Dress for Success in the Woods - Forest News
"There's no bad weather, just bad gear," is a saying I hear a lot in the outdoor enthusiast world. And, for the most part, I think it's true. Weather is going to do its thing weathering, and the best we can do is be prepared. Below are some suggestions and guidelines that I hope will be helpful in preparing for our time outdoors this year. Please note - there is absolutely no need to spend a fortune on high-tech outdoor clothing. Proper attire can be found affordably at Walmart and Goodwill. Don't shy away from hand me downs, and if there is anything you are in need of, please feel free to reach out and I will help you get what you need. Dress for Success! As a general rule, students should dress comfortably in shoes, boots, and other clothing that can get dirty and/or wet. Waterproof rain boots are great. Long pants are strongly encouraged, even on hot days, and long sleeves aren't a bad idea either. Thin sweatpants and tights are not ideal, and fluffy fleece sweaters end up attracting every sticker and burr in the area. Old jeans, sweaters, and rain gear, can be picked up at a very low cost at Goodwill and serve as the go-to outfit for Wednesdays in the Woods!
To Deet or Not to Deet? It’s going to be mosquito and tick season for a while longer. Some of us are more sensitive to these varmints than others. I don’t love Deet based repellents, as they are stinky and caustic, but they work well when the bugs are thick. The natural blends work well too. A family favorite and locally sourced option can be found here - Swerve!. I also recently discovered Picaridin, which appears to be as effective as Deet, but without the strong odor and greasiness. It can be found in a spray or lotion. Another option you may want to research further is Permethrin, which is sprayed on clothes for longstanding protection against mosquitoes, and most importantly, ticks. This is a great option if your child has some clothes set aside just for the woods. You can spray down pants, shoes, etc., and the odorless treatment will last throughout the rest of the season. Permethrin should NOT be sprayed directly on the skin. Here is some more information from the CDC about how to properly treat clothing. Another good strategy for mosquitos is to wear lighter colored clothing. I can't attest to this personally, but apparently mosquitos are not as enthusiastic about green, blue, white, or purple. Lighter colors are are also a good strategy for ticks as any hitchhikers will be easier to spot.
Thinking Ahead Fall and Winter will be here before we know it. This is when the preparation really pays off. Throughout the Fall and Winter months, and even into Spring, dressing in layers and staying dry will be the two most important things any of us can do to stay warm and comfortable. Here is some good info on how to layer up for different seasons. "Cotton is Rotten" for cold and wet days and should, especially for base layers, be avoided. Synthetic and/or wool blend socks and long underwear can be purchased cheaply at Walmart, Costco, or online. What Else? Always bring a water bottle (or two), and a snack is nice to have on hand. I'm a big fan of carrying a bandana, which are great for drying off wet feet, cleaning glasses, stopping nosebleeds (more common than you'd think), and all sorts of other uses. A packable poncho, or even a large trash bag that can be converted in an emergency can be invaluable. Seriously, the emergency poncho I carry saved me from some serious discomfort, and potentially a dangerous situation, this past summer while hiking in Colorado. And finally - a spirit of openness and adventure! Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions, and I look forward to seeing many of you outside!
Mr. Will Hudson