This post contains affiliate links. If you buy through these links, I may earn a small commission.
Once the cold weather sets in, it gets a bit more difficult to spend time outside. Especially if you aren’t dressed properly. Do you actually know how to layer clothes for winter?
Many people don’t. But you should – it’s an important part of staying warm when you are outside.
The wrong outerwear over a thin shirt is simply not enough. Knowing how to layer clothes for winter time makes the difference between comfort and freezing.
Layering Clothes for Winter
Proper layering of clothing is essential for every outdoor excursion, regardless of weather conditions. When you wear layers you are always warmer.
This is because warm air gets trapped between every layer of clothing you have on. We should be wearing four layers of clothing in cold winter weather.
If it gets warmer, just take off a layer until you need to put it back on. Here are some practical clothing layer combinations for winter and late fall/early spring weather.
Many new synthetic fabrics used in outdoors apparel can come in handy, but only if properly coordinated with other clothing.
Although cotton is comfortable, it absorbs large amounts of sweat and is therefore a poor option for a first layer.
The layer with actual contact with the skin should be a synthetic fabric that is lightweight and warm.
Under Armor offers a great clothing line “Cold Gear”, which is utilized by outdoorsmen and competitive athletes alike.
These garments are designed to wick away sweat, while keeping body heat in. Staying dry and warm is the core purpose of layering clothing and Under Armor provides an excellent foundation.
Depending on the weather conditions this layer is best suited for either thermal underwear or a warm cotton/wool blend shirt.
When camping in sub-freezing temperatures, thermal underwear would be advisable; however in warmer temperatures this would quickly become too warm.
While moisture from sweat should still be a concern at this layer, it should be fine to wear cotton blend articles.
Fleeces and Pants
For the legs, it is often best to wear wool socks and waterproof snow pants. While there are many viable options available at outdoors shops, snowboarding or skiing pants are prudent options.
Many modern ski and snowboard pants offer a wide range of flexibility while providing adequate warmth.
As for the upper body, a warm fleece or wool sweater is recommended. It is important to keep in mind that any fleece you wear should be waterproof as well.
Remember, once your coat comes off in the warmth of the day, it will be exposed to the elements.
At this layer, your objective should be to keep external moisture out. While your first layer should regulate body moisture, this layer should provide protection against all the elements.
Be sure to have a waterproof/windproof/insulated coat. These waterproof coats may be a bit pricey for the initial investment, but are well worth it in sub-par conditions.
Plus, great quality clothing lasts forever if it is taken care of. Consider this an investment and spend more money up front to never have to replace it again.
A Few Notes About Socks, Gloves, and Hats
In most conditions you will not need to layer these areas, but in extreme conditions or on longer trips, it may be practical.
For the feet and hands, you can buy sock liners and thin gloves. Consider glove liners too, they can be a big help.
These are the Dakine Glove Liners I recently bought and they are great. The liners keep my fingers warm in cool and damp weather. When it gets -20C, I’ll be able to easily wear these and then slip my hands into my big leather sheepskin gloves.
You should always look for waterproof, leather-upper boots.
For the hands, good quality mittens are really a much warmer option and allow adequate layering room if needed.
A bandana can be a practical option to further insulate your cranium, but cotton bandanas do tend to hold a good deal of moisture.
Under Armor also offers skullcaps to wick away sweat from your brow and keep you warm.
Layering is the easiest single way to protect yourself from the harsh elements of winter. Knowing how to layer clothes for winter makes all the difference in your comfort level.
Technological advances of the last 20 years have given us new ways to stay dry and warm in any conditions.
When used correctly, your clothing selection can be the difference between a miserable and a memorable trip.
Want to read more?
Snowshoeing in the Cariboo – a great way to spend a winter afternoon!
We have a wood stove, not a cook stove. But because of this one thing, we can make make wonderful meals right on top of our wood stove!
Do you have a metal roof? Here’s why you shouldn’t walk too close to your house on winter days.
Want to find out which are The 5 Easiest Vegetables to Grow?
Grab the free download available only to subscribers!