Top 3 winter football must haves!

Mike Garner

With the college football regular season well behind us and 15 of the 35 bowl games already decided I was curious just how many bowl games are taking place outside and beyond the slightly warmer borders of California, Arizona, Louisiana, and Florida?

A quick look at the BCS and non-BSC bowl schedules reveals that few contests are taking place above the 35th Parallel and even fewer are being played outside. Not surprising since Old Man Winter has already made his presence known across the country. Although games have already been played in a handful of northern states like Idaho, Michigan, Maryland, and New York – 3 out of these 4 were chilly outdoor venues.

Personally I like the wind and weather. I like the warmth of the sun on my face in September and the winter cold on the back of my neck in December. I prefer the roar of the crowd to piped in audio behind tempered glass. And, as nice as a buffet tastes in the comfy confines of a temperature-controlled suite, I really don’t mind standing in line for my hotdogs and dippin’ dots. In my opinion college football is best experienced outside.

And the recent Bedlam game between my Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Oklahoma Sooners was the perfect opportunity to assess my Top 3 college football cold weather “Must Haves!” With kick-off temps well below freezing I was glad I had Zippo, Stanley, and Chippewa to keep me warm!


No. 1 – As handy as the disposable hand warmers may be, let’s be honest, they lack real heat. I mean they’re nice when the mercury is hovering around freezing and you need a little something to keep your fingertips warm, but with Bedlam game time temps sitting at 18-degrees Fahrenheit I needed something more! And after watching three quarters of football where neither team played to their potential it was obvious the only thing on fire was my Zippo polished chrome hand warmer. It requires actual fuel and a lighter – and it burns hot! Two of those bad boys strategically placed under my mid-layer did the trick!

No. 2 – Do you remember when the only beverage you could imagine sneaking into a college football game was cold and in a can? Well a subfreezing December football game in Stillwater, OK will change your mind. A 1.3 liter, stainless steel, double-wall vacuum Stanley Thermos full of my favorite hot beverage – hot TruMoo chocolate milk – was the order of the day. Carefully tucked in the bottom of a bag under a blanket, gloves, and wool caps the gate attendant either didn’t see it or didn’t care. Either way, I was warm on the inside for four quarters.

No. 3 – Last but not least toasty footgear is the one thing that gets me through a particularly cold hunt or in this case football game. It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting for hours on end in a goose pit, treestand, or outdoor stadium; it’s always difficult to maintain blood flow to your lower extremities. The resulting cold usually sinks in after only an hour or two and with little chance of getting your heart pumping you’re pretty much screwed. Thankfully I had my 9” Bay Apache Arctic Boots! All leather construction coupled with a genuine lamb shearling lining – nothing could have been warmer!

So, if you find yourself attending one of the few remaining outdoor bowl games above the 35th Parallel where you’re likely to be cold – like the Liberty Bowl at Memorial Stadium in Memphis or the Music City Bowl at LP Field in Nashville or if you think you might get a surprise winter blast down south don’t forget Zippo, Stanley, and Chippewa!

Mike Garner Outdoors
mike garner outdoors

Chippewa has teamed up with Mike Garner, a lifelong sportsman and television personality with a love for everything outdoors, to bring you Mike's journey across the United States in his Chippewa boots.

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