With coronavirus cases across the country continuing to break records, we are all spending more time than ever outdoors this winter. For any kind of socializing, it’s the safest option, even if you live in a place where the temperature rarely climbs above freezing. That means you’re going to need the warmest coats, hats, long underwear, and socks to keep you enjoying drinks with friends until spring arrives. To help you stay warm for hours at a time at outdoor birthday parties, first dates, and socially distant family hangs, we curated all the toastiest cold-weather essentials we’ve written about so far, including portable heaters, heated gloves, insulated pants, and even a sleeping bag you can wear.
Warmest socks (according to Mayor Pete)
These wool socks are a favorite of hikers and boot-wearers — including Pete Buttigieg, who listed them as one of the things he can’t live without when we interviewed him in 2019. Because they’re a wool blend, you get all the warm perks of wool without any of the itch. Plus, each pair comes with a lifetime warranty. Read more about the best wool socks here.
Warmest shearling-lined clogs (that aren’t Uggs)
Because they’re the farthest from your heart, toes are one of the first parts of the body to get cold in cold weather. If you’re planning to be outside for long hours and you can’t stand numb toes, reinforce your wool socks with shearling-lined shoes. These Hunter clogs with fuzzy interior will keep you cozy and get you compliments too. Read more about shearling-lined shoes that aren’t Uggs here.
Warmest portable heater
This compact propane-powered outdoor space heater comes with an automatic safety feature to turn it off if it tips over. It’s the perfect size for a two-person stoop sit or small group park hangs. The lightweight heater (it weighs just six lbs with an added propane cartridge) will warm you and a friend for up to five hours and can be strapped to your pack on hands-free hikes. Read more about the best outdoor space heaters here.
Warmest portable heater you can cook on
Serving as both a stove and an outdoor heater, the Ignik two-in-one heater is perfect for camping trips or just spending time in your backyard. “When it’s cranked, it puts out some real heat,” says Ryan Wichelns, a climber and outdoor-adventure journalist who has used the heater to warm groups of four or five friends. Read more here.
Warmest fire pit (for people who don’t know how to start a fire)
“As we’ve all been sheltering in place, I’ve been using the FirePit as an excuse to be outside,” says James Lynch of the Biolite Fire Pit. The easy-to-start system means you don’t have to be an eagle scout to use it and you won’t have to worry about campfire smell sticking to your hair and clothing. It also comes with a hibachi grate so you can use it for grilling veggies, fish, and steak. Read more here.
Warmest outdoor furniture
To create a welcoming outdoor space for safe social distancing, there’s nothing more luxurious than a sculptural heated lounge chair. Strategist writer Kayla Levy writes that even though she’s “a person who tends to get cold the second it drops below 60 degrees,” all she needs when visiting her uncle in the winter is a light jacket thanks to his Galanter & Jones heated outdoor furniture. Just plug it in and wait for it to heat up to a cozy 120 degrees. Read more here.
Warmest gloves (according to butcher Pat LaFrieda)
If anyone knows how to stay warm in freezing temperatures it’s Pat LaFrieda, an experienced bow hunter and third-generation meat purveyor. In October, LaFrieda shared his cold-weather hack, which pairs heated clothing designed for motorcyclists with a 12-volt camping battery. These gloves are one part of the kit he uses to keep warm while sitting outside in the cold for hours on end during a hunt. Read more about his heated pants, shirt, and even socks here.
Warmest insulated jeans
In addition to her uncle’s heated furniture, Levy, Strategist’s chilliest cold person, has written about a bunch of products she uses to stay warm through New York winters. She relies on these fleece-lined jeans to keep her legs extra comfortable. Read more about them here.
Warmest electric blanket (that you can bring to dinner)
Since bodies lose heat when they aren’t moving, Levy brings this electric blanket along for extended hangs where she knows she’ll be sitting most of the time. The blanket is portable and battery-powered, making it perfect for picnics and backyard events where outlets are hard to find. “It gets warm from top to bottom, sort of like a full-body version of a car-seat warmer,” she says. Read more about it here.
Warmest sleeping bag you can wear
If all that isn’t enough, Levy also tested a wearable sleeping bag that’s a little more affordable than the Cozee heated blanket. The Selk’bag looks like a pair of coveralls but puffy. Though it isn’t the first of its kind, the insulated union suit is much more city-friendly than others you’ll find. For one thing, it has two-way zippers that help you reach your pants pockets. Read more about it here.
Warm slippers are key for winter, but since the COVID-19 pandemic has left us homebound for the better part of this year, they’ve become a true year-round essential. These yellow cushioned slippers–which actress Lauren Adams calls ““puffer jackets for the feet” — are our pick for the best slippers for winter. ““I wear these outside and inside, that’s how good they look,” says HighSnobiety assistant editor Noah Thomas. Read more here.
[Editor’s Note: Thomas recommends the slippers in yellow, which have almost all sold out. These red slippers are available in all sizes, however.]
Warmest puffer jacket (according to Strategist editors)
When we asked team Strategist about the puffer jackets they buy themselves, we got a ton of good recommendations. Both senior writer Karen Adelson and writer Hilary Reid rely on the Aritzia Super Puff for everything from cold morning walks to outdoor dining. And contributing editor Jessica Silvester bundles up her picky three year old in a kids Uniqlo puffer. But perhaps the best recommendation comes from New York Magazine deputy editor Alexis Swerdloff who has bought her North Face puffer freshman year of high school and still wears it on a regular basis more than a decade later. It’s also the same North Face that was recommended by writer Jordan Bowman. Read more about the puffers we buy ourselves here.
Warmest coat for pets
You’re not the only one who needs a warm coat this winter. If you plan on bringing your dog (or cat) to a January picnic, they’ll also need help staying warm. This affordable and stylish down coat for pets comes from our list of the best jackets for dogs on Amazon. Read more here.