned in the future for more winter gear tips! And be sure to let me know if you have any suggestions, tips, or questions!
Stay warm my friends!