When it comes to cold weather, remember DRY = WARM. The human body loses heat 32 times faster if it is wet. Luckily, dressing for a cold day just takes a little know-how. Read on for our expert tips.
Think about your activity level
A backcountry hike or cross-country ski is going to turn your body into a convection oven, while riding a lift will be more of a hot and cold interval. Think about whether your activity is aerobic or stop-and-go before you get dressed.
Layer your clothing
If you layer correctly, you can enjoy your activity longer and not have to concern yourself with feeling cold or even hot. And regardless of your budget, there are ways to accomplish this. More on layering below
Wear the right base layer
Sometimes the "warmest" long underwear isn't what you need. If you are engaged in a high-energy, all-out cardio sport, go for a lightweight wickable base layer that will keep you dry. Otherwise, a midweight base layer is great for most purposes. Only in really cold weather or when you're fairly inactive (e.g., camping expedition) do you need a heavyweight base layer.
Add a mid-layer for warmth
Mid-layers add insulation to help retain heat that your body creates, and are worn between the base layer and outer jacket if needed. Examples of insulating mid-layers include a fleece vest, a down sweater, or a synthetic jacket made of PrimaLoft® or Thermore®.
Wear an outer shell
Forget about bulky coats. Wear an outer shell (over your mid-layer) to shed water and snow. Layering will give you more versatility, depending on the weather and your activity. Outerwear that is waterproof with increased breathability will be more adaptable and can help transfer moisture away from your body to keep you dry and protected from the elements.
Look for vents
When you perspire from high-energy activity, moisture builds up inside your outerwear. And jackets or pants do not insulate well when wet. Look for core vents on jackets or thigh vents on pants. Regulating your interior climate will help you stay dry and comfortable.
Connect your outerwear pants to your jacket
A jacket-to-pant connect system keeps out snow and cold, especially on those heavy powder days. I swore by these out in Utah. As well as sealing out wetness, a connect system will prevent the snowskirt on your jacket from riding up. This is a great feature for snowboarding or skiing. All EMS Jackets with snowskirts feature a jacket-to-pant connection. Another great option is a snow bib.
Try on your outerwear
When you try on a jacket or pant, do yourself a favor and move in it - raise up your hands, bend over and touch your toes, squat as if you are fixing your boots. Think about what you want the outerwear to do - cover every inch of your skin in freezing weather? Let you bend your knees to ollie?
Respect the sun
We all wear hats and gloves, but don't forget about your eyes. It's not uncommon for skiers without protective eyewear to burn their eyeballs. And the sun damage can be just as strong on cloudy days. Wear sunglasses or goggles with UV protection, and wear sunscreen and lip balm. Your headwear will also protect your from the sun.
Keep your feet warm
How many times have your feet been way too cold? Wool or wool blend socks are great natural insulators, even when wet. For most cold-weather sports, wear wicking liner socks and midweight synthetic socks. Make sure you fit footwear with heavier socks for more warmth. Footwear that constricts your foot will constrict your blood flow and cause your feet to be cold. Consider gaiters to keep snow/water from coming over the tops of your boots.