Winter Layering to Help Maximize Your Outdoor Fun

There's no reason to retreat indoors when the snow flies and the temperatures drop. To get the most out of your time outside, take advantage of the benefits layering provide. The concept is simple - insulating your body whilst keeping dry and comfortable. Layers provide extra warmth when needed and can be taken off during times of higher physical exertion. Whether hitting the slopes, hiking through the back country or taking to the ice, the same basic rules apply.

Base Layer

This is where you start and it's important to get it right. No matter how cold outside, the base layer should be light and snug on the body with long sleeves.

  • You want a fabric that wicks away moisture to the other layers and ultimately away from your body. Some of the most common materials for a base are merino wool, polyester and polypropylene. Remember, getting wet is more than just being cold. If you sweat and keep the moisture next to you, hypothermia can set in quickly when you stop to rest.
  •  Look for additional features that include antibacterial fibre to help eliminate odours and flat seams to avoid chafing.

Mid Layer

This is the primary insulating layer that functions to wick away moisture while holding in warmth. It should be easy to remove so that you can change your clothing to match your aerobic output. Don't forget to add the mid layer back once you slow down.

  • Can be made from down, synthetic insulation, wool, polyester or fleece.
  • Each fabric has its benefits and are designed to increase comfort and functionality.
  • You want something that dries quick and stays breathable.


This is the layer that completes your outdoor cold weather look. Just like your roof and walls protect your house and allow the insulation to work properly, the shell is meant to shield what's inside. There are several types, each meant to bring the best in protection and comfort in a wide variety of conditions. There are various technologies in quality shells that work to keep you dry and protected from the elements so you can focus on what you're doing.

  • These include outer shell, insulated shell, soft shell and rain gear. Compare the features of each to decide which is best for your active lifestyle.
  • Shells are frequently made to be waterproof or water resistant.
  • DWR is a specific finish technology that forces water to bead by adding microscopic fibres which stand up to water molecules, forcing them to bead up and run off.

The Whole Package

Layering is part of a process that works best when each component is complimenting the others. It's also important to remember things like good-fitting gloves with adequate dexterity along with foot, face and head protection. They should all come together without gaps that expose skin to the elements.


This article and post is designed for educational purposes only. When participating in any exercise or exercise program, there is a possibility of physical injury. Please consult with a doctor prior to engaging in any exercise or exercise program. The use of any information provided is solely at your own risk. Product selection is an individual choice and the consumer is responsible for determining whether or not any product is suitable based on the consumer’s circumstances.