Title basically sums it up, but I’m from south FL (born and raised) and have seen snow twice in my life. I’m moving to MA for college and I have no clue how to deal with snow, how to dress, what to buy, etc. Does anyone have tips, links, resources, anything that could prep me for the next four years of winter?
LL Bean sells great waterproof boots suitable for winter & rainy weather. LL Bean catalogue also lists coats & jackets & other clothes appropriate for fall & winter in New England.
I moved from Texas to Maine just after grad school. I love snow! I bought a lot of stuff from LL Bean. Warm, water-resistant boots. MITTENS, not gloves (we can tell people are from the south if they wear gloves - they don’t keep your fingers warm). Hats and jackets. You can even go to a store like Target or TJ Maxx and find a lot of good stuff.
It won’t be cold when you first get to school, so you could wait until you get to MA to buy stuff. But you can look in Florida and see if you can find any good deals on winter gear. I’ve bought some of my warmest stuff in Austin on sale.
Remember to wear LAYERS. Even if it’s freezing outside, your classroom will be warm. My family used to buy me wool pullover sweaters, but I find they’re too warm if I’m going to be indoors during the day.
We tell transplants that the secret to living in cold climates is to find some outdoor sports to enjoy. Even if you don’t want to try skiing, you can get some snowshoes and tromp around. It’s magical to be outside in fresh snow. Have fun!
Tens of thousands of students and adults do this every year.
I agree with Maine that you could wait until you get to MA to shop… odds are the selection will be better and the prices lower and you don’t unwittingly buy stuff that makes you look like a goof of a middle-aged-lady-ready-for-snow Once the weather turns, you could go shopping with some of your new college friends who could advise you.
Keep in mind that many dorms are kept quite warm, so don’t automatically assume you’ll need tons of wool/down/flannel indoors.
Finally, it could be that gloom/lack of sun will be more difficult to deal with than temps/snow. (Snow can be fun, you might discover.) In that case, I recommend getting a “daylight lamp” to make your dorm room brighter.
I’m guessing you won’t be driving in snow, so the rest is all easy.
Start off ready for fall. Jeans, long sleeves, some fleece, lots of stuff to layer. An under layer of cotton- as in along sleeved T-- will keep you comfortable. You’ll want multiple pairs of sneakers, for that time the first pair gets soaked. (Snow melts.) And perhaps a pair of gloves, for the snowball fight that will probably be inevitable for that first snow.
When in doubt, a school hoodie is probably your secret weapon.
Thank you all, I will definitely be considering all of this before moving!
In the spring, there should be a lot of good winter stuff on sale online. My daughter goes to college in a cold part of the world. The most important items: a good quality coat (not a wool coat), ideally made of down. A good pair of winter boots. They should provide traction and be warm. My daughter wears Ahnu hiking boots in the winter, also Doc Martens, and Uggs if there is no snow or ice. For gloves, you want lined gloves. Thin leather gloves are not going to work. My D wears thick, lined Isotoner gloves. She doesn’t like mittens because it’s hard to do stuff with them on, but if you plan to go sledding, ice skiing, whatever, mittens are best. You need a thick, warm beanie hat. It could be knit, lined leather, or fleece, etc… You need sunglasses, which no doubt you will have, but the glare from snow makes it hard to see when it’s a sunny day.
As far as thermals, it’s up to you. If you feel the cold, bring them. If you plan to ski, sled, ice skate, or just be outdoors a lot in winter, bring them. That said, a lot of kids don’t bother. You will easily find that stuff in Mass before winter, but if you aren’t going to have access to easy shopping, you might as well take advantage of end of season discounts.
Really depends what part of MA you’ll be going to school, some parts get much less snow than others. Local kids (anyone who grows up around the northeast) often wear hoodies as a winter coat unless the temps dip below 30 or so or they’ll be outside for any length of time. If you won’t be skiing or doing other outside related activities, you’ll most likely be fine with a nice fleece or ultralight down (shop around, you don’t need to spend $200…LLBean and Lands End will have clearance any time now and that’s when I’d grab one, they pack easy and light). Again, depending on the area, you can most likely get away with some type of hiking boots. Mittens or gloves are a must.
I’m overall not a good person to take weather advice from because I run super hot and rarely wear anything thicker than a leather jacket, but one trick my mom taught me for cold and windy days is to wear tights under your jeans.
Unless you will be starting college in the winter term, you will have a good amount of time at your new school with warm and then cool fall weather. My California born-and-raised son went to college in a cold and snowy locale and initially he took clothes with him that were suitable for mild weather…ie, some pants and sweaters, along with summer wear.
Once he got to school, he sought out the advice of his new friends who were from colder areas and upper classmen. Remember that it’s not just temperature but things like how spread out your campus is, how hilly, how much wind, etc. My son used information and suggestions to order what he needed online. We also went winter clothes shopping when he came home for fall break at stores like REI and other sportswear places that carry clothes and footwear suitable for snow.
The main takeaway is don’t buy too much up front. Wait and see what people are wearing at your school and use their expertise to help you identify what you need.
Practical…be sure to have multiples of gloves or mittens for warmth and an alternative to wet clothing. Find coats with a neck that buttons up to the top and or has a high neck. Hats!!! It amazes be how people forget to wear hats and keep their ears covered. A neck scarf will be useful to cover your mouth and nose which makes breathing more comfortable. Double socks and line with grocery bags if needed. Yak traks or similar agedon Amazon!!! Yaks or because shoveled sidewalks can be slippery or you want to cut across a path. Car supplies include extra socks, gloves, hat scarf hat and yaktraks, Include a shovel because snow blades push snow between cars. Ad a blanket and flashlight. When walking and need to get down a hill walk sideways to give yourself a broader purchase. Watch stairs that freeze and avoid metal stairs that air blows under. When desperate and you don’t care who sees you, sit in plastic trash bags to keep warm. When get home hop in a warm shower and warm clothes. Sit in your bed until chattering stops. Look at what others are wearing. Portland Symphony O audience wore flannel.
I moved to Maine in January with the high for the month hitting nine degrees. Over time, you will discover what works for you.
Keep curtains open to benefit from Maine sunshine to warm room. Ah, frost heaves are places on roads where the pavement buckles upward. They come and go at different places with a sign if large and permanent in winter. Frost heaves will act lime a ski jump for your car and toss your car off the road.
- silk long underwear is easier to wear under jeans than are tights IMHO. jeans by themselves on very cold days are cold.
- An extra layer of a camisole under a shirt adds a great amount of warmth. The reason why everyone is saying "layers" is two reasons. One is that each layer of cloth traps a layer of air. It's the AIR that insulates you. Two is that with layers you can take off and put on clothes as you go in and out of warmth.
- Remember to put your hats, scarves, etc into your SLEEVE of your coat when you take them off, so that you can find them again, and they don't disappear, unless they are wet. In that case, let them dry on a warm surface.
- your wet things on your dorm radiator will add humidity to your room.
- LLBean was mentioned. Also look at Landsend. More upscale might be Patagonia.
- Winter sports are really fun! At colleges you can borrow the trays from the dining hall and sled on them. If you happen to be going to Mt. Holyoke, each dorm has a sun room, a room that's intended for you to sit in and pick up the sun during the winter. Getting enough UV rays and exercise will help you stay upbeat during the long winter months. Get outside! Also the more that you are outside and embrace the weather, the more your body will adjust -- acquire what we used to call "thick" blood for winter -- and you won't feel so cold, indoors or out.
Winter in Massachusetts can vary. We reached 70 last week for example. The Northface Denali is a popular jacket for inbetween weather. You’ll see some people all bundled up walking outside along with people wearing shorts and maybe a lightweight jacket etc.
There is a saying in New England “if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute”. The weather does vary quite a bit. You will need a warm coat and good boots for the cold snowy days, but you will also need to deal with days that are milder. Thus you probably want a fleece hoodie (if you google “bill belichick in a hoodie” you will get an example) as well as a warmer winter coat.
“The main takeaway is don’t buy too much up front”
I think that this is good advice. September is quite pleasant in New England, including anywhere in Massachusetts. Other students will be able to show you what they have for the winter, and the stores up here will have a good selection and be able to give you good advice when you are here.
And don’t let us scare you away. The weather here is not all that bad, and you will get used to it.
If you’re going to be hanging out outside and there’s snow on the ground but sunny, make sure you wear sunscreen. The glare from the snow makes it very easy to get burned.