Choosing the right cold weather gear

Outdoor Health and Fitness
Choosing the right cold weather gear

You may think you’re all set to go on an outdoor adventure in any weather conditions with that one great jacket you have, but before you go plowing down the side of a mountain or belaying your bud on the ice, make sure you’ve got the right extreme cold weather clothing.

When deciding what to wear, keep in mind the amount of energy you’ll be exerting. If you’re doing a high activity sport like an intense hike through the backcountry or cross country skiing, you’ll be sweating buckets in no time if you overdress. Conversely, if you’ll be spending time on a lift, remember that sitting still for 10 minutes will allow the cold to creep in.

The best way to prepare for all scenarios is to dress in layers. To start, put on the right base layer, which should be tight fitting long underwear or other wicking clothing. Stay away from cotton for this layer, which will absorb sweat and hold it, giving you the chills in no time. Be sure to throw in a middle insulating layer, which is typically some form of medium weight fleece, down or a jacket stuffed within any of the new, amazing other synthetic materials, such a PrimaLoft.

On top of all this, wear waterproof/breathable outer shell that will keep rain and snow out while letting moisture escape. It’s a revolutionary technology that eliminates the need for heavy coats, and gives you the option of de-layering if you get too hot.

With all this talk of layering, don’t forget your feet. In addition to a good pair of hiking boots, wear some insulated socks, like Smartwool. These are certain to keep your toes toasty and dry through any cold weather mess.

If you suit up nicely this winter, you’ll find the right outdoor gear can make all the difference.

Chris Davis


Although Christopher Dodge Davis grew up wrangling the copperheads of the East Texas woods, he's now made Boston his new home, and is determined to conquer the peaks of the East. Since moving, he's enjoyed hiking any trail within a weekend's drive, bouldering in the New Hampshire woods and backpacking sections of the AT, the Long Trail and other must-do hikes. Armed with a degree in English, you'll often find him sitting atop a peak, pencil in hand, unabashedly trying to channel the likes of Thoreau and other long-winded New Englanders.

1 Comment

  1. January 9, 2013, 6:39 am

    Get a wool watch cap and a neck gaiter or scarf you can make a face wrap with. Get some light polypro or wool glove liners and a pair of fleece mittens. I’d also have a pair of very warm socks to wear around in camp that don’t make the hiking day use. Something to stick on after you stop hiking to help keep the feet warm. I’d also go ahead and get some light rain pants. You will probably send them home later. Last thing, for some extra leg insulation you may want one more layer of fleece or something like that. I always like to reccomend Army surplus field pants liners because the are warm, cheap, pack down small, and are lighter than the same level of thickness in fleece. You can keep them around until you know how well you will handel the cold weather then you can send them home if you like.

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