Cold-Weather Games

Watching a live football game means hours of exhilaration, cheering for your favorite team amid a sea of thousands of fans. But because few stadiums have roofs and heaters, the stands are no place for fair weather fans.

As the season moves into to the colder months, those hitting up home games know the secrets for keeping warm all the way through to the playoffs.

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Advice From Frozen-Weather Fans

No one knows how to endure freezing weather quite like Green Bay Packers fans. Lambeau Field was home to the legendary “Ice Bowl,” the 1967 matchup between the Packers and the Dallas Cowboys. Temperatures that day dipped to -15 degrees Fahrenheit, or -48 degrees with the wind chill.

Adam Senn, a devout Packers fan and truck driver living in Green Bay, has his cold-weather wardrobe down pat: wool socks, long johns, hand warmers, thick gloves, a stocking cap, and a heavy coat.

“Also, pre-game tailgating with some whiskey doesn't hurt,” Senn says.

Three of the 10 coldest games the Packers have ever played involved their long-time rivals the Chicago Bears. The pair will meet again this Monday at Lambeau, where lows are predicted to be in the 40s.

Bears fans who attend home games at Soldier Field on the south side of the Windy City also endure frigid temperatures as the season’s action heats up.

Travis Hulce, a Bear’s fan living in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., has similar advice for staying warm during the game: layer up. Hulce, a podcast host, recommends layering a t-shirt, a long sleeve t-shirt, a sweatshirt, and a trusty Bears jersey on top.

With a thick, warm stocking cap on his head, athletic socks, wool socks, and winter boots on his feet, and insulated jeans on his legs, and Hulce is all but ready for game time. 

“Truthfully, if you booze enough and layer enough, by the time you get into the game the temperature is essentially a non-issue,” he says. “Plus, bathrooms are heated to give some reprieve.”

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Staying Warm During the Game

If you take Senn and Hulce’s advice and have a few nips of whiskey and beer, you’ll end up in the bathroom sooner or later. Besides the heat from the vents, urinating helps conserve heat because your body doesn’t have to worry about keeping the liquid in your bladder from freezing.

Apart from taking trips to the bathroom, here are some other ways to stay warm during cold football games:

  • Move: If your extremities are feeling the cold, stand up and move around. It’s the easiest way to generate some heat under those layers.
  • Snack: Think of calories as fuel for your internal furnace. Many of the goods at the snack bar should suffice.
  • Pad: Bring a blanket or pad to sit on, so you don’t lose heat to a cold seat.

Follow the Three W’s

Every Boy Scout knows the three W’s for surviving frigid temperatures: wicking, warmth, and wind.

When layering, the first layer should wick moisture away from the skin. Hulce recommends athletic socks, or long underwear. The less moisture that touches your skin, the warmer you’ll feel.

The next layer on top of that should create warmth. Wearing fleece, wool, or any other thick material made to keep you toasty should do the trick.

The last is wind, as in a windbreaker. A wind- and waterproof shell will keep unwanted moisture and wind chill away from your skin. Many companies like The North Face and Columbia make jackets and coats that incorporate the warmth and wind layers together.

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And Senn has another W that he recommends: weight.

“It doesn't hurt being the size of a large household appliance either, but that probably isn't going to happen for the average fan,” Senn says of his own stature. “Although it might in Green Bay.”