Tonight I spent close to three hours shopping for cold-weather gear. Thank goodness for the experts at REI. While I knew the basics of what I needed; a base, mid and outer layer, I had no idea which pieces of clothing within the store actually constituted as any of them! Luckily I found Warren. An older, bald, and bad-ass biker looking man with a gentle side. He asked if he could help, and was probably sorry that he did!
Warren pointed out the different sections of where my layering garments could be found, and told me the differences between natural wool and silks, versus synthetics. He was a great source of knowledge! Before I knew it I had an overwhelming hand full of stuff to try on. I wiggled in and out of what seemed to be a never ending stack of garments, and decided upon my base tops and bottoms and a bottom outer layer. All that was left was to decide upon a coat to finish up the "trying-ons".
Warren continued to work, and looked on at the stack of coats that I was progressively discarding. I suspect he thought he'd end up cleaning up my "mess", but I surprised him when I hung each one back on it's hanger and then returned them to where I found them. He laughed and asked me if I was going for, "customer of the year?". I giggled and said, I used to work retail at a particular store, so I know your pain! He said he felt sorry for me, and then we both laughed.
With a three-way jacket finally decided upon, I headed to gloves and hats. There I met Theresa, a dog-sledder and snow-shoer. It was so awesome to hear the stories of her travels and experiences, and I appreciated her recommendations. I ended up with gaiters, a balaclava and double layer gauntlet-type gloves. Theresa asked about my snowshoes and current boots, and recommended the brand she had on her feet. Since there were none in stock, she let me try on her own pair! Not sure where else you can go and try on the employee's own shoes to see if you like them, but we had a lot of fun! Well, at least I did.
After our boot sharing and snowshoe talk, I left Theresa to head to the check out line where I was more than thankful to have a bounty of Christmas gift cards to spend. I headed to my car, two bags of winter-gear heavier with hopes that my purchases would keep me as warm as they promised. Tomorrow I will find out, as I'm heading out for my first snowshoeing expedition - wish me luck!