Expert advice on how to keep warm during Sunday's Pats game

Peter Reuell

Their team may be red-hot, but come kickoff on Sunday afternoon's AFC Championship game, plenty of Patriots fans may be ice cold.

With forecasters predicting temperatures near 20, and wind chills likely below 0 degrees, fans who don't want to freeze had better bundle up, experts say.

But exactly how much will keeping out the cold cost?

Depending on how much cold-weather wear they've got at their disposal, fans can expect to lay out a little less than $400 to get outfitted head-to-toe.

And plenty are doing just that.

“In the past two days, we've had about a dozen people in here getting outfitted to go,'' Natick Outdoor Store saleswoman Nancy Towne said Thursday.

While most customers this week only need a few items, and not a complete outfitting, Towne said her advice to those hoping to stay warm could be summed up in a single word - layers.

“They have to layer,'' she said. “Layering is the most important thing. You can always take something off, but once you're out there, you can't add.''

Her best advice, Towne said, is to start with a good pair of long underwear, and build layers from there, and don't forget warm socks, gloves and hats.

“It's always better to over-do it,'' she said. “Once you get there, if it starts to warm up, you can take a jacket off, but if you're just getting colder and colder, then you're in trouble.''

“It's really pretty simple,'' agreed Chris Post, sales and product expert at REI's Natick store. “What you want to do is think of the acronym WIP. It's three layers, the base layer is wicking, that will get the moisture off the skin. I is an insulation layer. That can be anything that's going to trap warm air. The top layer is going to be protection.''

With the exception of cheering Patriots (hopefully many) touchdowns, though, there won't be much in the way of activity for fans in the stands, which could lead to faster heat loss, Post warned.

“Most of the time, I'll tell people to think of three layers,'' he said. “In a case like this, I'll definitely encourage people to go with four. For a game, it's all about the heavier-duty insulation.''

Though most of the customers he has seen who are preparing for Sunday's game are after smaller items like chemical hand and foot warmers, Lunkers Outfitters co-owner Eric Andlauer said his advice is much the same.

“I just describe to them what I'd do,'' said Andlauer, an experienced ice-fisherman. “The best thing is to start with poly-propylene long underwear. What that does is when you sweat, it wicks the moisture away from your skin, so the bottom layer is dry and your body is dry.

“Normally I'll put on a pair of sweatpants or something pretty heavy, and then my ski pants, so I'd have three layers.''

Like Towne, Andlauer believes it is better to dress too warmly, than not warmly enough.

“I would rather be a little too warm than too cold, because if you're cold you tense up, and you don't enjoy yourself,'' he said. “Once you're cold, you're miserable. I'd definitely be a lot happier being too hot than too cold.''

Peter Reuell can be reached at 508-626-4428, or at

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