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Dressing in Layers for Winter or Cold Weather.

Why should you dress in layers? The reason is that you can easily adjust or remove clothing to manage and achieve the best temperature that is comfortable depending on your level of activity or weather conditions to prevent sweating.

When you are in freezing temperatures and you being to sweat heavily, you become wet and heat transfer is greatly increased and can lead to hypothermia. "Sweat Can Kill You" in cold temperatures.

Base Layer:

A high quality base layer is really important part of the layering system. The base layer helps manage the moisture levels and helps wick sweat away from your body. The best materials for base layers are fleece or other synthetic material. Another popular natural material is wool and especially Merino wool, this type of wool is soft and less itchy then traditional wool and can still retain most of your body warmth even when wet. Wool can also be especially good around fires, as they don't melt from sparks or flying embers unlike its synthetic counterpart. Look for long sleeved shirt tops and long johns for the rest of your body.

Do not use cotton material in your base layer as cotton traps the sweat and holds moisture next to your skin. "Cotton Kills" in a survival situation.


The mid-layer is used to protect you from the cold by trapping the heat and keeping it close to your body. Once again fleece or wool clothing is great as a mid-layer and also find clothing that can be zipped up from the front for easy removal or to easily vent off access heat without having to strip off layers.

Shell Layer:

The shell layer keeps out the wind, rain and snow. Shell layers come in a variety of materials and styles; such as windproof fleeces, winter jackets, ski Jackets etc. Also consider breath-ability to help release the moisture. Gortex is one of the newest materials that offer waterproofness and the ability to release the moisture from the inside out.


If you do not protect your fingers, your chances of frostbite will greatly increase with extremely low temperatures and can cause a dangerous situation. You can start off with gloves that are not too thick as you will cover them with larger mittens. The layers system works well here, having the flexibility of gloves; that keeps your fingers protected from the elements and still have the dexterity to do tasks is a bonus when paired up with mittens. Mittens are best for warmth but are limiting in more precise tasks. You essentially are taking the pros and cons of gloves and mittens and making them both pros in the end.


A lot of heat can be lost from your head; so it’s important to have it covered up. Using a toque or head piece with ear flaps (Like the Russian Hats, I forget what they are called) can greatly improve comfort. Other Accessories like a scarf or Merino Wool Balaclava (Ski Mask) to completely cover the face, ears and head. Keep it simple and get it in wool or fleece.

Feet & Legs:

Winter boots are best in winter or sub-zero conditions, Hiking boots are not recommended in winter conditions as they lack the material to keep your feet warm in extended hikes or trips. Socks should again be wool or synthetic. Also consider liner socks; these fitted socks feature fabric technology that lets yarns next to the skin wick moisture to the outer sock to help keep your foot drier and warmer. By allowing some of the friction caused by walking to take place between the liner sock and the main sock, liner socks may also help reduce blistering. Always bring extra socks in waterproof containers or bags as increased activity can create a lot of sweat in the foot area.

You should have a good warm, windproof, snow/waterproof pair of winter pants. Ski pants are ideal for many winter activities and offer an all in one package for protection of your legs. If you don’t have access to ski pants, use thermal wool long johns , fleece jogging pants and some kind of waterproof/wind breaking material to help protect your legs.


The information above is some suggestions on how to dress for winter. Please do more research and do your homework when developing the layer system that works for you. Different situations will require different layering methods.

Thanks again for taking the time to read my blog and I hope this information helps you folks. If you have any suggestion please leave a comment.

Bushman Joe


Anonymous said...

Winter dressing

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