In the little canyon where I live, eighteen inches of snow fell this weekend. As often happens with us horse owners, the storm doubled my work time, mostly in the form of shoveling.
Snowy winters mean everything takes longer; tossing hay to the horses is more arduous when wading through a foot and a half of white stuff, pulling the wheelbarrow behind awkwardly. You know the drill.
Don’t get me wrong. I love snowstorms and snowy winters. I love the chance to adjust my routine and watch as the animals (domestic and wild) react to their altered environment. I’m not the only one energized by these events. It’s (mostly) fun!
Four hours shoveling.
An hour of horse work.
An hour of moving firewood.
Two hours of cross country skiing.
In between, extra cups of tea and a slice or two of chicken pot pie.
I was lucky to be perfectly outfitted with a top and bottom that fit exceedingly well for my winter athleticism, kept me warm, and adjusted to being indoors or outdoors seamlessly.
Toad&Co’s Hammond Zip Hoodie takes the idea of a dowdy women’s wool sweater and razes it. I received it a month ago and have worn it for half of those days.
Why do I like it?
- It’s made of lambs’ wool, which means it’s warm, naturally odor-deterring, non-itchy, and breathable.
- The style is joyous. The blue, orange, khaki, and off-white creative stripes go brilliantly with jeans. The zipper replaces old-fashioned buttons (the zipper pull is stylish in and of itself).
- It held up well and was an essential layer to whatever activity I was doing: from skiing to shoveling to grooming. Inside, it magically adjusted (wool does this.) to my sedate activities of sipping tea and sitting fireside.
Cons: It’s not okay to toss this sweater in the wash. After a dozen wearings and with the waist losing its shape, I washed it gently by hand and blocked it dry. Good to go!
LL Bean’s Signature Lined Boyfriend Jeans similarly dispelled an old standard for outdoor lovers: lined pants. As a teenager, I remember wearing them and feeling like my silhouette was expanded by two sizes. Not so with these jeans which have a percent stretch (two percent) and fit true to size.
While nearly all my jeans fit over cowboy boots, this style is cut trim to the calves and ankles. That made them ideal for slipping inside my insulated boots or wearing under gaiters.
These jeans are like a good bra: you forget about them because they are super comfortable and do their job without fuss or my noticing any inadequacy. They keep me warm, letting me do an array of athletic movements without binding in any way.
How much warmer than unlined jeans are they? A good 30-40 percent, I’d say. That’s appropriate. It means that you don’t roast in them when inside, but still can do without a baselayer underneath pants when outside.
Ah, back inside where venison stew, blueberry pie, hot cocoa tastes so much better when you’ve earned it with eight hours of winter athleticism.
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