Practical Tips for Dressing Your Family for Minnesota Winter Travel

In Minnesota, the weather is always a conversation starter, ender, and everything in between. Why? Because here we get it all. Humidity you can cut with a knife, freezing rain, tornadoes, below-zero temperatures, hailstorms, thundersnow, hoarfrost (we had to look this one up – it’s when ice crystals form on surfaces, FYI) and so much more. After the question “I wonder if it’ll rain today?” next up is, “What the heck should I wear?” And the real doozy, “What in the world should I pack?” We’ve all been in the position of starting the day with a crisp, chilly morning in a favorite slouchy sweater that envelopes us in a soft hug – only to feel like we’re in a suffocating sauna by mid-day. What’s the cure for this temperature-regulating conundrum? Layers!

Everywhere you turn this season, you’ll find perplexed looks on Minnesotan’s faces. Especially up here on the north side of Lake Mille Lacs at The Red Door Resort. In the span of one Minnesota lake vacation, you might get flurries one day, followed by a push of weirdly warm air the next, finished off with a cool blustery wind that ALWAYS messes with your hair. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines ‘layers’ as “one thickness, course or fold laid or lying over or under another,” but we think it’s time to redefine this arguably most important aspect of preparedness and comfort. Let’s make it easy! And dare we say, stylish?

Layering isn’t just for jackets and cardigans anymore. There are so many varieties to choose from depending on the occasion, and a multitude of ways to accomplish it, for adults, kids, and the dog. And yes, it can also be easy on your packing list, the space inside your car and have you prepared for whatever the meteorologist gets right (or wrong). Let’s break it down. 

The *insert your last name* family layering guide:

·       Just say yes to the vest. There are so many kinds! Puffer, fleece, quilted, hiking (think moisture-wicking) The list goes on. This baby will keep your core warm but won’t leave you in a puddle of sweat. If it’s the first time you’re visiting us, take a little stroll to get familiar with the grounds and breathe in some of the northern Minnesota air we provide at our Mille Lacs Lake resort. Reach for your vest and zip it up over a breathable long-sleeved tee. This is also a no-brainer layer for everyone in the family to wear on the car ride here as well.

·       Do not forget the accessories! Gone are the days of packing a million bags because you’re unsure about the weather. Multiple uses are a must! Pack a lightweight hat or fleece headband for each member of the family, along with a lightweight scarf. Is it colder than you thought it would be? Transform your scarf into an added layer of warmth for your head! Not sure how? Take a peek here: Warmer than forecasted? Ditch the scarf!

·       Four-legged friends are always welcome at this dog-friendly Minnesota resort, and it’s probably safe to assume they have their very own pack list, are we right? Start with a lightweight dog shirt for a base, after all, man’s best friend does have a warm built-in coat. Be prepared for any type of precipitation with a water-resistant outer layer and, if Fido is patient enough to put up with them, doggy boots are a must. Warm and dry for him, one less bath for you!

·       Said in your best Oprah voice… “You get an outer layer and you get an outer layer!” A fleece jacket is a perfect choice when coupled with a warmer sweater as the foundation. If the day happens to warm up, perfect! Shed your fleece, and tie it around your waist for a cute little fashion statement. Be careful though, if it rains or snows, you’ll need something waterproof. A shell jacket is a great option for slipping on over any insulated layer depending on the conditions.

·       We’d be remiss if we didn’t discuss leg coverings. This is a layering piece that quite often gets overlooked. Instead of snow pants, opt for rain pants! They’re comfortable, breathable, and will keep you bone dry. You can also throw on thermal long underwear, wool socks, or even leg warmers to make it a two-for-one. Dry and warm!

·       For couch time by the fireplace, or for this year’s strange weather, a bonfire just outside your cabin doors calls for a cozy throw. You’ve got your flannel blankets (comfy!), your quilts (warm!), your windproof coverings (shielding!), and your picnic spreads (waterproof!) Don’t fill up your trunk with a bunch of options, rather have each kid keep one at their seat for road trip naps. This way you have a few options to choose from when the weather takes a confusing turn. If available, opt for plaid, moose, or nature-inspired prints to coordinate with the rustic charm you’ll find in the idyllic, home away from home lodging we offer.To wrap up, (in a soft practical layer, of course) for all the busy families who are bravely heading out on the road this winter for memory-making fun, unsure when Jack Frost will finally pay a visit, we think it’s time to overhaul the definition of ‘layers’ or ‘layering.’ What do you think about, “Strategic pieces of clothing that keep you warm when it’s cold and cold when it’s warm?” Or what about as a verb; “The act of effortlessly being prepared for anything that comes your way?” But we think our favorite is, “Gear that’s easy to pack and easy to wear so you can spend your time enjoying each other’s company and the beauty that even an unusual Minnesota winter offers.



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