5 key items for handling New England weather

By Charlene Swain

In the past 12 months, the unpredictability of New England weather has been felt in full force – with a tornado in June, a massive snowstorm on Halloween and more than a handful of perfect beach days in the middle of March.

Lindsey Davis/Collegian

For those who are not native New Englanders, or for those who are and have simply not mastered our bizarre weather patterns – which is everyone, because even meteorologists get it wrong on a daily basis – here is some advice on what to carry in your bag at all times to be prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws your way.


A pocket umbrella doesn’t take up much space in a bag, but it could be the most useful item to carry at all times in New England. Even if the sky looks cloud-free when you leave your dorm in the morning, there is still basically a 50 percent chance it could rain at some point in the day. These small umbrellas won’t do too much damage to a college student’s budget, and they could save you from being soaked in a storm. Also, needless to say, they are much easier to carry with you on the daily than a rain jacket.


For those days when the sun shines without a cloud in the sky, especially when there’s snow on the ground, sunglasses are a must. Practically everyone owns at least one pair of sunglasses, which won’t take up too much space in a bag and will come in handy during every season. Sunglasses are a perennial fashion trend, with a new brand or style reigning supreme every couple of years. More importantly though, when walking across campus with the sun beaming down in your eyes, having a pair of sunglasses could be the only thing that saves you from being hit by a PVTA bus.


Scarves can be seen being worn all around campus, and are a fashion trend of the spring and fall. Luckily, they actually provide some warmth during New England’s famous freezing mornings and chilly evenings. As the sun sets and the wind picks up, especially by the library, a scarf will make all the difference in keeping you warm. Some scarves may take up a bit of space in your bag, but it never hurts to just wear one for the day.


Along with a scarf, leaving a pair of gloves in your bag will make a world of difference on a cool day in New England. The majority of your body heat escapes through your head, feet and hands. By wearing a pair of gloves, you block your body heat in, maintaining warmth in your entire body, not just in your hands.


A hoodie sweatshirt is key. Not only will it provide an extra layer of warmth during all seasons, it will also keep your head warm and dry. A hooded sweatshirt may be the bulkiest item you should carry in your bag at all times, but it is definitely the most reliable in a pinch. The hood of the sweatshirt will keep your body heat in, keeping your whole body at a cozy temperature, but it will also keep your head dry when the skies randomly open up and a classic New England downpour begins.

As unpredictable as New England weather can be, there is no place else in the world where you get the best of every season each year, or even each week. By adding these few items to the bag you carry around campus, you are sure to be prepared for whatever weather.com may have missed in its morning weather reports. No matter what the sky looks like in the morning or even 15 minutes ago, you can count on New England weather to throw you a curveball.

Charlene Swain can be reached at [email protected]