We strive to connect people with their outdoor life. We subscribe to the Norwegian philosophy of Friluftsliv that asserts that winter is to be embraced, not dreaded. And we believe that there is no such thing as bad weather, just improper clothing. With these beliefs in mind, we want to break down the simple framework for thriving in any condition, and help guide you as you consider adding one of Wintergreen’s timeless pieces to your forever wardrobe.
Staying warm in the winter is easier than most people think! You probably already have some basics like a wool sweater and socks, a breathable windbreaker, or maybe some merino wool garments. We’d like to introduce (or reintroduce) you to a trusted model common to our industry called The 3 W’s, as you get ready for the amazing seasonal transition ahead! As we go through these categories, we’ll provide Wintergreen clothing recommendations. LET’S GET OUTSIDE!!!
The 3 Ws
- Wicking - The first W is the wicking layer. Although it is most commonly overlooked, it is arguably the most important layer. Also called the base layer, it moves perspiration away from the body to keep you dry and to hold body heat in. Staying dry in the winter is key to staying warm. Damp skin loses heat many times faster than dry skin. Both polyester and wool have wicking properties, meaning each type of fabric will move moisture away from your body.
Wintergreen carries ColdPruf® base layers for the customers we outfit for dogsledding trips and cold weather adventures. We'd recommend looking for base layers with a high merino wool content for optimal wicking.
Local guides & explorers occasionally wear our Merino Wool Tops as a base layer!
- Warmth - The second W is the warmth layer, and it is key to success. The function of this mid-layer is to hold in body heat similar to the insulation in your house. The Warmth layer can be comprised of several thin layers or a thicker layer depending upon the activity level, outdoor temperature and person’s metabolism. When active outside, fleece and wool are go-to options for layering whereas more idle activities may benefit from insulation like down or a down-alternative.
We recommend wearing 2 or 3 insulating layers depending on the temperature you'll be out in. Start with a thinner fleece and layer a mid-weight one on top like our Hygge Pullover. In very cold conditions we recommend adding a thicker layer like our Expedition Fleece Anorak for optimal warmth and protection.
Sometimes layering under an Expedition Fleece Anorak is enough!
Wind - Don't forget about the wind. The third layer stops the wind from pulling heat away from the body and helps the warmth layer hold in the heat. The Wind layer must be breathable so body moisture can escape once wicked away. For example, wearing non-breathable rain gear would keep you damp with perspiration. At Wintergreen Northern Wear we prefer Supplex® nylon as a breathable wind layer for durability, breathability and protection from the elements.
Wintergreen uses our Supplex® nylon to create our Expedition Shell Anoraks. Layered over insulating layers, these Anoraks create a warm air pocket while still allowing moisture to escape, keeping you warm and protected in cold temperatures. For maximum protection and warmth, layer our Shell Anorak over our Fleece Anorak. This combination is what we recommend to arctic explorers.
Ready for adventure!
Don't forget about your lower half! Good pants layers are vital to staying warm and comfortable outside. The 3W's layering system applies to pants as well as tops! Start with a good polyester or fleece base layer, follow with a thicker fleece or wool pant, and end with a wind-blocking outer layer. We'd recommend our Flex Pants for warmth and ease of movement layered under our Half Zip Guide Pants for weather-resistance and durability.
Beyond The 3 W’s, nothing ruins a cold weather day faster than cold hands, neck, head and feet. If you have kids or poor circulation, then you know what we mean.
- Feet - What works best for your feet: “Sorel-type” snow boots with a rubber lower, leather or nylon upper and removable foam or felt liners. The boots should be rated to at least -20 F. Well insulated boots WITHOUT removable liners may be adequate for cabin-based trips that allow for drying things out at night, but NOT for winter camping trips. Extra liners are handy.
- Hands - One or more pairs of liner gloves plus warm mittens – don’t scrimp. What works best? A wool blend or fleece mittens large enough so synthetic liners gloves can be worn under them. Liner gloves allow you to take off your mitts for dexterity. Wintergreen offers Shell Overmitts that are critical for longer excursions or multi-day camping.
Keeping your mittens in your pockets is an easy way to keep them "on hand" at all times.
- Head & Neck - Heat loss from our neck and heads can often be overlooked by many, especially those not accustomed to winter climates. A few simple pieces can offer you flexible coverage:
- Having both a thin and thick hat gives you flexibility depending on your movement and the wind and temperature.
- An insulating shell hat with sun visor is plus for sunny days.
- We often throw in an ear band for another layering option.
- And do NOT forget about your neck! Many people don’t realize the heat loss that can come from an uncovered neck. Neck gaiters, scarves, or a balaclava all work well. They can also add extra insulation for our ears and head when winds are really blowing.
The brilliant part of finding your layering wardrobe is that you can constantly adjust to the weather of the day and the movement of your day’s activity. It is incredibly rewarding and comforting to head out on your adventure knowing you are equipped to stay warm and thrive connecting with nature and enjoying the beauty of a winter day.