With winter in full swing, a lot of us don’t want to let the cold weather stop us from getting outside. When it comes to preparing for cold weather activities, it’s so important to be ready for the various elements that the mountain climate will throw at you. There’s nothing worse than being freezing to the point that you’re no longer having fun.
So, where do we start?
I’ve put together a quick summary of my favourite layering system to help you stay warm on your next cold weather outing!
The first step to layering for cold weather is choosing the right baselayer. Your baselayer is worn next to skin and its job is to wick away sweat. Baselayers can be tricky because the majority of them are made from merino wool. Merino wool is hard to escape in the outdoor industry but the times are a-changing and there are some amazing alternatives on the rise!
As I transition into cruelty free athletic wear, I’ve discovered that bamboo is such a great fabric alternative. I particularly like BAM Bamboo Clothing’s baselayers because they perform much like merino wool baselayers. Bamboo is super warm, fast drying, and sweat wicking.
Alternatively, I absolutely love Lululemon’s Swiftly Speed Long Sleeve. It’s a staple of mine, especially for multi-day activities because it has anti-stink properties and is hella breathable. I actually wear this baselayer year round because it doubles as an awesome hiking shirt.
I typically cycle through a combination of midlayers depending on the activity. Arc’teryx produces fabulous synthetic midlayers that are incredibly warm and easy to layer.
My favourites include:
The Atom LT Vest this vest is my go-to. The vest keeps your core nice and warm without overheating you like a down vest might. This is particularly helpful while skiing/snowshoeing/hiking. I can guarantee you I always have this vest on when I’m doing any kind of activity outside.
Additionally, I am obsessed with the Atom LT as a layering piece. Its warm insulation, breathability, and water resistance make it such a good cold weather midlayer. I actually often pair the Atom LT Vest with the Atom LT.
Thank god the days of down jackets are behind us and that companies like Arc’teryx have created innovative alternatives. I used to always pack a puffy jacket with me on my adventures just incase I needed to lock in the heat on those exceptionally cold days. Now, the Proton LT is my go to which involves zero animals. The Proton LT is incredibly warm for a midlayer, you can get away with wearing it down to -10 degrees celsius. It’s breathable and durable.
If you enjoy cold weather running, I love wearing the Gaea Jacket on top of my baselayer. It’s such a good cold weather training jacket. You can literally see the ventilation process and watch the sweat wick away from your body, kind of gross but fascinating.
A quality shell is the piece that will complete your layering system. A good shell will be completely waterproof, windproof, and breathable.
There’s some extremely good outerlayers on the market, but I personally believe Arc’teryx makes the best shells.
Arc’teryx’s Beta SV Shell is my favourite because it’s an absolute beast. The jacket is super versatile and truly can perform in extreme environments. The Beta SV is waterproof, windproof, breathable, and comfortable. The jacket is so hardcore, you can wear it for all types of mountain activities- hiking, skiing, etc and I promise its durability will withstand the test of time.