Winter Survival: Gear List Included

Last week I had the opportunity to present on Hello, Range! at the East Range CAP meeting in Biwabik. These meetings are a great opportunity to connect, and I met a newer resident working with NewRange Copper Nickel and living in Ely. We had just gotten our first snow, and our conversation turned to the gear that makes operating on the Range comfortable regardless of the conditions.I am a chilly person. While I grew up in Hibbing, there is no indication that biologically I was built for winters here. But I am in love with the outdoors, and the calm I feel after forest bathing is worth the effort to get out.

My NewRange connection felt the same, and as a new resident, she compiled a list of items she recommends for new coworkers living in Northeastern Minnesota. I asked if I could share her list, and she said yes! (see below)

I spend a lot of time thinking about what differentiates the Iron Range from other places in the world. While we have a unique geology and a history that follows it, I believe that the resilience, fortitude and grit of our people are one of our key distinguishing features.

With the onset of winter, we dig out the layers. November is the thin puffer. Late December is the fat puffer. When the temperatures hit zero and below, I don a neoprene face mask for outdoor adventures.

I did a stint as a “yooper,” living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan during my  undergraduate years. There they playfully celebrate “Heikki Lunta,” the embodiment of the Finnish snow god character who originated in regional mythology.

The reality is, winter is a part of living in place we choose as home. By embracing the climate and dressing accordingly, a whole new world opens: one sparkling in dazzling white and the most brisk, clean air you will ever breath.  Hello, Range!


Per person
  • 2 pairs of boots, tall pair and short pair (most men out here will probably still wear only their work boots as winter boots).
Buy the SOREL Tivoli IV Tall Boot – Women’s online or shop all Footwear from
Buy the Kamik Lauren Lo Boot – Women’s online or shop all Footwear from
Buy the Blundstone All-Terrain Thermal Boot – Men’s online or shop all Footwear from
  • 2 hats
  • 2 pairs of mitts/gloves…..I typically have one of each. Mitts are warmer but gloves are more versatile. (waterproof too!)
Backcountry Stretch Liner Glove – Accessories  (I add these inside the mitten if your hands are still cold)
  • A gaiter or scarf to protect your face on cold windy days
  • Thick socks
  • Fleece leggings and long underwear
  • Snowpants
House list – 
Heated blanket, heated socks, lots of tea.
Blanket, socks, flashlight, snacks, extra pair of gloves and hat, water, ice scraper
  • Essentia Health Jobs
  • Iron Range Tourism Bureau
  • City of Hibbing
  • East Range Joint Powers Board
  • Department of Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation
  • L&M Radiator
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