Best Winter Clothing Tips

Why Wear Layers In Winter?

To keep warm on your next winter vacation, you need our best winter clothing tips on how to wear layers.

To stay warm and continue to sight-see, the easiest way is to wear layers. A 3-layer system is based on wearing a base, middle and an outer layer. You may also wear a shell layer after your outer layer if it is not waterproof or windproof.

Your 3-layer system should protect your body from the outside environment and conditions, whilst allowing for the maximum heat retention. It should be flexible to allow for changing conditions.

Choosing the right clothing for winter is essential to keep you warm and allow you to enjoy your winter vacation.

"When we flew into Norway, we were hit with temperatures below minus 20 degrees Celsius. The only way we were able to enjoy the Christmas Markets and go ice skating was by wearing the right clothing layers. If two Australians can stay warm here, anyone can!" Alex and Gemma

Best Winter Clothing - Base Layer

Your base layer is the first layer of your winter protection and is the layer next to your skin. You must get your base layer correct in order to stay warm in any weather conditions.

Your base layer must be insulative but also moisture wicking. Moisture wicking means that it draws moisture away from your skin. This is vital to keeping you warm. It means if you sweat while skiing, hiking or sightseeing, your base layer will remain dry allowing you to stay warm.

Ideal base layers are merino wool, silk, polypropylene and other various synthetic fibres. If there is one rule to follow - never, ever use cotton as a base layer. It will not matter what you put over the top in an effort to keep warm, you will remain wet and cold.

You may wear light-weight, mid-weight, or heavy-weight base layers depending on the outside conditions. Use light-weight base layers for mild conditions and heavy-weight base layers for extremely cold weather conditions.

Tip: If you do experience excess sweating, followed by a sudden temperature drop - for example you walk uphill then stop for lunch - it helps to maintain your body heat by removing your wet base layer and replacing it with a dry layer.

Best Winter Clothing - Mid-Layers

Your mid-layer goes over your moisture wicking base layer. You may need any number of mid-layers depending on the temperature you are experiencing.

The main purpose of the mid-layer is to provide your body with insulation. Its aim is to trap the warmth coming from your body, by trapping the warm air around your body. So make sure all your items fit correctly or your warm air will escape. Tucking your layers in will help too!

A mid-layer should be thicker than a base layer. Again, do not use cotton it simply does not insulate as well as other fabrics. Some good examples of mid layers include merino wool, a mid weight fleece or polyester.

You will find using several thinner mid-layer articles, like a vest, sweater or jacket, is better than one really thick and heavy garment. It will provide you with more flexibility if the weather changes.

Best Winter Clothing - Outer layer

This should be your thickest insulating layer and your warmest layer. There are many outer layers to choose from. When choosing an outer layer consider the following:
  • Temperature
  • Weight
  • Style
  • Purpose

An outer layer maybe a heavy fleece, a down jacket, soft shell or ski jacket. This is the layer that most people will see and will be in most of your photos when you get home.

Best Winter Clothing - Shell

This is your final layer. It is very important as it protects you from rain and wind. Essentially it is your water proof, wind proof layer which keeps all of your other layers warm and dry. Again there are many features of shells to be considered - weight, durability, length, warmth and waterproofing.

Tip: Although jeans are a fashion statement, they by no means keep you warm! In fact, the fabric of jeans does quite the opposite and becomes very cold. If you must wear jeans in winter, try pairing them with a good quality thermal base layer.

Our clothing for winter advice has helped us stay warm in so many situations. If you do it right, you will be ready for anything mother nature can throw at you!

Make sure you check out our Winter Packing Checklist or our Ski Trip Packing List.

Back to more advice on Travel Packing Checklists.

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