Cold Weather Clothing – Winter Layering System Cold Weather
With the colder weather around the corner why not get ready for it now?
Clothing is always a little bulkier and heavier in winter, this is something you have to accept. Even if you can spend a lot of money on the lightest and warmest items you will still be carrying more weight than when in warmer conditions.
In summer things come easy but in winter you must always think ahead to what you are about to do next. This allows you to select the right layers and prevent common problems like overheating which result in sweating into your layers. This resulting damp is sometimes hard to get rid of. The saying BE BOLD START COLD is very helpful. Basically if you are about to hike up a huge mountain maybe take off a couple of layers first.
If you get everything right even operating in below freezing conditions is rewarding. I think that being out in – 20°C and having your nose hair freeze is all part of the fun.
My recommendations below are based on personal experience and work for me very well. The collection of layers has been refined over many years but what works for me may not work for you.
Winter Hiking Tips
- Manage your temperature by thinking ahead to what you are about to do. BE BOLD START COLD If you’re sweating into your clothes then this moisture will take away from the warmth offered by your clothing. Left unchecked this moisture builds up and will leave ice crystals in your clothes in extreme situations. So before you climb a big hill or start to saw some wood take off a layer or two.
- Use multiple layers of wool of increasing thicknesses.
- Make sure your layers are not super tight against you but are somewhat fitted. Ideally so they are not loose and not constrictive in any way. This is called expedition fit.
- Have a layer to cut windchill and snow. I would always recommend a full waterproof set.
- Having ventilated trousers that you enable you to dump heat without having to stop and remove a layer is fantastic feature to have.
- Glove liners or thin gloves to hike in as well as mittens for when you stop. Again wool liners and inners are best.
- Wool neck gaiter and buff are essential items.
- Sunglasses, one darker pair and one lighter tinted pair helps when faced with bright or dull days. Snow is so reflective and uniform it’s essential to have appropriate tints to show details in the landscape when moving across it. Polarised, Cat 3-4.
Suggested Winter Layers Top
150gsm Merino Wool Short Sleeve
200gsm Merino Wool L/S with ¼ Zip
400gsm Merino Wool Fleece
Waterproof and Windproof Layer
Synthetic Down Insulation – Much lighter than a heavy fleece and warmer too. I use a smock design.
Large over jacket. Synthetic fill goes over everything to keep you toasty. Swedish M90 Parka is my personal choice. Full review of this great value parka HERE.
Suggested Winter Layers Bottom
200gsm Merino Wool Leggings
Waterproof and Windproof Over trousers
British Army Softie Trousers – Synthetic Insulation large fit and goes over everything
Hands and Extremities
200gsm Wool Liners gloves
Wool lined Mitts with Leather palms
Wool Neck Gaitor
Buff – Wool
Trapper Hat – I use a M90
Footwear & Feet
Merino Wool Liner Socks
Extra thick Wool Socks – High Cuff
Removable thermal liner boots. Waterproof and with a strong sole preferably with a back wedge to hold a snowshoe binding.