What is it about Winter weather that makes us just want to get out and enjoy nature? Sure, in the Summer, you can get out and enjoy nature just the same, but as the temperatures rise, you can only remove so many articles of clothing before….well…you get arrested. But in the Winter, you can bundle up and really make the most of the world around you! No matter what you fancy… hiking, camping, or even just enjoying a festive campfire with friends…we’ve got the gear you’re going to need to keep warm and keep going!
- Base layers – Why are base layers so important? Why can’t you just throw on a thick jacket and be done with it? Well, not only do base layers make it easier for you to adjust your body temp as you go, but they can keep you warm without letting you get overheated when enjoying activities outdoors. True base layers (long-sleeved tops and bottoms with fitted ankles) are worn close to the skin and are form-fitting (but not overly tight), made from polyester, wool, synthetics, or a combination of all three, but not Cotton will retain moisture and but will not retain much-needed heat.
- Insulating layers – Worn over base layers, insulating layers should still be made of the same materials – wool, polyester, and synthetics – but are a bit thicker (not so thick you can’t comfortably move though). In more moderate climates, you might be able to skip insulating layers and simply double-up on base layers. This layer will be the one that you layer on and off as your temperature, and that of the outdoors, fluctuates. That means your insulating layer is best comprised of pieces with zippers and/or buttons (like these) for ease of use.
- Weatherproof layers – Your outermost layers will be windproof, waterproof, and breathable. On top, that means you’re looking for a good hard-shell jacket, with plenty of zippers for extra ventilation. Regular jeans or pants will work over your base layer, but in colder climates, you should add a pair of weatherproof or weather-resistant pants. Not only will they keep your pants and under-layer dry, but they help to cut the chill of the wind.
- Hats/gloves –In cold weather, your body first loses heat through your extremities. That means hats and gloves are definitely in order! Again, try to look for fabrics like wool, polyester, or synthetics, since they will hold the heat better than cotton. Hats and gloves should fit snugly …and fleece-lining never hurts. And, in this day and age, look for gloves with smart touch fingertips, so you won’t have to constantly be taking them on and off to use your phone.
- Boots/shoes – Footwear should be waterproof, with thick soles, and have a fit with a bit of room. The extra room not only helps with accommodating the thicker socks (hopefully wool) you’ll be wearing, but it will allow for warm air to circulate and keep those toes warm.
Finally, add a hard-shell, insulated or lined jacket, one designed to take the elements, and you’re set. If you layer-up properly, and choose the right fabrics and fits, your Winter time wanderings are sure to be toasty, warm, and wonderful!
Image by funkz is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (source: flickr)