Going outside during the winter doesn’t have to be miserable!
You don’t have to wait to enjoy the outdoors until temps are above freezing. Cold weather may require a few wardrobe adaptations, but it can also make for beautiful hikes, fresh ski slopes, rugged camping conditions, and beautiful landscapes in National Parks.
So whether you love the cold, hate it, or have no choice but to go out in it, here are a few tips to help you stay warm when the mercury dips to ridiculously low levels:
When it’s super cold, wear layers -- this is especially important if you’re doing something active where you may break a sweat. You don’t want to under dress and freeze or overdress and melt. Here’s a helpful guide:
- Wear a sweat-wicking base layer. You can still break a sweat in cold temperatures, so your first layer should be made of a sweat-wicking material that will help you toe the line between “sweaty and cold” and “dry and comfortably warm.” It should be decently snug, but not skin-tight.
- A middle layer will do the hard work of insulation. This layer will keep you warm without making you miserably hot. Depending on temperatures and your activity level, a down jacket or fleece pullover are good choices.
Stay dry with a waterproof outer shell. If you’re skiing or hiking through wet conditions, down and fleece will be your worst enemies if you get wet. A breathable, waterproof outer shell layer will keep you dry and help you maintain a comfortable body temperature. A bonus is that this layer can also serve as a windbreaker for when you’re scaling mountains or riding out coastal storms.
Don’t Forget Your Outer Extremities
Don’t neglect to properly protect your fingers, toes, head, ears, and face from the bitter cold, either. There’s nothing worse than fumbling around with frozen fingers or suffering through cold, wet feet on the slopes.
- Lined, waterproof boots or hiking shoes with a pair of warm but breathable socks will keep your feet comfortable. Carry an extra pair of socks to ensure your feet stay dry all day long!
- Sometimes a warm headband around your ears will suffice, but for more intense cold weather, a beanie or a balaclava that cover more of your head, neck, and face will keep you toasty.
- If your plans for the day allow, wear mittens -- your fingers will stay warmer because of their close proximity to each other.
Get Warm Before You Get Cold
Lastly, do what you can in order to warm up before going outside into the chilly air. Sipping a hot beverage can go a long way to warming you up before you leave the house, and it can also help you stay warm once you’re outside (and who doesn’t love to take a stroll with a cup of hot tea or coffee?). And, don’t underestimate the power of hand warmers strategically placed in your gloves or pockets!
Enjoy Winter While it Lasts!
Winter is a great time to get outside and enjoy the outdoors, and in just a few short months, we’ll be lamenting the heat and humidity. Just because the leaves aren’t green doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy incredible views and memorable outdoor activities, especially if snow is involved!
Cold temperatures won’t stop you if you’re prepared to brave the elements in comfort before you head out on your next adventure.