How to Manage Your Winter Clothing Layers

December 28, 2017
winter clothing layers
Cait BourgaultVisitor’s to AMC’s Gorman Chairback Lodge and Cabins dry their winter clothing layers between outdoor adventures.

Sweat is your nemesis on cold-weather adventures. Perspire heavily, and your damp clothing will steal precious body heat. Minimize this risk—and your sweat—with the following techniques.

  • HIKE SLOW AND STEADY NOT FAST AND SWEATY. Maintain a low to moderate pace to avoid overheating, especially on uphill climbs.
  • DON’T OVERLAYER. You need surprisingly few layers when you’re exerting yourself in the cold. If you’re already warm at the trailhead, once you start moving you will rapidly overheat.
  • SENSE YOUR SWEAT. Learn to recognize the moment when you begin to sweat perceptibly. Stop immediately to adjust your layers.
  • VENTILATE. Help moisture escape from inside your layers by opening the pit zips on your jacket, uncinching the waist, and unzipping the front zipper.
  • DON’T WEAR COTTON, especially for your base layer! It soaks up moisture like a sponge and takes a long, bone-chilling amount of time to dry.

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Matt Heid

Equipped blogger Matt Heid is AMC's gear guru: He loves gear and he loves using it in the field. While researching several guidebooks, including AMC's Best Backpacking in New England, he has hiked thousands of miles across New England, California, and Alaska, among other wilderness destinations. He also cycles, climbs, and surfs.