Staying Warm in Winter – Layering 101

                                                          Layering 101
Don’t let the cold keep you inside all winter long. Learn all about layering for the snowy season so you can keep adventuring!

What does layering do? It helps you pick the right clothes for the weather forecast and activity. On top of keeping you warm and dry.

Remember that everyone’s comfy temp is different. I start to get uncomfortable around 0° F, but 6 years ago when I first started I froze in anything under 45° F. Choosing layers will depend on you.

Layer Order

It goes… 1) base layer 2) insulating layer then 3) outer layer.

  • Coat should be well insulated.
  • Socks should be thick.
  • Base layers thinner than outer layers so you have the ability to move around.

Base Layer

As sweat evaporates off your skin, your body begins to cool down. Cold wind on your sweat is also another way to become too cold for comfort.

The base layer’s main job is moisture management, not keeping body heat.

Consider the snow sport and how much you sweat while working out or hiking. Look for clothes that say “moisture wicking.”


  • Merino Wool – low intensity activity.
  • Nylon.
  • Polyester *synthetic materials.


  • Remove moisture.

3 Weight Options

  • Lightweight = moderate to cool temps.
  • Midweight = cold temps.
  • Heavyweight = below freezing temps.

Temps & Base Weight

  • Below freezing = 32° F / 0° C.
  • Cold temps = 32°-46° F / 0°-8° C.
  • Moderate to cool temps = 70°-46° F / 21°-8° C.

Mid Layer

This layer will keep you warm!


  • Down insulated jackets.
  • Polyester fleece – bring a shell layer.
  • Synthetic down jackets.
  • Wind fleece.


  • Insulation – Retain radiated body heat.

Outer Layer

If wind and/or water soak inner layers, you will chill out! And not in a good way. Look for shells that have underarm zips and core vents.

Different Shells

  • Soft shell.
  • Waterproof, breathable shell.
  • Waterproof, non-breathable shell – coated nylon.
  • Water-resistant, breathable shell – woven nylon or polyester fabrics.


Protection from rain, snow, and wind.

Types of Jacket Shells

  • Breathable.
  • Hard Shell.
  • Non-breathable.
  • Stiffer shell.
  • Waterproof.

Hard Shell

Waterproof, breathable, stiffer shell, and non-insulated. Your heat will come from the base and mid layers, not these jackets.

Hybrid Shell

Refers to a variety of jacket constructions. Soft/hard shell combo, waterproof and windproof fabrics on top/front, breathable and flexible fabrics on sides/underneath arms, back. Hard shells and traditional soft shells have more durable fabrics in the front/high-wear areas.

Insulated Layer

Most are water-resistant and breathable. Although some are waterproof and breathable, but they must be sealed. Usually filled with down or synthetic fill.

Soft Shell

Best for high exertion outdoor activities. Insulating layer and a water-resistant shell to make a single piece serving as both mid and outer layer. More breathability, but less protection.

Stay tuned for more tricks and tips! 

Blog by: Alexis Aleve - Life Under Five Two