The Winter is coming soon (in ~3 months) here in North Dakota and I'd like to be better prepared than last winter. I have hit a weird personal threshold [mere 5 degrees] that I cannot seem to comprehend: I can walk outside comfortably even at -42°F (-41 C) blizzard but when it was -47°F (-44 C), it was brutal and my hands were getting frostnip just after 20 minutes, despite having thick, heavy, large mittens.
I was wading through almost knee-deep snow, which at -25°F (-32 C) means I would be unzipping layers, as it's simply too hot. But not at -47°F (-44 C). Now, the air itself was quite warm - around -35 (-37 C), which without wind is [obviously] perfectly fine and comfortable.

But the snow particles were like thousand needles biting into my face (I only had a regular hat with ear flaps that can be closed via clips, no facemask or anything). Even my Siberian Husky seems to have hit her limit - every single blizzard (including the -42°F (-41 C) a week ago), she waltzes happily against the wind. This time, after 5 tries, she turned her back and just let the wind push her.It was too much for a Husky.

There is a possibility that the interpolated data at the weather app were incorrect, as I talked next week to a friend who lived 30 miles NW and they got around -65°F (-54 C) windchill.

Given the fact that we have sometimes 3 storms in a week and I need to walk my Husky 4-5 times a day, I cannot avoid the exposure and simply must go out even when infrastructure everywhere around shuts down for a week.

Example - there was one week last winter, where every single time I went out (4-5x a day), there was a storm (I managed to sleep through the quiet times and "save" my walks for blizzards/storms).

So, what can I do to make the half-hour trip outside less miserable and more safe? Also, I'm pretty sure I am not equipped for -65°F (-54 C)...

  • Frostbite, if I understand it properly is not all about generating internal body heat, but rather avoiding exposed skin to the elements. Of course body heat may play a part in it also.
    – Ken Graham
    Jun 29, 2020 at 10:44
  • @Ken: Well, the only exposed skin is your face (the front). As I learnt last winter, beard surprisingly provides significant shield, so I've been growing it last ~8 months, which will certainly help, in coming months. My noggin is kinda large (adequate with 6'3" height), and of all 3 face masks that I bought last winter, I could barely put my head into one, and it was like a vice. So, no face mask for me, maybe in some specialty shop, for $200...
    – 3D Coder
    Jun 29, 2020 at 11:54
  • @Ken: Body heat is important - from experience. If I increase my walking speed, I can remove a clothing layer. Hell, if I walk fast, I can walk without gloves (up to certain temp) even at -20, for half an hour (if there is no windchill). But, this particular blizzard, at -47 'F, even wading through snow didn't warm me up enough. Maybe as an additional exercise I should put my Husky onto a sled and haul her :) ?
    – 3D Coder
    Jun 29, 2020 at 11:57
  • I don't understand what the point is when even the husky cannot tolerate lower than -42°F. Do you mean the temperature drops after the walk has begun? Jun 29, 2020 at 12:51
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    @QuantumBrick : "Supposed cold resistance" :) ? I'll have you know that I grew up in a climate that routinely had below -30 windchill, yet till I started attending university, I only had daily access to an outside outhouse. When a -30 draft enters you from below, you DO build up cold resistance whether you want or not. The most you can wear there is a thick sweater,no gloves obviously and no scarf either(makes the process very hard). Frostnip was a part of daily life and we learnt very early (pre-school age) how brutally painful defrosting in a bucket of water is, so made sure to avoid it :)
    – 3D Coder
    Jun 30, 2020 at 4:06


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