As with all of our activities, there are certain precautions that must be taken to ensure that we enjoy our hobby in the best possible circumstances. Our last concern should be the suitability of the clothing we wear.
Beyond our safety equipment and the clothing we wear, there are a few things we should consider before hitting the trails. These tips can make a difference and in some cases, even prevent frostbite.
Humidity, enemy number 1!
You don’t need a thesis to know that water freezes at low temperatures. Even at low percentages, the presence of cooling water will have a conductive effect and cause discomfort. Therefore, there are some tricks you can use to make sure you are dry before you leave and stay dry as long as possible during your ride.
The right size boots.
This may not seem like a big deal, but a boot that fits too tightly will promote faster cooling of the feet. As in the construction of a house, air acts as an insulator. Therefore, we need to have the necessary space to be able to move our toes easily.
When buying your boots, make sure you have a one centimeter gap between your longest toe and the inside end of the boot. Similarly, the width should be adequate without feeling tight.
The height of the boots is also a consideration, as it will prevent snow and water from seeping in.
Well insulated boots.
Retailers offer several models of boots on the market for the motorized vehicle enthusiast. Usually, you will find a comfort rating to guide you in your choice. The rubberized outer surface will mainly ensure grip while the inner insulation will ensure comfort. You must also consider that a boot that is too waterproof will keep moisture inside. You must therefore find the right compromise.
An insulating sole is not to be ignored.
Adding a thermal insole to your boots is a very good idea if you often have cold feet, because it acts as an insulator, prevents heat loss and keeps your feet warm. They can be found in shoe stores.
A boot dryer is an investment!
The extremities of our body are potential sources of heat loss and at the same time, the places where we feel coldness. Therefore, it is important to make sure that our boots and mittens/gloves are dry beforehand. For my part, as soon as I return from a ride, I take the necessary time to plug my clothes mentioned above into a dryer designed specifically for this purpose.
These dryers are available at low cost at sporting goods stores and superstores. There are several models on the market and it is up to you to select the one that will fit your budget. If your boots and mittens have an inner lining, remove it for a separate drying process that will be more efficient. If you don’t have a dryer, you can also place your equipment near a heat source. A wood stove will dry your gear in no time.
Dry feet before putting on your socks.
For my part, I make sure to rub my feet generously with medicated body powder. It will have the effect of drying my feet and absorbing present and future humidity. It should be noted that baby powder will have the same beneficial effect.
Cotton is a material to be avoided and it is preferable to use socks that will wick away moisture. We must prefer synthetic fibers such as polyester or merino wool, a natural fiber, very thin, which keeps the heat and wicks moisture. It should be noted that natural wool is not recommended, as it is too thick and will not provide enough free space in the boot.
It may seem funny to bring up this tip, but if you continually bring blood flow to your feet while riding, that circulation is a great way to keep from getting cold. Moving your toes in a twitching motion periodically a few times throughout the day will make a huge difference. If that doesn’t seem like enough, stop your vehicle in the trail and move your whole body. You can even dance if you like, because in addition to getting your blood flowing, your fellow riders will probably be very amused by your wiggle.
What we call “hot pads” or heat packs have been on the market for ages. They should be used with caution as they can cause burns. In addition, the space they take up can also cause discomfort. However, if you wish to use this thermal aid, install them on the toes rather than under them.
Heated insoles, the ultimate!
If you want the best in constant and adjustable heat, the use of heated insoles is an investment in itself. Several models are available at different dealerships.
It is preferable to set them at a lower intensity to begin with and to adjust them later. They provide constant heat and unparalleled comfort.
They are usually equipped with a rechargeable lithium battery. The batteries can be replaced after a few years of use when they lose their efficiency. I recommend that you give them a full charge when storing them at the end of a season for greater long term durability.
In conclusion, if you follow these few tips, you will ensure longer rides and more fun with your friends. The secret lies in a good preparation and simply, by the adequate equipment according to our needs.