Whether it is running from your front door to your car, or spending some quality time in the great outdoors, in the upper Midwest in the winter, you need some serious winter gear. In this article we’ll be exploring how to dress for extreme cold but since we’ll be layering up, this is a handy guide for general winter wear.
Before we begin exploring all the great options for keeping warm, let’s do a little layering for wintry weather 101:
- Layer one is the base layer – This layer is the one that touches your skin. While bulking up is tempting, keep your base layer light and super comfortable. This layer should fit snuggly to your skin and when possible, consider styles with thumbholes to prevent your sleeves from riding up and to keep the wind out. Look for quick drying or moister wicking type materials. Cotton is great for breathability and comfort, but it isn’t great for moisture wicking. Consider Polyester, merino wool, or silk for the base layer.
- The second layer is the mid layer – This might consist of hooded sweatshirts, midweight jackets, thermal underwear, or jeans. (This layer really depends on your activity and whether you may have to take off the outer layer and be seen in the mid layer.) This layer should be made of polyester, wool, or a poly/wool blend.
- Layer three is simply a good, hooded jacket – The puff jacket with down or down alternative is a fitting example for the third layer. Be sure the hood can be securelytightened against your face.
- Layer four is the outer layer – Each layer plays a vital role, and this layer is all about dealing with Mother Nature and the elements. Breathable fabric that is waterproof is your best bet. Don’t forget when buying your outer layer to consider all the layers you will have on below it for sizing purposes.
Now that we’ve got layering down, let’s get into the details of some great items to have in your chilly weather apparel arsenal.
- Thermal underwear or long underwear – A nice comfortable set of long underwear is such a great base layer. Since they are light, they can be worn under pants at work or in the wild, either way you’ll have the benefit of added warmth. Be sure to use breathable and wicking type fabrics for your base layer.
- Quality Socks & Boots – Warm feet make a dramatic difference
when you’re out in the cold. Invest in some wool socks or poly/wool socks and a great pair of winter boots. Make sure your winter boots have a good liner made of several layers if possible and they must be waterproof. Consider the height you’ll need to keep snow from sneaking in over the top, especially if you’re not wearing snow pants. Many boots now feature a guide to how many degrees below zero the boot is made for.
- Hat – There are a lot of options available in winter hats, from the traditional wool beanie to the over-the-ears flap hat. Wool is your friend in winter and keeps your noggin warm, but with today’s technology, there are a wide variety of solid choices for hats, even recycled materials. Keep in mind that wool when wet isn’t a good thing, so a waterproof or resistant shell on your wool items is beneficial.
- Neck gaiter or neck tube scarf – Trust us, you need this in your life. Neck gaiters fit snuggly around the neck and are excellent at keeping your neck nice and warm plus it prevents cool breezes and/or snow from creeping down the front of your jacket. The bonus is you can pull them up to cover your face in extreme weather.
- Gloves/mittens – We use our hands for so much that keeping them warm is important. Choosing your hand warmers is equally important. There is a vast variety of options, leather, synthetics, wool, fleece, and everything in between. We highly recommend having a variety of options, choosing the right choice based on the length of time spent outside and the dexterity you will need.
- Jacket – When it comes to your winter jacket, or the outer layer of your winter layering system, there are two key factors, waterproof and breathable. All the other layers need to stay dry to keep warm, so always be sure that the outer layer is waterproof or at the very least water resistant. This layer should also be breathable. If the under layers are wicking material it means it is pulling any moisture away from your skin, but if your outer layer isn’t breathable, that moisture has nowhere to go.
- Snow pants or bibs – Just like your jacket, the snow pants/bib is an outer layer that should be breathable and waterproof. The snow bib offers great extra benefits by adding another layer to your core and ensuring that you never have that open gap for frigid air or snow to sneak in between your jacket and your pants.
We do have a few honorable mentions as well for keeping yourself warm in the winter.
- Hand Warmers – There are a variety available from disposable to rechargeable. Keep your hands warm and ward off frostbite, yes please!
- Heated jacket, gloves, socks – even insoles! Let’s start by talking about heated jackets and vests. When you keep your core warm it literally keeps your blood warmer in your body and safer in the cold. The same goes for all the other apparel items that are heated, but the core heat is what can make the biggest difference. Most of these items have a rechargeable battery that plugs right into the heated apparel item.
Mimbach Fleet & Supply has a full supply of all the things you’ll need to stay warm this winter. You’ll find high quality brands such as Carhartt, CAT, Ariat, Silver, Ely Cattleman, Polar King, Key, Mossy Oak, Five Brothers, Full Blue and many more. Not sure what the best choices for your winter wear are? Our dedicated and knowledgeable staff, who are employee owners, are committed to helping you find exactly what you’ll need to stay toasty warm this winter.