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During last year’s Polar Vortex, I found myself woefully unprepared for the harsh elements, icy roads and power outages. So this year, I vowed to get a game plan together before the winter weather blows in. While I’ve never been one to wear heavy coats, gloves or hats (I prefer comfort over confinement), last year’s snowstorm had me white-knuckle driving through streets of abandoned cars wearing only a light sweater, jeans and flip-flops. After learning that the rain, snow and ice are expected to be just as bad — if not worse — this winter, I got proactive and sought out wardrobe advice from the survival experts over at Alabama Outdoors (seriously, many of them are trained and certified in rescue and survival techniques!). Here are the winter weather wardrobe staples — all available at Alabama Outdoors — you need to survive this year’s cold-weather onslaught.

Wicking base layers + good socks

The name of the game here is to stay dry and warm. Wicking base layers that pull moisture away from the skin are essential and no, cotton is not a wicking fabric. In fact, cotton is not your friend at all, as the fibers absorb and hold onto wetness. There are many amazing synthetic fabrics out there today that are breathable, wick moisture away from skin and dry quickly. Add a good pair of wool socks to keep your feet dry and toasty, too.

Patagonia's Capilene fabric is a quality wicking fabric.

Patagonia’s capilene is a quality wicking fabric used in their crew- and v-neck shirts, $55 and $45 respectively. And the crew socks by FITS, $20, are  super stretchy with an articulated heel, making them really comfortable.

A heavier weight capilene half zip is another great layering piece to have in your winter weather arsenal. $ at Alabama Outdoors.

A heavier-weight capilene half-zip is another great layering piece to have in your winter weather arsenal. Get this one for $99.

This cowl neck fleece is also made of a wicking material. $ at Alabama Outdoors.

This cowl-neck fleece is also made of a wicking material. Get it for $65.

Hats, gloves and scarves

Just as important as keeping your feet warm, it is essential to keep from losing body heat by protecting your head, neck and hands.

Hats and mittens in colorful patterns keep you warm and stylish. $ at Alabama Outdoors.

Hats and mittens in colorful patterns keep you warm and stylish. These are $28 each.

For warmth and water resistance, you may need more durable gloves. $ at Alabama Outdoors.

For warmth and water resistance, you may need more durable gloves, like these $65 Marmot and $70 North Face options.

Scarves can be found in every color and make a beautiful and functional addition to any winter outfit. $ at Alabama Outdoors.

Scarves can be found in every color, and make a beautiful and functional addition to any winter outfit. These are $59 each.

Coats and jackets

A high-quality winter coat is a must, and is often difficult to choose, as there are so many options. Since no coat is created equal, it’s important to consider your lifestyle and needs when making your selection. Ask yourself these questions: Will you be packing this coat? Do you plan to wear it as a raincoat? Will you be physically active while wearing this jacket? And don’t be afraid to rely on the knowledge of the sales staff in getting pointers when you shop.

Lightweight, yet warm, this Patagonia jacket is a great option. $ at Alabama Outdoors.

Lightweight, yet warm, this Patagonia jacket is a great option. Get it for $199.

This trench style jacket is a stylish choice for on the go. $230 at Alabama Outdoors.

This lole trench-style jacket is a stylish choice for on-the-go. $230

The longer length of this coat helps keep the cold air out. $269 at Alabama Outdoors.

The longer length of this North Face coat helps keep the cold air out and the upper legs protected. $269

This 3-in-1 coat is windproof and waterproof and has a removable down parka that can be worn alone or zipped into the stretch twill shell making it perfect for even the coldest of climates. $529 at Alabama Outdoors.

This three-in-one Patagonia coat is windproof and waterproof, and has a removable down parka that can be worn alone or zipped into the stretch twill shell. $529

Don’t get left out in the cold! Start planning now for the upcoming cold, wet and windy weather!

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