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Warm Clothes and Cold Weather

Updated on December 22, 2009

Winter Clothing, What To Wear?

The best gifts I get are the ones I use. My Wife is forever trying to find something I want, that she wants to buy. Well, winter clothing satisfies both our wants. The real trick to warm clothing isn't the outer layers that everybody sees, it's the under layers that determine whether you'll be a freezing block of ice or warm and snug. As I get older, I find that no longer do I want to sit out in woods all day in blue jeans, tennis shoes and a couple of flannel shirts when the thermometer goes south of freezing. So I have started concentrating more and more on comfort, and being warm is essential to comfort in the Winter.

When it's cold out, it's absolutely essential to control two things, body heat retention and evaporation of moisture. The best way to do this is with simple layering of your clothing. Pick an underwear that fits snug to the body and has excellent moisture wicking properties. Because it's the moisture coming off your body from perspiration that can chill you to the bone. You have to remove this moisture somehow and it has to be done constantly, or you will be forever cold.

My choice used to be snug fitting silk long johns but I have entered into the 21st century and am now using products from Arcticshield, Redhead and UnderArmour. Each of these companies offers base layers with outstanding wicking properties and even have scent control technology woven into the fabric.

For a base layer to work properly, it must fit very close to the skin. Not so tight as to restrict blood flow, this will make you even colder, but there should be no loose fabric and the garment should be slightly stretched while wearing. This ensures that you will get the maximum benefit from the wicking properties of the fabric and will be warm and dry for days on end if need be.

Over the base layer you should wear a light layer that can be used for outerwear as well. This layer will be determined by your activities for the day. If you go to work in an office, then you can wear regular business attire even. The wicking properties of these base layers not only keep your warm, but will also keep you cool. Many people will wear a wicking base layer year round and find that even the hottest days are more comfortable when the perspiration is pulled off their body immediately.

The next layer will be your outer layer and here again you have to choose based on the conditions you'll face. If I'm hunting, I usually will wear water-proof insulated over-alls and a water-proof insulated coat that comes about to mid thigh. But you may not be sitting in a deer or duck blind for hours and hours so choose whatever suits your day's activity and the current weather.

For your feet, I find that silk is a wonderful base layer. Nothing really feels so good against your feet all day as silk. Another option I use are compression stockings. These aid in the flow of blood and help to prevent fatigue. Wear some compression stockings for a few days and then go without them and see the difference in how your legs feel. You'll be surprised at the difference. Over either the silk or compression stockings I will wear wool. Wool socks come in a wide variety of weights and styles, suitable for any type of dress. You never see a cold sheep, and you'll not see cold feet when you combine silk and wool.

Hats, gloves and scarves are largely going to depend upon your day's activities. I like wool scarves when hunting because I can use them to fill in any area where the wind is getting to and still be able to turn my head without moving my body. But hats, gloves and scarves are just going to have to picked to match what you're doing that day.

So remember, to stay warm in the Winter, start with what you wear under your clothes. High-tech underwear isn't just for Hunters and other outdoorsmen or for people who earn their living working outside. You can be comfortable between the house and work and all day in the office by simply choosing the proper base layers.


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  • DonnaCSmith profile image

    Donna Campbell Smith 8 years ago from Central North Carolina

    Thanks for the info! I just might invest in some of that underwear. My favorite winter barn attire was my polar fleece vest - kept me warm with freedom of movement. I miss that vest!