I am sure you have heard it before, staying warm is all about layering. We have compiled some recommendations for anyone who is looking to stay comfortable while outside this winter. If you have more questions, stop into your locally owned winter sporting good store for more personalized service and advice!
Base Layer (Long Underwear)
Base layers are the most important piece of clothing you have to stay warm. When active, we sweat. Most clothing absorbs this moisture, and when it hits the cold air, that moisture gets exponentially colder. To prevent this, wear a base layer made of a combination of hydrophobic materials, such as Merino Wool, Acrylic, Nylon, and Spandex. This combination allows a stretch that delivers a great fit, as well as superior breathability, temperature regulation, moisture management, sun protection, and odor control. When your skin is cool, the fibers restrict and retain heat. When your skin is warm, moisture vapor is released. Materials wick and move moisture away from the skin.
Mid Layer (Insulation)
A mid layer is for adding extra insulation on a cold day! If it's not particularly cold outside, this layer may be overkill. A mid layer is what you wear between a base layer and winter jacket. A simple long sleeve flannel will work for many people, however a warm hoodie will provide more insulation.
Outer Layer (Jackets and Pants)
Your outer layer is the first line of defense against the cold. Quality winter jackets and pants offer premium warmth, breathability, wind-proofing, and waterproofing. Plush liners add an extra level of comfort. Most jackets and pants are cut long, and have built in waist gaiter, to avoid snow to skin contact. Many also include armpit zippers, for temperature regulation and odor resistance.
(Headwear, Gloves, Socks etc.)
If you are not wearing insulated headwear, you can lose up to 90% of your body heat through your head! Imagine your body heat escaping you like a chimney. Sometimes a hat just isn't enough. Balaclava style headwear is essentially a base layer for your head. They often have extra insulation in the neck area, as well as ventilation on the mouth. Microfiber tubes are a thinner, more versatile version of the balaclava. These can be worn in many different fashions, as pictured below. Most headwear is designed to fit well under helmets.
Choosing the right glove/mitten is all about insulation and dexterity. The most insulated glove will be leather and goose down. The most dexterous glove will have less insulation, but will be made of one way breathable fiber to protect against wind and repel sweat. Depending on what you are looking for, both have their pros and cons. Stop in your local shop to try on a variety of styles.
Cold feet will always ruin your day. Cotton socks absorb moisture, allowing the cold air to slowly freeze your feet! To prevent this, wear a sock made of a combination of hydrophobic materials, such as Merino Wool, Acrylic, Nylon, and Spandex. Look for diagrams on the box explaining the technology and thoughts behind the design of the sock. This will help you find the right choice for yourself.