How to Layer for Winter


Road covered in snow and lined with snow covered trees

The cold weather is fast approaching, and figuring out that sweet spot of how to dress for winter runs, hikes, or other activities can be tricky. The mantra is “layer, layer, layer,” but what does that mean? We’ve all gone out in too much or not enough. Either way is miserable. You’re either boiling (and often damp) or freezing. What is “just right”?

This post will cover 3 things to keep in mind when layering for cold weather runs, hikes, and other activities.

Think light

Lightweight is essential in layering for cold weather exercise. While that big puffy down coat keeps you toasty while standing still, you will roast if you run or even hike in it. Even on the coldest, cloudiest days, you will warm up. You may not think so the first 10 minutes or so, but you will. And if it’s sunny, you may warm up more than you think. Lightweight, thin layers let you adjust bit by bit.

Throw a tank top under a long sleeve or a t-shirt over one to help keep your trunk a bit warmer for those sunny cold days, just don’t forget gloves. For the coldest days, layer a light fleece or vest, whatever your preference.  

Tip: You can find innovative fabrics like Mizuno’s Breath Thermo or Smartwool’s base layers made of a Merino Wool blend to provide warmth in a lightweight fabric.

Consider ease

When dressing in layers, we sometimes forget about taking them off. Can you tie it around your waist or put it in your pack? Are you looping somewhere near your car or another place you can dump them? Are you pushing a stroller you can just pop it in? You want to avoid having to carry your extra layers, which gets cumbersome and annoying.

This is where vests can get tricky. The lack of sleeves means you can’t tie it around your waist. If you think you may need to take it off mid-excursion, find a place to drop it. For jackets, make sure to zip them up before tying it around your waist, and you’ll have less flapping around you.

Tip: If you run or hike with a medium-sized dog or larger, get them a backpack like these from Outward Hound, and they can help carry your extra layers and gear.

Remember extremities

Layering doesn’t stop with your trunk. Layering your headwear, gloves, and socks can help as well. For your head, wear a sweatband under a knit hat or a tube band over a trucker hat. This trick can help keep your ears warm as well. Just make sure to use a wide headband, like our Bamboo Jersey Lined Sweatbands.

Cold hands on a run or hike are the worst, especially for those who suffer from Raynaud’s. Latex gloves underneath your usual ones will help you retain heat and keep sweaty hands from getting your gloves wet. You can also find glove/mitten combinations where you can pull back the mitten part if you want.

Tip: You can layer one of our BAMs over a sweatband, and when you warm up, take the BAM off and you have something to wipe your face, cover your neck, etc.

 

Two white women dressed for trail running on a leaf covered trail, wearing Ponya Bands.

 

Don’t let the cold temperatures and gray days rob you of the chance to get outside and get active. Find your perfect combination of layers, and hit the pavement or dirt. Just think light and easy and don’t forget those heads and hands! What is your favorite piece to layer with for winter? Tell us in the comments below!

 


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