Chill or Danger

Dangerously cold and aesthetically cold are different. One will kill you.

The other is just chilly. You’ll live just fine anyway.

The reason we don’t usually think of a difference between the two is the primal fear that if we’re cold then we’re about to be extremely cold and, at our funeral, friends will say we were stupid to freeze like that.

They don’t understand. You can’t be responsible for other people not having caught up yet. Try walking around in fifty-degree (Fahrenheit) weather without a wind and test your boundaries. (I walk around in mid-thirties perfectly well. It’s brisk I’m brisk right back.) Carry a sweater in case you decide to put it on. Now you’re insured against failure. Think of it as a positive experience, or as survivalism rehearsal if you prefer, and see if you really find it as difficult as armchair mythology would fear. Probably not.

To Canadians, who know what’s “cold”, when there’s no wind and the temperature is just below freezing, there’s “Low Risk” and only a “[s]light increase in discomfort”. Anything above freezing is even easier to handle.

You can enjoy the crisp air. Even if you don’t, that’s just aesthetics.

Aesthetically cold is not dangerously cold. One will kill you. This is about warmth without risking your health or dressing like a walrus.

Websites of Interest

These websites have some interesting content, although I disagree with some of it:


Hiking organizations:

General retailers of outdoor products:

General information: