Layering Tips for Wintry Adventures



When it comes to winter sports like snowshoeing, hiking, skiing, and sledding, layering up is the best way to comfortably enjoy your favorite cold weather activities. Used to maximize comfort, this simple concept is easy to apply when you understand how it works.

layering-2.jpgBase Layer Basics
This is the layer that lies against your skin and helps manage moisture. You want your base layer to fit snugly so your clothing can wick away sweat more efficiently. Cotton is not a smart bet for your base layer because it takes so long to dry. Wool clothing makes a terrific first layer because it’s best at wicking sweat. Wool is also warm in cold weather, cool in warm weather, and it’s never stinky due to its anti-microbial properties. If wool makes you itch, check into clothing made with polyester and wool blends. The ultimate combination of quick-drying polyester and wool work well together to keep you warm in even the coldest temperatures.

Smartwool is one of our go-to base layer brands at Mast Store because they use nature’s finest Merino wool.  Check out the Women’s NTS* Mid 250 Pattern Crew. (*NTS means Next to Skin.) It’s warm, comfortable, super stylish, and has a UPF rating of 50+. It's light enough to wear as a base layer and heavy enough to be worn as a mid layer. Explore our entire line of Smartwool clothing online HERE.

Polarmax is a North Carolina-based company with over 30 years of innovation in next-to-skin apparel. Their pieces are another terrific option for base layering. The Men's Double Layer Crew is moisture wicking, quick drying, with a double layer construction that’s comfortable, and keeps you warm. Check out more layering options by Polarmax HERE.

layering-3.jpgMid Layer Made Easy
This insulating layer is your best defense against the cold because it traps heat where you need it most: next to your body. From lightweight polyester blend fleeces in cool temperatures to goose down in the coldest conditions, most mid layers come in lightweight, midweight, and expedition-weight. To prevent overheating, you’ll want to use a lightweight mid layer for high energy activities like skiing or snowboarding. If you’re planning a leisurely walk or snowshoeing adventure in the woods on a snowy day, a heavier mid layer will keep you warmer longer.

The perennially popular Patagonia Women's Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T makes for the perfect middle layer. Amber at the Knoxville Store raves, “This is the perfect hiking fleece for fall and winter. It isn't super bulky and is comfortable with a backpack on. It’s also easy to layer for more warmth during winter months without causing you to overheat.”

For frigid temperatures, Patagonia Men's Nano Puff Jacket is an excellent and environmentally-friendly choice. “Lightweight, compressible, warm when wet, and weather resistant… What more could you ask for from a layering technical piece? How about an extremely low impact on the environment? This Patagonia staple makes use of just about every bit of recycled material possible, right down to the zipper. The Nano Puff takes great care of you while you take great care of the environment,” shares Leif of the Mast Store Annex.

layering-4.jpgShell Layer for Ultimate Protection
This final layer is meant to keep water and biting wind away from your dry and toasty base and mid layers. We recommend a breathable and waterproof shell for inclement and colder weather.

The Men’s Minimalist Jacket by Marmot is an exceptional choice for your shell layer. This jacket utilizes Gore-Tex technology to keep you dry even in the heaviest downpours and snow. The Minimalist Jacket features pit zips for breathability, zippered hand pockets, an elastic draw cord hem, an attachable and adjustable hood, and a chest pocket has a water-resistant zipper. Best yet, this maximum performance piece weighs in at just under a pound. Get yours HERE.

layering-5.jpgKeep It Simple With Three-In-One
If you’d prefer all three layers in one easy-to-use jacket, The North Face offers a Thermoball Triclimate Jacket that’s sure to meet all of your layering needs. The waterproof outer jacket keeps snow and rain at bay. Pit-zips provide ventilation and the adjustable hood increases coverage. The inner zip out jacket is packed with insulating Primaloft to trap heat and breathe. Wear these pieces separately or combine them creating an unbeatable combination against winter weather.

layering-main-2.jpgThe most important thing to remember when layering is that you’ll want to add and remove layers throughout the day. If your outdoor adventure starts off wet and chilly, be sure to wear all three layers for ultimate warmth and protection. After your body has adjusted to the cold, you may want to remove your mid layer before you get too toasty. When you stop for lunch or to enjoy the scenery, slip your mid layer back on. If it’s not wet or too windy outside, slip off your unneeded outer shell for maximum comfort. The key is to have all three layers available in your pockets or pack so you can dress for whatever changes the weather holds. Shed a layer. Add a layer. Do what feels most comfortable for you in changing weather conditions.

Next time, we’ll explore pant layers as well as ways to protect your face, head, fingers, and feet against winter’s chill.


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