Layering Hacks For Cold Weather

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Everywhere, winter has arrived, bringing with it cold, snow, ice, and wind. Isn’t it time to close the hatches and hibernate till spring? Certainly not. Winter also brings fewer pests, more open views, and fewer hikers. What to wear hiking in winter?

We’ve developed a list of layering hacks for cold weather to keep you warm, safe, and steady during the winter months to help you stay seasonally prepared. So get a pair of hand warmers and a wool beanie. Come on, let’s go outdoors!

Why dress in layers for winter hiking


When it comes to being warm, comfortable, and safe outside in the winter, layering is a tried and true tactic. Here is why the 3-layer clothing strategy is so effective:

Regulate body temperature

Because your body expends energy to stay warm, you’ll likely burn more calories in colder weather. Carry extra food with you and eat more often. Keep food in pockets that are warm yet accessible so you can get to them quickly when you need them. 

The first reason to think about a 3-layer clothing strategy is to keep your body temperature in check. Hiking in cold weather, for example, generates a lot of heat in the body. 

The layered clothing method helps your body breathe, lowering your body temperature while cold weather hiking. When sweat is trapped on your skin, it is impossible to maintain a cool body temperature.

Tackle changing temperature

Each hiker will benefit from the 3-layer system. The layered approach provides for good adaptability based on personal tastes so that hikers may feel comfortable in a variety of garments. Hikers may wear the materials that feel most comfortable to them rather than needing to wear a single layer that fits everyone.

How to layer for your winter hike

Winter trekking necessitates the use of layers. The more layers you wear, the better your skin can breathe, and hikers can regulate their sweat. In winter trekking, many thin layers are preferable to a single thick one, owing to their capacity to keep you warm without sweating.

How do you dress for winter hiking differs from how you dress for summer hiking? In the winter, when hikers confront severe winds during snow hike and cold temperatures, layers are essential. For winter treks, overdressing in winter hiking clothes is just as harmful as underdressing. This is why mastering the fundamentals of layering is essential for pleasant hiking.

At least three layers of cold weather hiking clothes are recommended for wintertime hiking. These layers need to be sport-specific layers made from lightweight synthetic fibres for quick drying and waterproofing.


Leg Insulation

It’s not difficult to keep your legs warm. To keep your legs warm in the winter, you’ll need two to three pairs of winter hiking trousers. For a first thermal layer with moisture-wicking capabilities, base layer trousers or long johns are appropriate. 

Breathability is best achieved by wearing long thermal underwear. Because these trousers rest on your legs, they absorb sweat rather than trapping it on your skin. As for their synthetic fibres, they readily discharge perspiration. 

During the winter, insulated outer layer pants are appropriate for practically any form of trekking. They may be worn over the top of a base layer. These pants need to be a little roomier to accommodate all of the base and mid-layers you’ll be wearing below.

Good insulated outer layer pants also need to be waterproof. Making your way through high snow is almost impossible otherwise.

Hiking underwear is frequently forgotten. It is, nevertheless, a necessary aspect of keeping your lower body warm and dry. The most delicate hiking underwear is made from a variety of materials. Merino wool, polyester, lycra, and spandex are the most common materials. 

You may use any of these materials since they all perform well in high-intensity activities like hiking. Merino wool, nylon, lycra, spandex, and elastane make most hiking socks. Hiking socks are made with spandex and elastane to help them stretch. 

Because these materials are more particular to base layers, they aren’t always seen in outer layer clothing. To provide enough insulation, hiking socks must sit above the ankle. 

Upper Body Insulation

The upper body’s base layers are comparable to the lower bodies. A garment made of synthetic materials worn near the body will collect and discharge perspiration without retaining it. This base layer also provides thermal protection, which means whatever mid-layer you choose will feel even warmer.

Materials such as Merino wool, synthetics, or down can be used for the insulating layer. Things are important, but the roomier the outer shell has to be, the thicker the mid-layer insulating clothing is. When the temperature is much below freezing, either a heavy insulating layer or two insulating layers that you can juggle as needed should be considered.

It’s better to go for a lightweight outer shell jacket that’s simple to put on and take off. As a result, zippered outer shell jackets are the only option for winter hiking, as you may need to add or remove mid-layer insulating layers as the journey progresses.

Depending on the winter trekking you want to conduct, the outer shell should also be considered. On a day trek, you won’t need the heaviest insulating jacket because it would just slow you down. Multi-day excursions that involve sleeping in a tent outside may need to bring an extra outer jacket with you.


Winter hiking accessories such as hats, gaiters, and gloves are the last layers of clothing. Hats keep your head warm, gaiters keep your feet dry, and gloves keep your hands protected. During winter walks, you’ll want to protect as much flesh as possible.

In the winter, hiking caps must provide thermal insulation. If you pick a non-waterproof hat, you should bring extra hats if it becomes wet during the trek. If your outer shell jacket includes a hoodie, which is usually a bonus when it comes to winter treks, you could explore all sorts of hiking caps.

Gaiters are a must-have for winter hiking layers. When you’re not trudging through heavy snow, you may take them off as required.

Winter hiking gloves can be as thin or as thick as necessary, depending on the situation. However, these gloves will require some form of insulation. Winter hiking gloves must keep your hands warm and dry as foundation layers. Sweaty palms are an issue for nearly every hiker.

What's Next

Winter trekking necessitates the use of layers. When trekking in cold weather, the 3-layer system (base layer, insulating layer, and outer shell) has shown to be useful. Wearing layered gear is beneficial regardless of whether you’re hiking in snow or dry winter weather.

Hiking attire during the winter differs from those for the rest of the year. The 1-layer clothing approach is usually followed when trekking in the summer. In the fall, two layers of clothing are usually sufficient. Hiking garments during the winter are the most complicated since they must deal with regular body heat fluctuations.

Aside from the layered method, appropriate winter hiking footwear is a requirement. If you want to hike in the snow or damp terrains, your boots should have strong insulation and waterproofing. Even if your hiking boots are constructed of waterproof materials, you can need gaiters to keep the snow out in the winter.


[ Also Read: How To Survive Winter In Your RV ]


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Jules and Ken

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