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Choosing the proper winter climbing garments is essential for consolation and security out on the path. However layering correctly for chilly climate is a nice balancing act. When you overdress for a winter hike, you find yourself scorching and sweaty (which mockingly can depart you chilly). Then again, if you happen to don’t put on sufficient layers, you possibly can find yourself chilly and depressing, which isn’t any enjoyable in any respect.

After I first moved to Salt Lake Metropolis I didn’t know what to put on climbing in winter. The primary few instances I went out for a snowy hike, I wore my ski garments and ended up a scorching sweaty mess.

Over practically a decade of winters in Utah, I’ve realized from my preliminary errors and now have my layering system dialed so I’m each comfy whereas climbing AND ready if the climate takes a flip for the worst.

On this information, I share the most effective winter climbing clothes, gear, and necessities I’ve found over time that may allow you to layer correctly for chilly, snowy climate so you may get pleasure from these winter days exterior in consolation.

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Winter Mountain climbing Garments Layering Fundamentals

The important thing to dressing for winter climbing is to put on layers that may maintain you each heat AND dry – meaning from the weather in addition to your sweat. Relying on the problem of the path and climate situations, you could end up needing to take off and placed on layers all through the hike with the intention to keep comfy.

For instance, on the uphill sections, if you happen to begin getting scorching, cease and shed a layer earlier than you get sweaty since sweat can in the end make you are feeling moist and chilly.

When you attain the excessive level of your winter hike and begin going downhill, you would possibly want so as to add a layer because you gained’t be producing as a lot physique warmth. It’d really feel annoying to must cease and modify, however you’ll thank your self later and it’s straightforward if you happen to maintain the layers you want simply accessible.

You might select to put on your next-to-skin base layer and your insulating layer or possibly simply your base layer and your weatherproof shell. Or you could put on all three. It simply depends upon the situations and your physique temperature.

Ideally, you wish to select layers which might be mild and packable so you may stuff them in your backpack if you happen to determine to take one off.

After getting a couple of winter hikes beneath your belt, you’ll see how a lot warmth your physique generates, after which you may modify your cold-weather climbing garments accordingly.

Winter Mountain climbing Clothes Guidelines

Higher physique layers:

  • Subsequent to pores and skin base layer
  • Insulating layer
  • Weatherproof shell

Decrease physique layers:

  • Subsequent to pores and skin base layer
  • Weatherproof shell pants
  • Heat climbing socks
  • Waterproof climbing sneakers


  • Hat
  • Gloves
  • Buff
  • Microspikes
Kristen on snowy hiking trail in Colorado with trekking poles and wearing winter hiking clothes
The important thing to being comfy on winter hikes is LAYER, LAYER, LAYER

It’s additionally at all times a good suggestion to throw greater than you assume you’ll want into your climbing daypack. If you find yourself strolling largely within the shade with the solar behind the mountains or the wind picks up, you’ll be pleased to have additional layers.

Beneath we go over the main points of every winter climbing layer and embody suggestions.

Higher Physique Winter Mountain climbing Layers

Baselayer High

Your next-to-skin winter climbing base layer is all about regulating your physique temperature whereas additionally wicking sweat. You sweat once you’re lively, and in winter months it’s additional essential that your winter climbing garments assist transfer the perspiration away out of your pores and skin so that you keep dry, moderately than damp and chilly.

Base layers ought to be manufactured from artificial material or merino wool that wick moisture and dry shortly. Keep away from something cotton (cotton t-shirts, cotton sweatshirts) as a result of cotton stays damp and heavy and loses its insulating properties when moist. This additionally applies to your sports activities bra.

The thickness of your next-to-skin baselayer depends upon how chilly it’s exterior and can be based mostly on private desire. Some individuals desire to put on a light-weight artificial climbing t-shirt beneath a mid-weight base layer. Others are nice with a single light-weight baselayer. You will have to experiment a bit till you discover the system that works finest for you.

Midweight Base Layer Shirt

Icebreaker 260 Tech Base Layer High

When you are inclined to run colder, you’ll wish to go along with a mid-weight base layer, like this Icebreaker high, on your next-to-skin climbing layer.

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Finances-Pleasant Base Layer Shirt

REI Lengthy-Sleeve Crew High

This REI Lengthy-Sleeve Crew high a is nice budget-friendly light-weight base layer shirt for these of you who run heat or are climbing in delicate winter climates.

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Winter Mountain climbing Jacket

This middle-insulating winter climbing layer is vital for sustaining physique warmth by trapping air near your physique and offering insulation. Usually, a heat insulating layer might be manufactured from down, artificial down, or fleece.

Kristen on snowy hiking trail wearing winter hiking clothes

Needless to say down isn’t heat if it will get moist, and artificial holds up higher in moist climate. When you dwell in a moist or humid local weather, go for an artificial various to down, just like the Patagonia Nano Puff listed under.

Artificial Insulated Puffy

Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody

This insulated jacket is heat, wind-proof, water resistant, and constituted of 100% post-consumer recycled polyester. It’s additionally light-weight and packs down small making it excellent for climbing. This additionally is available in a non-hooded model if that’s your desire.

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Finances Pleasant Down Puffy

REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket

Light-weight, heat, and the most effective offers you’ll discover on a down jacket, this REI down puffy is extremely cozy and packs down into its personal pocket. The down can be licensed by the Accountable Down Commonplace which suggests the animals weren’t topic to merciless and pointless practices.

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Winter Mountain climbing Shell

If there’s a probability of sleet, snow, rain, or wind, you’ll wish to add an outer shell over your winter climbing garments. It will defend you from the weather and maintain your different layers dry. Search for an outer layer that’s waterproof however nonetheless breathable in addition to packable so you may stuff it in your backpack once you aren’t sporting it. You don’t desire a tremendous heavy insulated ski jacket. 

One good characteristic some weatherproof shells have is armpit vents that zip open once you get scorching with the intention to present higher airflow. You’ll additionally wish to consider the layers you is perhaps sporting beneath when determining what measurement shell you want. 

Woman on snowy hiking trail in mountains wearing winter hiking clothes with puppy following behind

It’s essential to notice that high-quality outer layers might be dear, however understand that these waterproof layers can double as ski jackets or cold-weather raincoats and they need to final you for years.

For these of you on a finances, I’ve included a terrific worth REI Co-op model shell as nicely. You can too use your regular raincoat. It won’t defend you from the wind in addition to a winter shell, however it’s going to work so long as your different layers are heat sufficient.

Backcountry Shell

Out of doors Analysis Skytour AscentShell

This can be a ski touring jacket that can be excellent for winter climbing. It’s waterproof, breathable, and stretchy so you may put on layers beneath, and it’ll stand as much as no matter wind and climate you would possibly encounter.

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Finances-Pleasant Shell

REI Co-op Rainier Rain Jacket

When you aren’t able to drop a bunch of cash on outerwear, this rain jacket will maintain you dry if it begins to rain or snow, plus it’s light-weight and packable. It’s not essentially meant for winter climates, however so long as you layer correctly beneath, this jacket gives a flexible answer for all 4 seasons.

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Decrease Physique Winter Mountain climbing Layers

Baselayer Bottoms

Identical to in your higher physique, the next-to-skin base layer in your decrease physique ought to assist maintain you heat whereas wicking sweat. As with all your winter climbing garments, you’ll wish to follow artificial material or merino wool and keep away from cotton.

Additionally, the thickness of your base layer depends upon the temperature. On a heat and sunny winter day, a easy pair of climbing leggings is perhaps enough. On a chilly, dry day, a pair of heat winter tights might suffice. However if you happen to’ll be climbing in snow or there’s an opportunity you possibly can get moist, you’ll wish to put on a pair of lengthy john bottoms (suggestions under) beneath a pair of weatherproof pants.

Midweight Merino Base Layer Backside

Icebreaker 200 Oasis Base Layer Bottoms

For hikers that desire wool or need critical heat, these Icebreaker 200 Oasis leggings are a go-to piece in my winter climbing garments. They’re so comfortable, heat, and the wool is licensed by the Accountable Wool Commonplace.

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Finances-Pleasant Base Layer Bottoms

REI Co-op Light-weight Base Layer Tights

These light-weight, cheap lengthy underwear bottoms from REI are manufactured from a snug polyester mix that stretches as you hike and might be layered beneath a pair of waterproof pants.

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Weatherproof Shell Pants

If it’s moist, windy, or additional chilly, you’ll wish to layer a second pair of pants on high of your next-to-skin base layer bottoms. You possibly can select a pair of soft-shell pants which might be water and wind-resistant or use rain pants if you happen to’re on a finances.

Winter Shell Pants

Out of doors Analysis Trailbreaker II Snow Pants

These breathable snow pants are water resistant on the thighs and waterproof on the decrease leg the place they’re almost certainly to the touch the snow. The zippered thigh vents assist regulate your temperature if you happen to begin to warmth up. These pants are additionally superior for backcountry snowboarding, making them a flexible funding.

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Finances-Pleasant Weatherproof Pants

REI Co-op Activator Pants

These pants are breathable and stretchy however are made with comfortable water resistant material which is able to maintain you dry and heat besides on actually moist days. You possibly can put on a base layer beneath for additional chilly days.

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Winter Mountain climbing Garments Equipment

A heat hat, gloves, Buff, and different winter climbing equipment are simply as essential as the remainder of your winter climbing garments for protecting you comfy. As you heat up, you may modify, and once you get chilly, you’ll be pleased you’ve these additional equipment to layer on.

Group of hikers taking a selfie with faces covered with buffs and dressed in winter hiking clothing

Beneath I share my favourite winter climbing equipment that I at all times pack along with my chilly climate climbing layers.

Neck Gaitor

Buff Polar Multifunctional Headwear

A buff is at all times a good suggestion for protecting the wind, chilly air, and solar from hitting your neck and face instantly, and this one’s obtained cozy fleece on the base. That is nice for snowboarding too.

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Sun shades

Sunski Treeline Polarized Sun shades

Daylight displays off the snow so it’s sensible to guard your eyes with polarized sun shades when climbing within the winter. Sun shades are additionally helpful for protecting wind and snow out of your eyes. These are particularly designed to maintain you comfy in high-glare situations.

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Out of doors Analysis Flurry Sensor Gloves

My palms are inclined to get scorching after I’m climbing uphill, however as quickly as I flip round and begin to go down, my fingers get actually chilly. These fleece-lined gloves maintain them heat, and they’re touchscreen appropriate permitting me to take pictures on my cellphone with out having to take them off.

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REI Co-op Brand Beanie

A hat is very essential since you lose a big quantity of warmth by means of the highest of your head. This can be a easy, versatile beanie that may be worn on any sort of winter journey and might be simply stuffed in your pack.

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Carrying acceptable winter climbing footwear is tremendous essential for protecting your toes heat and your ft good and dry as you stroll by means of the snow. Here’s what I put on on my chilly climate hikes.

Kristin crouched down on winter hiking trail posing for photo next to dog with ball thrower in one hand
Winter Mountain climbing Boots

Oboz Bridger Insulated Waterproof Boots

These climbing boots present important traction, loads of help, and are insulated and waterproof to maintain your ft as heat as potential. With the excessive cuff, in addition they maintain snow out making them a terrific possibility in wintery climates.

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Winter Mountain climbing Socks

Darn Powerful Mountaineering Socks

Identical to the remainder of your winter climbing garments, you’ll wish to keep away from cotton when selecting socks. As an alternative, choose wool or artificial materials that wicks sweat. Darn Powerful is my favourite sock model – their Mountaineering Socks go over the calf and are thicker than regular climbing socks for added heat.

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Black Diamond GTX Entrance Level Gaiters

Relying on how excessive your boots go and the way deep the snow is, you could wish to put on a pair of gaiters, like these. They slip over your sneakers, and their objective is to maintain the snow out of your sneakers and socks.

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Kahtoola MICROspikes Traction System

When you’re anticipating the path being icy, I extremely advocate packing microspikes. These simply connect to the underside of your sneakers and assist seize on to slick and icy terrain that will help you really feel extra assured. You should buy burlier crampons, however these are usually solely wanted for mountaineering or mountain climbing.

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MSR EVO Path Snowshoes

If you can be climbing in deep, ungroomed snow, a pair of snowshoes could make all of the distinction. Snowshoes are designed to maintain you on high of the snow moderately than post-holing with every step. These top-rated snowshoes get rave opinions, are budget-friendly, and are excellent for snowy hikes and average winter adventures.

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Excited to go winter climbing? Get ready with these further winter climbing weblog posts:

I hope the following pointers and proposals for winter climbing garments allow you to plan and put together for an superior cold-weather climbing journey! Received questions? Go away them under within the feedback.



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