Layering Winter Wear for Warmth — Introduction

Staying warm outdoors in winter is all about layers. Layering winter wear for warmth is simple once you know the tricks:

  • a thin, non-absorbent, moisture-wicking, and fast-drying base layer that fits snug to the skin;
  • a loose insulating layer in the middle;
  • a warm, breathable, and protective layer on the outside.

From toe to head and inside-outwards, here’s how I do it.

Layering winter wear for warmth is important when snowshoeing, like during this outing on Lac Clair in French River.
Snowshoeing on Lac Clair in French River

Layering Winter Wear For Warmth On Your Feet

  • thin base layer socks
  • thick insulating socks
  • well-insulated winter boots

Layering Winter Wear For Warmth On Your Legs

  • wool leggings
  • water-repellent field pants
  • insulated windproof pants

Layering Winter Wear For Warmth On Your Core

  • base layer with mock neck
  • loose long sleeve shirt
  • loose hoodie sweater
  • hoodie winter coat

Layering Winter Wear For Warmth On Your Head

  • wool toque
  • hoodie from sweater
  • hoodie from coat

Layering Winter Wear For Warmth On Your Hands

  • thin, stretchy gloves
  • thick, insulated gloves

Notes On Layering Winter Wear For Warmth

  1. I could keep my legs way warmer, but that would be too much for me. I do great at keeping my core and extremities warm, and my legs never really get cold. So I don’t find that I need snow pants, nor even a warmer insulating layer, especially since I got the wool leggings this year. That’s made a big difference over the regular cotton-spandex leggings I used to wear.

  2. I wear two mid-layers around my core. If it’s a warmer day, I’ll choose a zip-up hoodie sweater which I can unzip to allow venting if I get too hot. I choose a pullover hoodie when it’s really cold.

  3. I find it unnecessary to layer my gloves, and besides, it sometimes gets too tight on my wrists and cuts off my circulation. I use thick gloves while snowshoeing, and I switch to thin gloves while taking pictures.

  4. I use my coat to cover more of my neck if I need more protection than provided by my mock neck shirt. I find scarves too bulky.

  5. I don’t bother with anything for my face since I just won’t go out if it’s that cold — lol! Besides, my glasses get all foggy when my nose or mouth are covered, regardless of air holes…

Hopefully these tips will be helpful with layering winter wear for warmth!

Beyond Layering Winter Wear For Warmth

There’s more to maintaining body temperature in the winter than properly layering winter wear for warmth, though. Here are a few important things to remember.

  1. Eat: Calories equal energy equal heat!

  2. Drink water: Cold air draws moisture from a warm body, and dehydration weakens the body’s ability to regenerate heat.

  3. Urinate: The body focuses heat on the core to prevent internal organs from freezing, and it works overtime if the bladder is full.

  4. Keep moving: Create your own heat naturally by keeping your circulation and metabolism going.

When Layering Winter Wear For Warmth Isn’t Enough

I’m the type of person who takes precautionary measures. So for a bit of added peace of mind if you’re heading into the backcountry, here are a few lightweight but key emergency items to bring along. These should fit right in your pockets.

  • hand warmer (disposable heat packets)
  • emergency blanket (reflective blanket)
  • fire starter (waterproof fire sticks or similar)
  • waterproof matches
Emergency winter gear (clockwise from left): water bottle, hand warmer, emergency blanket, protein bar, fire starter, waterproof matches.

More Info On Layering Winter Wear For Warmth

Happy snowshoeing!

* BTW: So the stuff in the pictures doesn’t look brand new? Even, it looks a little worn, possibly dirty, perhaps torn? It is! It’s all mine, and I make frequent use of it (winky face).


4 Thoughts on “Layering Winter Wear for Warmth

  1. Dan Gani:

    So interesting I live in the states I own a place on the first lake laclair lake next too CATFISH LAKE Barbotte looking at your Picts I’m learning more on that new sign they put up in sept 13 abought going back in that set of woods they put at what the changes are adapt too been back there many of times my grand father and Dad use too portage back from our lake too catfish lake 1948 still left alone how nice with logging roads know

    1. I’m glad my posts are bringing back some memories!

  2. H. Charal:

    Good information. Lucky me I ran across your site by accident (stumbleupon).

    I’ve saved it for later!