Do you love (or want to try) going on winter adventures, but at the same time dread being cold? Worrying about the cold can hold us back from amazing outdoor adventures like winter camping, spectacular alpine hut trips, or snowshoe trips on chilly days, but it doesn't have to! We can stay warm on long winter adventures, let's find out how!
Layers, Layers, Layers
Get ready to change your clothes more often than a runway model in Paris Fashion week. Being active outside in winter means changing your layers, changing your layers many times! There is no one outfit that can balance the different heat outputs and weather variations throughout the day, so we change layers to match the situation. Some people worry that stopping for a layer change wastes time or inconveniences others, but it doesn't! Layer changes are an important part of outdoor adventures, and we shouldn't skip or delay them.
There are 4 kinds of layers, each with a different job
Wicks moisture away from your body. Merino wool is an amazing material, there are some good synthetic options too. Avoid cotton entirely
Put on your big coat as soon as you stop to trap the heat you’ve built up. Do this even if you feel warm at the start of the break
Get a Heat Boost
Sometimes we just need a little help to keep warm.
Drink warm fluids, and lots of them!
Our best source of heat is our own muscles. We cool down fast when we stop moving, so plan for shorter breaks. Eat lunch over two 15min breaks rather than stopping for a half hour or longer.
Take breaks at the bottom of hills. You'll warm up much faster once you start working hard to get up the hill.
If your core is warm but your fingers are cold, swing your arms in fast windmills. This will push warm blood out to your fingertips.
Moisture comes from two sources; the outside world and our own bodies. We want to avoid both as best we can. The fastest way to get cold is to get wet, so stay as dry as you can!
Outside Moisture: Snow seems determined to get on us, but don't let it! Be diligent about keeping the snow off your clothes. Keep your gloves out of the snow, wear pants or gaiters that keep the snow out of your boots, brush snow off your backpack or person whenever it gets on.
Inside Moisture: Also known as sweat. Learn what your body feels like right before you break out in a sweat, and remove layers, or unzip zippers before then. Don’t delay this change: keep your layers as dry as you can! If you are a person who sweats a lot, consider bringing a spare baselayer to change into midday. Also, try not to spill your hot chocolate on your lap.
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