The Origin of Cold Outdoorsman

Mt. Hood from Trillium Lake

Starting a website is an intense, exhilarating, daunting and all-in venture. I speak from experience; I’ve done it commercially four times. But Cold Outdoorsman is different. Yes, it lives on the Web. Yes, it involves making a new batch of contacts. Yes, it obviously involves writing. But this time it’s not the most daunting, exhilarating or all-in venture I’m attempting. That distinction goes to a life change I’ve made that’s fueling Cold Outdoorsman: deciding it’s time to get outside more often because my kids deserve to experience the great outdoors in ways I never did.

I’m a week shy of 38. For 37-plus years I’ve been reluctant to spend too much time out in nature. I was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and still live here, so I’ve been surrounded by natural beauty and outdoor opportunities my entire life. The problem is that I get cold — really cold. Most of the hiking, camping and mountain-based activities that beckoned my friends and colleagues have been literally painful for me to even consider.

Thanks, Raynaud’s Syndrome. Raynaud’s is a circulation disorder that causes sufferers’ hands and feet to get super cold super fast. The last time I tried snowshoeing I lasted 15 minutes before coming inside. It took more than two hours to get my feet back to a normal temperature.

Yet as quickly as I may get cold, I realized recently that my two children are growing up even faster. We’ve played catch outside, done some mid-summer hiking summer and gone camping on occasion. But most of their time with me has been spent indoors. Two of my previous web-based ventures were videogame and gadget-review sites, both of which obviously require time inside. Convenient, no? I spent much of my childhood playing videogames, so I don’t see that as a problem. What does seem to be a problem is my kids being surrounded by all this natural beauty and not being able to experience it with their dad.

That’s got to change. And it will. In fact, it’s already begun. ColdOutdoorsman.com will document my impressions and experience with outdoor gear and clothing so others who suffer from Raynaud’s or just hate being cold can get some honest advice and jump into the outdoor fray with me. I know I’m not alone: five to 10 percent of the population suffers from Raynaud’s, and even my father-in-law avoids doing too much outside because “I don’t like being cold.”

This site is for those people. My people. I’m not a hardcore hiker, extreme skier, or a carabiner-equipped mountaineer. I’m about as far away from those guys as you can get, and biologically I’m not likely to ever become one. But maybe I can get close. I get cold easily, yet I love the idea of being outdoors. What gear, clothing and equipment can help me, and others like me, enjoy the outdoors without freezing? What can help this Cold Outdoorsman not only survive, but set an example for my kids that being cold doesn’t need to be a hurdle to enjoying nature? Getting outside in spite of the cold is my new mission; the origin of Cold Outdoorsman is to document where I succeed and fail. I hope you join me for the ride and learn something along the way. Because I already have: this world is just too gorgeous to let the temperature keep me away from it.

Jonas Allen

Jonas spent 17 years covering travel, technology and entertainment for regional and international media. He now writes about gear, clothes and tips to stay warm. He hopes his lessons will help other people who get cold (re)discover the great outdoors.

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