Winter Layering Tips - Part Two



Last week, we explored the basics of layering to help you stay warm and dry in winter weather. THIS is the most important place to start because a warm core sends blood to the rest of your body and helps keep your extremities warmer, too. This week, we offer a few tried and true tips for pant layers in addition to ways to protect your neck, face, fingers, and feet.

2-layer-1.jpgDouble Up On the Bottom
Just like layering for your torso, your legs benefit from more than one layer of protection, too. For your base layer, thermal underwear or tights work best against the skin. These should be flexible so you can move easily. We recommend Smartwool Men’s NTS (next to skin) 250 Bottom as a base layer for your legs. The protection of 100% merino wool will keep your legs toasty in the winter chill.

Polarmax makes women's tights that are comfortable and fashionable, too. Wear them solo or as a base layer. Polarmax Acclimate Dry fabric is moisture-wicking, quick drying, and anti-microbial. These American-made tights also feature Clean Seam sewing that helps reduce friction and irritation when you hit the slopes or the trail. Check out our Polarmax base layer options for men and women HERE.

Next, choose shell layer pants to wear over your base layer to help keep out wind, rain, and snow. The North Face Venture 2 Half Zip Pants are waterproof, breathable, and seam sealed. Made with 100% recycled Hy-Vent nylon, these pants are super comfortable and very lightweight. The elastic waist makes it easier to slip your pants on over your base layer. Best yet, the half-zip along the side of the leg make these pants easier to get on and off over boots.  

2-layer-2.jpgWarmth for Your Noggin, Neck, & Face
We’ve all heard that the majority of body heat escapes through your head. While this myth has been debunked, what’s true is the amount of heat released by any part of the body depends on its surface area. On a cold day, you would lose more heat through an exposed arm or leg. Nonetheless, keeping your head, neck, and face warm is essential for overall comfort, especially in cold and windy conditions.

A simple knit beanie won’t give you the protection you need during a cross-country skiing or snow-shoeing trek. The Dome Perignon Hat by Mountain Hardwear is a great pick thanks to its fleece-lined, full coverage ear band. The band keeps your lobes nice and toasty while the stretch fleece back panel creates a snug performance fit.  Made from incredibly warm jacquard sweater fleece, this hat provides windproof, breathable protection from the elements.

Another excellent option for keeping both your head and ears warm is the Weathered Cotton Sherpa- Lined Ear Flap Cap from Dorfman Pacific. With its rustic, durable shell, and warm Sherpa-style lining, this classic winter hat has a 3-inch brim visor, ear flaps (that can be worn up or down), and an adjustable chin strap ensuring a snug fit. This versatile hat will keep you cozy in all kinds of winter weather.

2-layer-2a.jpgFor your head, neck, and face, outdoor enthusiasts swear by Buff because it’s simply the most versatile and effective article of technical clothing you'll ever own. With over 12 ways to wear the Buff, this soft and breathable headwear keeps you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Made from seamless 100% microfiber, the fabric wicks away moisture and dries quickly, too. No matter how you wear it, Buff headwear is THE must-pack accessory of the outdoors.

Or, keep your head and neck warm with the Chelonia 150 Shellaclava by Turtle Fur. Its double layer fleece wraps around your neck to insulate while you're hiking snow laden backcountry or shredding the slopes. A built-in lightweight hood creates a seamless system to fit under snowboarding helmets, but can also be worn down for a different look.

2-layer-3.jpgProtect Your Hands
Combine a liner with waterproof gloves to give your hands twice the protection for wintry conditions. Smartwool’s Liner Glove is made of a lightweight merino wool and acrylic blend to help insulate your hands. Their touch-screen friendly fingers make it easy to use your smartphone without exposing your hands to the chill.

If you’re hitting the slopes and conditions are nasty, slip on a pair of insulated waterproof gloves over your liner gloves. The Heater Gloves, made by Seirus, has everything! UltraGrip provides the grasp you need on ski poles or re-tying shoe laces; the gauntlet cinch blocks out snow; and the one-handed wrist cuff seals out cold gusts. Keep small essentials like keys and headphones in the stash pocket or insert a heat pack for extra hand warming power. The Heater Gloves are made for men and women.

2-layer-4.jpgInsulate Your Feet
Just like layering for your legs and torso, layering your socks for wintry conditions is a good idea as well. First, use a liner sock that’s small and lightweight to help wick away moisture and keep your feet dry. Second, a wool mid layer sock keeps your feet toasty warm. These two layers will do the trick in most winter weather conditions. If your heading out into exceptionally cold and wet conditions, a third sock that’s made of heavier wool will protect the first two sock layers and help keep your feet warm and dry in the harshest conditions.

Jared at the Mast Store in Knoxville recommends Smartwool Men's Hiking Light Crew: “I have a pair of these socks that are almost 10 years old. I wish I could say that it was for office work, but I have used them entirely in field conditions. I can honestly say that these crew socks have not thinned out, nor have they needed darning. The natural microbial wool keeps from holding odors and maintains softness after every wash.” Pick up a pair of these knit in the USA socks HERE

For additional warmth from feet to calf, Farm to Feet Women’s Mahtomedi Knee High is a solid choice.  Also made in the USA, these socks have a hidden plait construction for durability and circumferential compression from the top of the sock through the arch to create a comfortable fit. Made with Merino wool, these socks are moisture wicking, breathable, odor-, and bacteria-resistant. Get your own HERE.

Layering is a simple concept that makes a big difference in your comfort outdoors. Add layers for more warmth and weather protection. Use fewer layers for warmer conditions or shed them throughout the day. Most importantly, remember to protect yourself from head to toe. A great winter coat may keep your core warm, but it can’t protect all the other parts of your body. Plan to protect your entire body and you’ll be ready to make the most of your next outdoor winter adventure.


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