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Inside The Outdoors

What to Wear in Winter – Your Guide to Winter Clothing

25.11.2015 | Expert Advice
Winter is a great time to go exploring and participate is exhilarating snow sports but if you are unprepared for the elements then you won’t be able to enjoy them. There is no such thing as bad weather, but there is such a thing as having the wrong winter clothing. This guide will hopefully supply you with some helpful advice on how to make the most of the cold weather and stay comfortable and prepared whatever you end up doing. What you wear in the winter will depend on what sort of activities you will be taking part in. There are 3 main types of activities and there are specific needs that your clothing needs to meet for each.

Activities like fishing or watching your children playing football will require you to wear thick insulation particularly around you core and between you and any cold surfaces. in this situation, the more the merrier. you don’t have to be so concerned with maneuverability so lots of layers and big chunky accessories like winter gloves or mittens and hats.

Activities like hiking and cross country skiing have very small amounts of time where you are not moving. This will require you to focus more on covering your extremities than insulating your core. You don’t want to overheat which will cause excessive sweating accessories like winter gloves, hats and scarves/ head tubes are mandatory.

Winter hats
You lose the most heat through your head if it isn’t covered. The choice of headwear is extensive and largely dependent on personal style. Wool is often a favorite fabric for headwear as it is warm, wicking material that retains some thermal properties even when wet, however synthetic fabrics like polyester and acrylic wick moisture and dry quickly too and are often more windproof.

Gloves and mittens
Having warm hands is not helpful for staying comfortable throughout the day and being able to participate in the activity you are doing but in an emergency situation, having movement and feeling in your hands it critical. In very cold weather, insulated mittens will keep your fingers warmer than a pair of gloves as you can ball up your fists.

For added warmth you can wear a thin liner glove under your insulated gloves, some winter gloves come with these built in. Inner gloves are useful for tackling fiddly task that your insulated gloves ont allow for like using a camera without exposing your skin to the elements. The best material for liner gloves is silk as it is thin, warm, wicking, dries fast and is super comfortable next to skin.

Activities like alpine skiing have a mix of physical exertion and resting. This is where layering and features like ventilation zips comes into their own. Open them when you are exerting yourself on the slope and zip them up on the ski lift to retain your heat. Either that or you can take a layer off when you get off the lift. Accessories like scarfs are useful here too as they can protect your face when you need them to but hang loose when you don’t.

Basic layering

Base Layer
Usually long thermal underwear that is worn directly against your body. Base layers should be made of fabrics such as polyester, merino wool or silk (or a blend of the above). all of these are designed to with moisture away from the body, be comfortable next to the skin and dry quickly.

Mid Layer
A slightly warmer layer, usually long sleeved such as a shirt or a micro fleece. these are lightweight but help to trap heat close to the skin.

Insulating Layer
This is usually the layer that can be added or removed depending on the amount of exercision. It is however the primary source of warmth under your outer jacket. Something like a thicker fleece jacket or an insulated down gilet are prime examples. Some winter jackets come with a built- in fleece or jacket that you can remove if you like.

Outer layer
This will usually be a hard shell. A winter coat that should ideally be windproof, waterproof to keep out snow and rain, breathable to allow vapour to escape and insulated to keep you warm. Soft shell outerwear on the other hand usually has added stretch and breathability but is typically less waterproof than a hard shell.

View All Waterproof Jackets

Thermals & Base Layers