Enjoying winter activities is highly dependent on your level of comfort and warmth. Dressing properly can make or break the time you spend outdoors. If you are cold and damp, or so bundled up you can’t move, chances are you will be miserable. If you are warm and comfortable you might come to love winter and all it has to offer. Here are some tips on how to dress properly to enjoy the snow.
Layering your clothes is the best way to manage your level of warmth. Choosing the right materials for different layers of clothing is key. If will also help you avoid over dressing and walking like a snowman. Consider three layers.
This layer needs to wick moisture away from your body and should fit snug (but not limiting movement) Use materials like wool or specific moisture wicking materials. Avoid cotton. Cotton holds the moisture against your skin making you colder faster. Base layers will come in different “weights” or warmth levels. “Heavy” is for really cold weather and “light” is for milder weather.
The middle layer is your insulation layer. It should be a bit looser than your base or wicking layer. As the base layer wicks away any moisture, the insulation layer traps the heat and keeps your body warm.
The outer layer is there to guard against the wind, rain, and snow. Look for materials that are wind and water resistant like GORE-TEX. Garments that have ventilation features (zippers that can be opened to allow air flow either under the arms or along the side of the legs) can help moderate your body’s temperature.
Once you have your layers sorted out (which all depend on the temperature, the activity, and how long you plan on being outside) then you need to consider your head, hands and feet.
Mittens are warmer than gloves. Consider what activity you will be doing and how cold it is. If you need dexterity in your hands then mittens won’t help you.
If you need to move freely and quickly then leave the oversized snow boots at home. Avoid cotton socks for the same reason as above and avoid layering the socks. One good pair of moisture wicking socks will keep your feet warm and dry with minimal blisters. Look for water resistance shoes or boots.
Although the myth of losing heat through your head has been debunked, you still need a hat. If it’s really cold out go for a balaclava to cover most of your face and neck.