We’ve been in Alaska 3.5 years, and I’m still learning how to do it right. And more than anything else, it’s dressing for the weather that continues to get me, particularly when it comes to running.
Heading outside in Alaska in an exercise in understanding how to properly layer for the conditions, and then being more prepared than you hopefully need to be, just in case. A day’s temperature report is based on wherever the weather station is physically located. But temperatures can vary five to 10 degrees within even just a mile or two thanks to our topography, and the difference between five degrees and -3 can feel pretty pretty intense.
That’s especially true when you’re already trying to wear exactly the right amount of clothes and not one stitch more because you’re running. Too much and you’re sweating, getting wet and at risk of getting cold that way. Too little, and now you’re cold because you don’t have enough on. Dressed for five degrees and now, suddenly, it’s -3? Now you’re cold. Get cold? Better have an extra layer in your bag that you can put on — and cross your fingers that you can warm up again.
Then there’s your water. Drinking is extra important in cold weather because it helps you stay warm. But the hose on a traditional hydration pack will absolutely freeze, so you’re going to need a different plan. Small bottles next to your chest in a hydration pack are a good idea, but if they aren’t just right they’ll freeze, too. Making it work is a matter of finding the right thing for you.