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Essential Cold Weather Gear.

Updated on January 12, 2012

Stay Warm With Layering

I don't know about you but where I live here in the Upper Mid-West, it's starting to get chilly outside. One trick I've learned, often through mistakes, was to carefully choose quality clothing layers when venturing outdoors. Any time spent outside can be so much more comfortable if you invest in quality base layers. I've learned the hard way when I don't take the time to think about what I wear before I go out, I get miserable pretty quick. Let's look at the foundation for layering.

1. Thermal Underwear.

This stuff is important. Ever spend any amount of time outdoors and you'd understand just how vital quality thermal underwear can be. Specifically Merino Wool thermals. Now before you go on to say that wool is the pitts for wear against the skin hear me out. The new Merino Wool manufacturers are coming out with nowadays has none of the characteristics of regular wool. It's of such fine weave and texture I can assure you that this stuff rocks! No itch or irritation against your bare skin and it's much better at wicking moisture than cotton and just as good if not better than polypropylene. Plus you have the added satisfaction of knowing that the garment was made from renewable resources.

2. The middle or intermediate layer.

If the mercury dips below freezing but not too far, an intermediate layer of a light jacket or windbreaker will suffice. It goes without saying that you'd be wearing pants and a shirt over the fine Merino Wool thermals. I just go with jeans and a flannel shirt much of the time. Add to this your light fleece jacket, your going to be set for almost any outside activity. But when that thermometer crashes to below 0 degrees, get ready for the heavy hardware.......the parka.

3. Heavy Outer Coat.

Between January and early March up here, It'll get down right frigid! And when it does, those intermediate layers just arn't enough. I've been caught outside for longer than I had planned on and not having my parka could have been detrimental to my health if you know what I mean! Wearing my parka has made all the difference on those chilly days. You'll want to choose one that's water and wind proof, has a hood, zipper closures and outer pockets. No sense in not having a place to put your winter gloves. No pockets on the outside equals having to open the darned thing to fish them out. Not good when the wind is howling. Speaking of Winter gloves.........

4. Winter Gloves.

Been without those too. Sported all my layers and had to walk a couple of miles outside and without my gloves, walking those two miles sucked. You know how uncomfortable walking a long ways is with your hands stuffed into your coat pockets? Unable to swing your arms naturally when walking can quickly become drudgery. My winter gloves keep my hands warm and allow me to walk naturally for quite a ways.

I've covered the basics as far as layering goes. Of course cold weather accessory options are wide and varied. From hats, scarves and mittens, you have many good options available but for now these three will give you some idea of what to shop for when your ready to venture out on your next expedition.


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