Layering your clothes when going out for a hike or any outdoors activity, is a great way to stay protected, keep warm, or cool down. Winter is a time of the year where you need to be prepared and have a great layering system so you know you’ll stay not only dry but comfortable.
There are three basic layers to consider when planning your outfit for winter hiking.
Firstly, the base layer. Being the first layer, it is next to your skin, and is designed to regulate your body temperature. In winter the base layer will keep you warm and in summer it will keep you cool. It’s all about moisture control. For winter, thermal pants and tops are great and I prefer merino wool thermals. My go to brand for the base layer is Ice Breaker. Wool beanies, gloves and a Buff headwear are fantastic too and something I’ll wear or pack with me, depending on the temperature.
The second layer is the mid layer. This layer is all about warmth and taking any moisture from the base layer, which is known as moisture-wicking. Fleece jackets and vests work really well for a mid layer. Marmot and The North Face are reliable and durable brands for hiking clothes.
The final later is the outer layer, which will give you protection from the elements. Clothing which has been coated with Gor-Tex is my recommendation, as they are generally the most waterproof and windproof. Outer layers can also be lightweight and pack up small, allowing you to put it into your pack until you need it.
For extra warmth a puffy jacket is fantastic. Goose down puffy jackets keeps you warm and I have a Macpac long puffy, which always comes out for my winter hiking.
Once you are prepared with your basic layering you can go out and enjoy a hike in colder and wet conditions. The most important thing is to not let the weather stop you from enjoying the outdoors, especially in winter. Winter can be one of the most enjoyable times of the year to hike as it’s quieter and the landscape is very different from summer.