It's beginning to look a lot like the North Pole, especially if you live on the east coast of Canada and the U.S. Pretty soon the snow and ice will creep across the hemisphere, and what was beautiful green parks and sun-beaten streets will become winter wonderland. It'll be beautiful but it'll also put a cramp in many people's Pokémon Go play. I played all through the winter last year and have started Raiding in the snow this year already, and here's what I've figured out so far!
1. Dress warmly and get capacitive gloves — or a stylus!
If you're going to walk and catch, dress for the occasion. Depending on how cold it gets, that could be a light jacket or it could be full-on Gortex gear. Either way, hat, boots, earmuffs, even long undies — dress for prolonged exposure to the cold.
Most of all, get gloves that have capacitive material on the fingers or get capacitive thread you can stitch onto your existing gloves. Yeah, they're cumbersome, and you can take them off if you really need to nimbly catch that Lapras, but they'll let you get the basics done without losing any fingers.
If you really don't want capacitive gloves, get a stylus. You can hold them in your gloved or mittened hand and tap and swipe your way through Pokémon Go with panache. It may take you a while to get your curve ball back on, but your hands and fingers will stay warm while you're relearning them.
2. Look to Lure and Incense inside!
If it's cold outside, stay inside! There are malls, coffee shops, bars, pubs, restaurants, and similar places that have at least one PokéStop or Gym reachable even when you're inside. That means you can grab a drink and some food, and spin away — every 5 minutes.
Add some Incense and a Lure and you won't have to wait for Pokémon to spawn naturally, up to a half-dozen will be called right to you. I've been doing this at my local mall and I get all the eggs and stardust I need — David's Tea or Starbucks Select, working away, spinning every few minutes, catching now and again, and all toasty warm!
3. Ride and Riad
Yes, Pokémon Go has added restrictions that make it very hard to play while driving — as well they should! But rural and suburban areas don't have anywhere near the density of cities, putting players there at a considerable disadvantage, especially in the winter.
The restrictions only apply when you're going over 30 KM/h, though. So, if you're on a bus or are the passenger in a car, and you're being driven slowly enough, you'll might still be able to spin some PokéStops.
What's more, the lockout doesn't seem to apply to Incense. So, if you put some on, and then get driven around, you should still be able to call out up to a half dozen Pokémon. Add a Pokémon Go Plus, and you can get over 100. Quickly.
You can also group up, car pool, and go from Raid to Raid, taking down bosses and plussing as you go. It's not only toasty and team-building, it's XP and stardust nirvana.
4. Park and play
Combining the two strategies above, if you don't have any PokéStops inside public places and you don't have anyone to drive you, including buses, the next best thing is to find a park or similar place with a PokéStop or two, drive there, park legally, and then drop some incense and a Lure.
That way you can stay warm and still score some Pokémon, especially if you're packing a hot beverage and Pokémon Go Plus with you. If it's not too cold, you might even want to get out and walk around a bit to find any spawns or nests hiding nearby, or do some low-level Raids for the rewards.
I've been doing a couple variations of this lately, driving to a local park, spinning away, then walking in to the pedestrian-only parts to hit a few more stops or Raids before heading back to shelter. Now that spawns cluster around stops as well, it's been working just fine.
5. Winter wander-land
If you do get a chance to get out over the winter, there are a lot of great activities that can still keep you moving, mon catching, and egg hatching. There's snow-shoeing, cross-country skiing, hiking, and even downhill resorts sprinkled with Pokémon and PokéStops.
Avoid blizzards and ice storms, of course, but as long as you're well dressed, and especially if you're with a group of family and friends, playing in winter can be every bit as fun, and as beautiful in its own way, as any season.
Your top winter tips?
If you've figured out awesome ways to play Pokémon in the snow, let me know in the comments below!
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Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.