How to Dress Warm in Extreme Cold Weather

How do you dress for the cold weather. How do you prepare yourself, how do you put on clothing and find clothing that’s gonna work when it is very cold outside.

I’m gonna break up my talk into six parts.

We’re gonna have two base layers, two insulating layers and then two protective layers.

In regard to the protective layers, you’re not going to have to wear both, although you can bring them together and you can interchange them.

I want to give a quick overview so that you can go out there and you can make some smart purchasing decisions and make sure you buy clothing that actually works.

Base Layer

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I’m going to start off with the base layer.

The most important thing with the clothing that is next to your body is it wicks away sweat. If you layer properly and if you’re dressed warm, you may find yourself in a situation where you’re starting to sweat.

I used to climb mountains during the winter and when you’re climbing up a high mountain that’s a lot of work and you would start to sweat.

The way I would manage it is I would break it up and I would take rest as I was going up so that I didn’t overheat. But I always made sure that my underwear, both my undershirts and my briefs and then my thermal underwear were wicking, that it would pull moisture from the body.

So you want to make sure you’re using the right material.

Cotton is something you need to be really careful of, especially if it’s not a more modern weave. That’s going to work okay, but I like to go with some of the performance fibers and a lot of these are man-made and you just want to make sure that they have wicking properties.

There’s a Polartec poly fleece that I’ve used in the past that comes out of Malden Mills. It specifically says that it will pull moisture from the body and it does.

Wool is really nice. Icebreakers is a really nice brand, a little bit pricey but worth it if you’re spending a lot of time out there, because this long thermal underwear is going to do a good job of again wicking away moisture from your body.

Insulating Layer


Let’s go to the insulating layer.

The insulating layer is all about not only trapping in the heat but making sure the cold doesn’t come in.

What I mean by insulation is all about not allowing energy to transfer in or out. In the same way your cooler keeps ice cold in throughout the day. Even your house got insulation in the siding and that basically keeps the cold out, keeps the heat in.

That’s what you want with that insulating layer.

You want to make sure you look at wools, cotton not so much.

You want to be looking some synthetic fibers. they do a great job, especially the modern fleeces. Those are a great alternative to the luxury fabrics. Wools, cashmeres, all of these animal fibers are usually pretty expensive, so an alternative is to look at these fibers.

You can also bring in down vests, down jackets.

At this point we don’t necessarily have to have wind proof, although having a windproof layer in your insulating layer is a great thing, especially if you’re going to be in high winds, it’s good idea to have two layers of wind resistant material.

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Outer Shell

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Now we’re moving to the outer shell.

Now we’re getting into the protective layer. The protective layer is all about stopping the wind and dealing with the elements. You may be dealing with snow, you may be dealing with sleet or rain, or just conditions in which you want to make sure that wind is not able to pierce.

I really like full-body bibs as one of the protective outer layers. They’re insulated and they’re wind resistant because they use a very tight weave fabric.

You’ll want to wear a shell at least. There are also some heavier parkas or duffle coats, which not only are wind proof shells, but also have an insulating property.

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Don’t forget your feet.

You’re gonna want to make sure that you’ve got a snow boot or a winter all-purpose boot. Those usually gonna have a good amount of room off of the ground.

You don’t want anything that has almost no room between your feet and the ground. That’s not what you want, because a lot of cold is going to transfer directly from the ground.

Another thing pay attention to every part.

You want to cover all parts of your body. You can have a full body of ski mask using goggles. In extreme cold weather, you want to protect your eyes.

I really like ushankas, they do a great job and make sure you get one that’s a bit heavier duty, wrapping around and tying it off with a scarf.

Also, looking for any double gloves, so having under gloves with larger gloves on top or mittens. Mittens are really nice because they allow the fingers to touch each other and the transfer warmth between each other.

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Last thing you may want to look at if you’re gonna be outside quite a bit are little hand warmers. They only last a few hours but we always like them.

Make sure that the clothing fits you, because you want to be able to function. You want to be able to move. So don’t overdo it. Measure it.

In the ends, one of he best ways to stay warm in very cold weather is battery heated clothing.

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