Surviving Winter on the North Dakota Prairie


I think it’s safe to say that fall is on its way here on the prairies of North Dakota. I was extremely late getting out of bed this morning (my farmer is out of town, he motivates me in the mornings) and didn’t get to my run until 11 AM. Lately, it’s been a wee bit too hot for me to run at 11 so if I don’t make it up early, I run in the evenings once it cools down. However, this morning around 11 AM, it was 64 degrees. Perfect. The weather changing in my book is a sure sign of fall. However, normally in California I would rejoice this change in temperature. But I must admit, now residing in North Dakota has me a little worried and extremely under prepared for the “dreaded” winter here. 


Here are a few facts… Fact #1: I have never lived in the snow. Fact #2: I have never experienced below zero temperatures. Fact #3: I now live in North Dakota where BOTH occur FREQUENTLY.. Needless to say, I better start jumping on my winter wardrobe sooner than later! But with all this said, I don’t even know where to begin…? What do you need to survive the winter on the prairies of North Dakota..? My problem with winter clothes is I want them to be FASHIONABLE. But sometimes that doesn’t equal effective for survival! My survival plan so far consists of not leaving the house.. And there may be some tears. But I am bound and determined to show my snow-fearing Californians that this gal from California CAN and WILL make it! But I need your help…

So all my snow surviving, harsh winter readers… Give me your best apparel, advice, suggestions.. I am talking everything here folks.. Coats, underclothing, hats, boots, gloves! Whatever! I need help! Even better if you link me to them! It’s going to take everyone in my social circles to help me through my FIRST winter on the prairies of North Dakota!Ā  And stay tuned for how well I manage! šŸ˜‰



Winter Snow - Landscape

Winter Snow – Landscape (Photo credit: blmiers2)

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10 responses to “Surviving Winter on the North Dakota Prairie

  1. I was a TX girl who moved to the Prairie of SD a few years ago, so I can relate. Carhartts are your friend. Wool is your friend. LL Bean is your friend. Layers are your friends. Form fitting, tight clothing is NOT your friend. You want layers, with room between to trap the heat. And never fear you will get used to the cold- so long as you don’t hibernate inside! šŸ™‚

  2. Well I’m not from the Dakotas but Kansas is known for our windy, cold winters (except for last year). I agree with Jenn, wool and layers. Also, under armour is your friend. Thick socks. I have about 20 scarves. Hope my incoherent sentences are helpful – good luck and if there’s too much snow down there, come visit in Kansas!

  3. Besides clothes, make sure you have a good moisturizer/lotion – face, hands, lips will all get dried out and chapped. Heated seats, if you have them, are the best! Scarves are fashionable and protect from the wind/cold. Have fun – snow is so beautiful!

  4. Brandi nailed it…Invest in good long underwear. Under Armor does make some great long handles (tops and bottoms) that work very well…they are tight fitting but they will really help keep you warm…I have used them for a week at a time hunting late season in Utah when the average temp was 15 below and hi temps were 0 to 5 degrees. Best advice: get several pair (try a couple of different types) then wear what you normally would over that…plus the normal jackets, etc. There are several other brands out there and silk is lightweight and comfortable. Cabellas here you come!!!

    • So late to the party but can’t miss the opportunity to give fashion advise that I actually know something about! šŸ™‚

      I really like Duluth Trading for warm winter items. Under Armor is good but expensive, I think the knock offs do just as good of a job. Get yourself a pair of pack boots, they will keep your toes warm. A good Carhartt jacket is a must.

  5. Muck boots! I live in mine for about 7 months out of the year! They keep my feet really warm and dry! I have the Muckmaster version- the rubber goes up to about mid-calf so they’re also good in the spring when it’s muddy. Also they are easy to slip on and off like if you’re goof to a party in the middle of winter.
    Silk scarves are great for keeping the cold off of your neck. There are some really pretty ones that people make called Wild Rags, but make sure that they are silk! If you come to Montana, be sure to stop at Murdochs Ranch & Home in Milea City or Bozeman- they’ve got everything to get you set up! They have Carhartt, Columbia, Under Armour, Muck boots, wool rich, Pendleton (the mill not the whisky), and a whole bunch more! Hope this helps you get set up for winter on the northern plains!

  6. If you are working outside make sure you have Carhartt coveralls and jacket, wool lined gloves, a good stocking cap, a scarf, and good, warm work boots. Although, I don’t have work boots, I have a pair of Baffin boots….they are rated for extreme negative temps, a must to keep you toes from freezing! Make sure you have a good winter survival kit in your vehicle. Buy more canned food, toilet paper, and good snacks then you think you will need, you never know when you will be snowed in…and for how long! 2 years ago, there were major power outages that lasted 2-10 days, candles and bottled water might be a good investment. Good luck…I’ve lived here 26 years and I don’t think I will ever completely get used to the cold and snow

  7. 1. Cuddle Duds! They are a newer style of long johns that are sleeker and less bulky than the traditional type.
    2. If you are out helping the Hubby I like heavy glove/ mittens. They are mittens that flip over to reveal your fingers. Great for keeping fingers warm and still able to open gates ect. I wear a thin pair of gloves under so my fingers are never exposed to the cold.
    3. The Hubby has a pair of Neos. I want a pair! They are winter boots that go over your everyday shoes. He got them b/c he always has cold feet. His feet have not been cold since wearing Neos.

    Good luck with your first North Dakota winter. I am in NW SD and not a fan of the long cold winters. I really dislike the long evenings; 4:30 is just too early to be dark outside.

  8. Pingback: From California to North Dakota: The Numbers | [ j. l. d. ] Photography Blog·

  9. I just want to say THANK YOU for this post! I’m moving to Grand Forks in FEBRUARY (who moves to ND in Feb?) I’ve been looking at what I am supposed to get my family to battle the cold. We’re from Oklahoma. It does get cold down here and with the wind, bitterly cold, but I don’t know how to really deal with subzero temps.

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