How to dress for winter activities

I’m sitting here, still freezing from my trip to the dog park this morning realizing just how important cold weather gear is. In case you didn’t know, cold weather gear is VERY important. In my last blog post I said that one of the best ways to stop hating winter is to get out and play in the snow; now that only works if you are dressed for it. So I have put together a list of cold weather gear that will make your snowy adventures significantly more enjoyable. The key to a great winter wardrobe is layers, always make sure that you have the ability to take off one layer if you get too hot but that you won’t get too cold when you do.  Here is a list of the winter gear that I always keep around.

Let’s start at the closest to the skin layers and work our way out.  

Wool socks:  The first thing I do when I’m getting dressed for cold weather is put on my favorite pair of Wool Socks. There are lots of options, just make sure that you have something nice and warm on your feet.  Wool is my go to because it is moisture wicking so if my feet sweat they don’t freeze

Undergarments:  Just like with socks you want to make sure that your under garments are moisture wicking.  If you have something close to your skin that gets wet and stays wet it will make for a cold miserable day in the snow.

Base layers: You want to make sure that anything touching your skin is moisture wicking.  I like to wear Smartwool leggings and a moisture wicking long sleeve top. Often my top will have sleeves that are longer and have thumb holes so that it also covers part of my hand.

Vest or light jacket:  I run a little on the warmer side so I often will just wear a vest or a light jacket when I run even with temperatures down to the twenties as long as it isn’t too windy.  If you tend to be a little colder then you might want something a little heavier. The important thing to remember here though is that you don’t want your outer layer to be too tight.  You want something that has a little space for dead air (space between your base layer and the outer layer that your body can warm up and that air in turn helps keep you warm.)

Hats: I don’t actually wear a hat most of the time because I wear a ponytail or bun and it doesn’t fit under a hat.  I like to wear a fleece headband. What every you chose it is important that you cover your ears.

Gloves or mittens: I typically wear light gloves as long as I don’t expect to actually play in the snow.  Now if I’m going out for a snowball fight or building a snowman I always wear Gortex gloves which are breathable and waterproof. Also keep in mind that mittens will be much warmer than gloves, so those are an option too.

Boots and shoes:  The same goes for your feet.  Try out a pair of Gortex boots or shoes for your winter activities to keep your feet dry.

Neck gaiter:  This is important, often when you do activities outside that have you breathing heavy it hurts your lungs, that’s where a neck gaiter comes in handy.  Buy a neck gaiter and keep it up over your mouth and nose it will help keep the air you’re breathing a little warmer so that it doesn’t hurt to breathe.

I know this seems like a lot of gear, and it is, but I promise it will make your outdoor adventures so much better!  After all of these things I do still have 2 more pieces of gear that I wear if I’m going to be rolling around in the snow and that is my snow pants and winter coat.  You want these outer layers to be waterproof and you don’t want them to fit too tight because you want that dead space for warm air.

Now get out the appropriate winter gear and go play in the snow!

Erika Andersen