We have all been suddenly blindsided by weather, unintentionally go too long without water or food, and/or regret our outfit choices – it is miserable. In 2013, I went to Limbe, Haiti for a mission trip with a camp that I worked for in college. On the last day, it downpoured all day and the only part of me that was prepared were my feet #thankschacos. Other than that, I wore a “waterwicking” rain jacket (aka not waterproof), a cotton t-shirt, and an old pair of shorts. I got SOAKED and ended up dawning a homemade, and quite fashionable, trash bag romper to protect the dignity and dry spots that I had left.
Since then, I have made some adjustments, and now, in the humblest of ways, it is not uncommon to hear how physically prepared I am from co-workers, friends, and strangers alike. I frequently reference the Girl Scouts of America’s motto of “be prepared” and, truly, believe it should be a constant phrase in everyone’s internal dialogue when getting dressed and packing your bag for the day. Have I ever been a Girl Scout? No. Does that stop me? Absolutely not.
How to Prepare and Gear Up:
Assumingly, I do a lot of tours during my work week which involves going back and forth from indoors to outdoors. In Colorado, you can experience all four seasons and all types of weather in a seven-day period as well as within 24-hours. Here is my advice on how to prepare and gear up for your tours and meetings:
- Look at the weather before you leave for the day. Your phone’s regular weather app is decent, but I highly suggest downloading Wunderground – it gives you a 10-day forecast and breaks it down hour-by-hour of each day for temperature, wind, and precipitation percentage and type. Is it going to rain? Grab your rain jacket or umbrella and wear shoes you don’t mind getting wet or muddy. Is it supposed to be freezing? Grab your warmest jacket and gloves. It seems silly, but this can save you from ruining your favorite shoes or developing nerve damage from hypothermia.
- Be practical. By this I mean, don’t be afraid to be a little dramatic; as in, grab the heavier jacket, snag the mittens over the fingerless gloves, bring an extra layer, put on your rain or snow boots, layer up on sunscreen, etc. Always think to yourself, wouldn’t I rather have things on me or nearby when I’m getting a little sunburnt or I’m not as warm as I thought I’d be? I have had mornings full of snowy, twenty-degree temperature tours where my fingers have gone numb because I thought “I’ll be fine” (and I wasn’t).
- Invest in high–quality gear. I will go to my grave insisting that what you spend your money on matters, especially clothing, shoes, and overall equipment. Why? Because it lasts and it will serve its purpose time and time again. The main items I’m thinking of are:
- Rain jacket – Waterproof. Waterproof. Waterproof.
- Down jacket – Pricier item, but there’s always a good deal on the interwebs. My Patagonia has never failed me and I can always layer underneath.
- Shoes – I own a handful amount of Sorel boots for rain and snow, so I couldn’t give a stronger recommendation. Also, if you’re walking around a lot and it’s hot, find a good shoe and brand that won’t give you blisters (looking at you, Target).
- Hydrate. Water is the most underrated superhero on the planet! My Hydroflask has yet to let me down and I aim to have one completed and refilled before I start tours as I can go for up to four hours at a time, depending on the venue. Also, it’s a given, but, pack a lunch that’s going to fill you up and eat when your body needs to eat – nothing is worse than feeling like you’re going to pass out because you sacrificed feeding yourself to get some more work done. Need a snack? I highly endorse keeping fruit snacks handy.
Now you can leave your house confidently to the tune of “We Ready” by Archie Eversole because you can take on anything that Mother Nature throws your way.