Whether you’re playing ice hockey or heading to a backyard bonfire for New Year’s Eve, here’s how you can stay warm when spending time outside in the winter.
Who says your New Year’s Eve celebration has to be indoors? The dawning of a new year is the perfect time to celebrate outside, whether you’re at your favorite ski resort, around a bonfire, or in your own backyard. As long as you and your guests dress for the cold, you’ll be ready to enjoy outdoor weather right up until the clock counts down to midnight. Here is our guide on how to keep warm at an outdoor New Year's Eve party, event, and more.
Let’s start with the easy one: Keep active! Plan games or activities that keep people moving, like ice skating (or even a pick-up game of ice hockey) or glow-in-the-dark Frisbee. If space is available and snow is on the ground, consider having snowshoes and sleds on-hand. Have snow molds available and hold a “best snow castle” competition among the guests.
Provide Warmth for You and Your Guests
Consider building a bonfire or renting outdoor heaters for your event, and make sure shelter is available in case the weather turns (perhaps a rented tent will work). Having plenty of waterproof blankets and throws available also invites people to linger and socialize; simply sling them over chairs or stack blankets on tables. Your party will instantly feel cozier.
Offer warm, comforting foods that still feel celebratory, such as hot fondue with breads, sausages, and veggies for dipping; spiced ciders and hot chocolates; a chili or soup bar; and, of course, warm signature cocktails like a mulled cider, hot toddies, or spiced rums.
Layer for the Cold
For many New Year’s outdoor celebrations, you aren’t going to be very active. You’re there to watch the ball drop, view a parade, or enjoy the fireworks. The key to staying comfortable in the cold is layering. But what does that mean, exactly?
Start with a base layer, which is the one against your skin. This layer needs to be breathable and wick away moisture if you sweat to keep you from feeling chilled. A synthetic or wool layer is best, with synthetic usually being stretchier (and therefore better for activity) and wool being best if you want to emphasize warmth, particularly if you’re not moving much. Some base layers combine both, with synthetic fibers added to wool to combine the best of both worlds.
Next up, you’ll want a mid-layer or two, especially on your core (torso). A fleece or wool vest is a great option, layered with a flannel long-sleeved shirt, or a polar fleece hoodie works well. For your bottoms, think synthetic again: instead of jeans, which absorb moisture and stay wet, opt for a nylon or poly/spandex blend that will repel wetness. When the temperatures get really cold at night, break out the ski pants or other insulated garments to help.
Your outer layer will depend on the weather conditions, but it can include waterproof pants and a waterproof jacket if you’re celebrating in the rain or snow or simply an additional puffer jacket if the weather is cold but dry. Down and down-alternative jackets are the top options in dry weather, and if they don’t add too much bulk, they can serve as yet another layer under a thin shell if the sky darkens and rain follows.
Lastly, you may need a blanket to sit on, wrap around yourself, or wear as a poncho. Make sure you pick a blanket that’s designed for the outdoors, has a waterproof liner, and won’t get soggy or frozen stiff. Mambe Blankets are an excellent choice here—the hooded blankets allow you to move around while still wrapped in warmth, and the Mambe Extreme Weather Blanket features a reflective lining that helps you retain body heat.
Have Cold-Weather Accessories Ready
Anytime that you’re going to spend a significant amount of time in the outdoors during the cold winter months, you need to be prepared.
\ _Here are some additional items to have ready to go: _
Beanies: knitted hats go a long way toward keeping the chill at bay. Remind guests to bring one or include hats in the festivities with a contest or game.
Warm gloves or mittens: Put this accessory on the must-bring list as well. Fleece or wool-lined gloves or waterproof mittens work best, but even the thin knitted version can keep the worst of the cold away.
Foldable chairs for extra outdoor seating: Grab a few camp or stadium chairs to keep guests from sitting on the ground. Even with blankets, the lack of insulation can make a picnic-style event too chilly.
Hand-warmers: Bring a few packets of disposable hand-warmers designed for an extended time in winter weather. If you really want to up your game, you can opt for battery-heated socks or gloves.
Wherever you end up spending it, enjoy your New Year’s celebration in the outdoors—and here’s to more adventure in the year to come!
Written by Amy Whitley for RootsRated Media in partnership with Mambe Blankets.