There is no such thing as terrible weather, only improper clothing, according to an old Scandinavian proverb. Yes, it’s cold outside and hot cocoa is screaming your name, but if you know how to layer your clothing properly, you can survive some of the toughest winter weather. Dressing for mobility, dryness, and wind protection is a good idea. With these suggestions, monitoring the weather before your winter excursions won’t be something you dread; wearing the right layers of clothing will become second nature.
Staying dry is the first rule of winter hiking, according to polar adventurer Eric Larsen: Your biggest issue isn’t being frigid, he clarifies. Hypothermia can set in once you stop moving on a chilly, windy day in less than five minutes, so it’s actually getting too warm and sweaty. You must control how much you perspire, no matter how hard you work. A big part of this is understanding how to layer clothing. If you start to perspire, stop right away or slow down.
Layer 1: Baselayer
Put on a thin, long-sleeved baselayer next to your skin no matter how chilly it is. Thinner clothing wicks moisture away from the body more effectively and dries quicker. To prevent draughts from entering the space between your sleeve and glove, choose shirts with thumbholes.
layer 2: Midlayer
The material for this layer should be wool, polyester, or a combination of the two.
Layer 3: Hooded jacket
This puffy, zip-up jacket needs a hood to serve as a heat trap in chilly weather. Lock your hood in place using a headlamp strap or goggle band if the wind is whipping it back.
Layer 4: Outer Shell
You need a protective outer layer when you’re dressed for the cold: a waterproof/breathable fabric-covered shell with taped seams. It should be large enough to cover anything else. Also, stay away from white clothing and equipment, which can be lost in the snow.
Spread Your Zippers Out
Do not pile them up under your chin and around your neck. If not, you might be rubbed by three to four zippers. Think about layering a neck gaiter on top of a zip-T insulated midlayer and crewneck baselayer.
Additionally, close all of your pockets. If you don’t, Brian Clark, a meteorologist who works at Mt. Washington, one of the windiest places on earth, warns that “they can fill with spindrift when it’s really blowing.”
The most likely explanation for your goggles steaming over is that you are too hot. Manage your body temperature, unzip your clothing, and put anti-fog wipes in a handy pocket.
It also helps to keep your balaclava off your nose, but be careful to avoid frostbite on your schnoz. Face masks and balaclavas should have vents to reduce condensation and wet-out and be windproof. Some balaclavas feature holes in the rear that can accommodate ponytails if you have long hair.
Examine Your Gloves
You must still move about while wearing layers of clothing. Every time you take off your gloves to tie a knot, take something out of your bag, or open a package, your digits are exposed to the cold. Get ready and undress while wearing gloves for a terrific dexterity test. If you’re incapable, keep shopping.
They will block out snow and keep your pants from being slashed by your crampons. Prioritize waterproofness, simplicity of entrance, and an appropriate strap system for your needs while searching for gaiters. Bring knee-length gaiters if you plan to hike through deep snow. Mid-calf gaiters will do if all you want to do is keep rain and trail debris out.
Observe These Layering Errors
You can make a few blunders as you learn how to layer clothing. The following are some of the main errors you should avoid:
Relying on a single large jacket for warmth rather than wearing two or three midlayers. What should you do if you begin to perspire? Remove your lone jacket and become freezing? The idea is to keep dry and comfortable the entire time you’re outside, and layers prevent you from experiencing sudden changes in temperature.
Forgetting to wear face shields. Yes, you did remember to wear gloves, gaiters, and a hood to protect your hands, feet, and head. However, you won’t be considering how toasty your toes are when the wind is in your face.
Excessive layering You want to stay warm, but you also don’t want to perspire all over your base layers. When you arrive at the campsite or during rest periods, the moisture will make you feel too cold. The key is three to four layers. If you’re cold at the trailhead, don’t worry; once you get going, you’ll quickly warm up.
Wear cotton or cotton-blend clothing. Cotton absorbs the moisture from perspiration and stops insulating the air around your skin. Cotton kills because it can quickly cause hypothermia and chills. Even if you are an expert at layering clothing, cotton should always be avoided for winter hiking.