This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.
It’s already snowed a few times in the midwest, so now is the time to think about how to stay warm during winter adventures. The best way to keep up your body temperature when you’re out hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, or doing anything else outdoors, is to layer properly.
The key to dressing in layers is knowing what each layer looks like and is for.
The base layer is your first layer of clothing, worn next to your skin.
Designed for skiing, Meetyoo’s thermal compression set is a great option for a lower-priced base layer. The moisture wicking, breathable fabric has four-way stretch, making it perfect for any activity.
I love all the bright colors Under Armour’s mockneck longsleeve comes in! This top is made from brushback knit fabric, so it maintains breathability without sacrificing warmth. Four-way stretch and anti-microbial technology mean this top will be comfortable and odor-free through snowshoeing, skiing, or anything else you’re up to.
This Burton Long-Neck Top is made from breathable, wicking fabric to make it super quick-drying. 360° stretch fabric makes it easy to move for outdoor sports and activities. An Agion antimicrobial finish fights odors, so this top will keep smelling fresh no matter how sweaty you get. My favorite thing about this top is that it’s extra long and the sleeves have thumb-holes, so you don’t have to worry about the fabric riding up and exposing skin on those extra cold days.
The mid layer provides warmth and some weather protection. Different materials offer different degrees of warmth and weather protection, so be sure to choose a material that best fits your needs.
Fleece, a common material for a mid layer, is a comfortable, warm, and breathable mid layer, but doesn’t offer as much protection in damp conditions as other materials, such as hardfleece or synthetic fibers.
Amazon Essentials’ Quarter-Zip Polar Fleece is a great lower-priced option for a mid layer. With 18 cute colors and patterns, this top makes it easy to stay stylish without sacrificing warmth.
Columbia’s Basin Trail Fleece Pullover features a cowl neck and toasty warm pockets to keep your neck and hands warm. Made from anti-pill microfleece, this hoodie’s long length means you don’t have to worry about it riding up and leaving your waist exposed.
The North Face Crescent Hooded Pullover is a synthetic fleece made from recycled materials. In addition to being more eco friendly, I love the zippered pockets that provide security for whatever items you’re carrying. Although it’s a warm and heavyweight mid layer, it doesn’t offer much wind protection.
The insulating layer is what’s going to keep you the warmest on the coldest days. The most common materials for an insulating layer are down or synthetics. Down is warmer and more lightweight than synthetics, but doesn’t offer as much protection from the elements.
This Ultra Lightweight Short Down Jacket from Wantdo is filled with 80% duck down and 20% feather insulation. The nylon shell is coated with a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish to keep you dry in the snow. Elastic bands on the waist and wrist cuffs keep the warmth in. This jacket also features an interior pocket and a loop on the left shoulder designed to keep your earbuds easily accessible. This compact jacket can be packed down into an included pouch for easy storage.
Columbia’s Lake 22 Down Jacket features down insulation and a water-resistant shell, keeping you warm and dry. The Heat Seal construction keeps the down filling from migrating, so every inch of this jacket will maintain warmth through any outdoor adventure.
The North Face Thermoball Jacket is water-resistant and has secure zippers and elastic wrist cuffs to keep out the cold. This jacket is also compact enough that it can be packed into its own hand pocket, perfect for those winter hiking trips when extra layers are necessary, but can be a hassle to carry.
Outer Shell Layer
A weather protective layer, the outer shell layer is what keeps you dry in the snow or rain and protects from harsh winds.
This Wantdo Ski Jacket has a water repellent coating and a drawcord waist and hood to keep in warmth. An internal pocket is designed to keep your earbuds easily accessible.
Columbia’s Kruser Ridge II Softshell Jacket features comfort stretch technology and is water and wind resistant, perfect for any outdoor adventure.
The Arc’teryx Nodin Jacket is designed with minimalism in mind. It’s ultralight, fitting perfectly into any pack or bag when you don’t need it. A pouch in the collar keeps the hood out of the way when not in use. The 20D Tyono™ fabric keeps the jacket breathable while still providing protection from the wind, and a DWR coating keeps you dry.
You don’t need to have every single one of these layers in every outfit you wear outdoors. Sometimes you may not need an insulating layer between your mid layer and your outer shell layer, and sometimes you’ll be fine wearing just a base layer and a mid layer. The key is in making sure to check the weather and dress appropriately to stay safe and have fun on every adventure.