Winter is a time to get outside and enjoy the frozen landscape. There are many benefits to winter outdoor activities. The only problem is it is cold! Your winter hikes need some special preparations with one of the most important being proper layering.
The Polar Vortex has hit the Northeast. We are seeing temperatures in the low single digits and below with windchills between -15°F and -30°F. Only a crazy person would go for a hike in this weather.
I am that crazy person. I just returned for a few mile hike in the woods by my house. The temperature was 5° F with -15°F windchill. And I was warm! I have climbed some Adirondack High Peaks when the ambient temperature at the trailhead was -21°F, you can imagine the temps on the summit. The secret is layering.
I try to balance quality and price. With outdoor gear, many times you get what you pay for. Here is a list of my winter gear:
- Under Armor Wicking Tee
- CLIMATESMART Men’s Climatesport Midweight Baselayer Long Pant
- CLIMATESMART Men’s Climate Flex Long Sleeve Crew
I usually will wear the inside of my Columbia jacket (see outer layer), a Columbia softshell or my favorite Avalanche fleece. Today’s choice:
- Columbia Men’s Ascender Softshell Jacket
- Singbring Outdoor Fleece Lined Windproof/Waterproof Hiking Pants*
*These pants are remarkably nice for a Chinese knockoff. They are very comfortable and warm.
I picked up this Columbia jacket on ShopGoodwill.com for $45. It has a zip in liner jacket that I consider a midlayer and an outer waterproof/windproof shell. Absolutely love this jacket.
I am very conservative with my hands. I have Raynaud’s Syndrome and really need to keep my hands warm. The Gordini Gloves with liners have done the job.
- Gordini Men’s Promo Gauntlet Gore-Tex Gloves
- Gordini Gore-Tex Gauntlet Mitts
- HIGHLOONG Compression Lightweight Sport Running Gloves Liner Gloves
Like my hands, I am always concerned with keeping my feet warm due to poor circulation. I will be experimenting with a Vapor Barrier Liner on my next Adirondack trip per the ADK Winter Mountaineering Student Handbook. More to come!
- Salomon Men’s X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking Boot
- Liner Socks
- Smartwool® Men’s Larimer Crew Socks
- Outdoor Research Men’s Rocky Mountain High Gaiters
- MSR Evo Ascent Snowshoes – see my review on YouTube
- Kahtoola Microspikes – see my review on YouTube
The Buff inside a Balaclava is for extreme conditions. A simple winter cap, headband or Buff are the “go to’s” under most conditions. I have also used a Buff babushka/winter cap combo.