Keep Warm 2023

Keep Yourself Warm

Eight Must-Haves to Survive This Stupid Season

Get Warmth, Give Warmth

Because Everyone Deserves a Shower and a Cup of Hot Coffee

Meet Your Maker: Joe Norris of Hot Jawn

Get to Know Local Creators Making Gift-Worthy Goods

How to Make a Merry Christmas, Ya Filthy Kamper Cocktail

From Marceil Van Camp at Kamp Social House

Meet Your Maker: Colleen Echohawk

Get to Know Local Creators Making Gift-Worthy Goods

Where to Find The Stranger in Print

Looking for a Copy of Keep Warm, Your Essential Winter Holiday Guide? You Can Pick One Up from the Following Locations!

Comfort Zone

The Coziest Bars, Restaurants, and Coffee Shops in Seattle

Survival of the Grodiest

How Well Local Wildlife Will Keep You Warm, Tauntaun Style

Keep Warm 2023

How to Survive a Seattle Winter

How to Survive SAD

Real Tips from a Mental Health Expert

Meet Your Maker: Jessica Lynch

Get to Know Local Creators Making Gift-Worthy Goods

Meet Your Maker: Renny Cobain

Get to Know Local Creators Making Gift-Worthy Goods

Winter Events

Holiday Shows! Shimmering Light Displays! Fireworks! And (Ugh) SantaCon.

God-shit-ass-buns, it’s freezing outside and now you’re stranded in the cold, stupid woods on what should have been a pleasant Pacific Northwest vacation because you didn’t know it got dark at 4 o’clock in the afternoon.

This can happen for many reasons—an overly ambitious REI spending spree, a few too many treats from Shawn Kemp’s Cannabis—but no matter. You need help, and fast. Luckily for you, we’re a buncha burly, uh, burlesons here at The Stranger so we rated some of our biggest, brawniest wildlife on how likely they are to keep you warm under dire circumstances. Think Luke Skywalker and the tauntaun, Hugh Glass and the horse, or Bart Simpson and the kangaroo. Gutting knife optional.


You might mistake their bugle calls as either guitar feedback or a grunge singer’s screams, but no, that’s not Mark Arm out there in fur and antlers. (I mean, probably. I don’t know what he does on weekends.)

Elk typically exceed 400 pounds and they’re common enough in Washington’s most majestic outdoor environs, so if you need to gut and crawl into a corpse around here, they’re a decent bet. Unless you fuck up and crash a harem of cows (aka lady elk), at which point a horny, protective bull will rocket to the top of your shitlist.



If you want to get wild with local bears, the clientele at Capitol Hill’s the Cuff will take care of you, Daddy. Oh, um. For this guide, we’re talking about ursus americanus, or black bears—the most common bears in Washington’s parks and woods. Fun fact: “Firm, monotone voices” will scare these bears away from tent sites. Finally, a reason to bust out that old Ben Stein impression!

Bears go to great lengths to stay out of humans’ paths and can be scared away if you know your stuff. Face one carelessly, however, and your ass will be grass before you get to turn Smokey into a last-ditch fur coat.


The Wheedle

The furry fictional creature who, in the 1974 children’s book Wheedle on the Needle, protested Seattle’s population boom by climbing the Space Needle. Gentrification sucks for fictional creatures, too, kids!

In the land of make-believe, the Wheedle would make the perfect shelter—he’s huge with a soft round belly and he’s covered in soft-as-fuck fur. Unfortunately, the closest to real the Wheedle gets these days is a terrifying, Elmo-looking orange costume that’s trotted out for local weather PSAs. That suit would probably keep you warm… until an aforementioned black bear sees the color and either tramples or humps you to death.



The Seattle Kraken’s mascot. Bored on a slow winter’s day? Partake in your favorite legal inebriate, then watch videos of Buoy dancing with Gritty on TikTok.

Should you successfully beat up Buoy and wear his flesh, you’d be off to a good start with a spacious, furry, maple-scented shelter. (The rumors are true—he smells great.) But as we all know, Amazon has lined Climate Pledge Arena with high-tech cameras, and security would hold you hostage until you’ve worked at least 40 Kraken games and made an appearance at a Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert.


John Roderick

Veteran Seattle musician who has played with pretty much every local act to enjoy mainstream success over the past 20ish years, from Death Cab to Cutie and Harvey Danger to his own band the Long Winters. Don’t ask him about beans.

If you run into Roderick in the woods, you’re in luck, because dude’s from Alaska. If you had to gut him tauntaun style for survival’s sake, you’d be cozy—he’s tall, he has a nice beard, and bonus points if he’s dressed as Santa for an indie rock charity event, as he’s wont to do. But then you’d suffer the Roderick curse: constantly being asked by strangers about other, more famous musicians you’ve played with, as opposed to your own (very respectable!) material. It’d probably wear you down.


Amazon Delivery Truck

Sometimes delivers packages, but mostly is used to store Amazon employees’ plastic bottles full of piss—around here, Prime applies to shipping speed, not working conditions.

During the slightest hint of snow, these trucks can get stuck on Seattle’s worst unsanded and black ice-covered hills. And because steep hills align with property value—hey, people pay good money for those views!—if you do take shelter in one of the stranded monsters, you’ll no doubt be able to subsist on that fancy farm-totable dog food that’s more expensive than what the average human Seattleite eats.