Layer up to stay warm

When you’re headed out to the field on a brutally cold day, layer up to stay warm, but still have the option to shed some gear in case you get too hot.

Layer up to stay warm outside on a cold day. Start with a good wicking base layer. You’ll want the gear you wear closest to your skin to pull moisture away from you, so that if you sweat, the water won’t chill you when you stop moving or the temperature drops. UnderArmour makes good wicking material, but you can get less expensive base layers made with the same polyester blends, or merino wool. Stay away from cotton, because cotton dries more slowly and doesn’t transport moisture away from your body.

Outside of the base layer, you’ll need an insulating layer. Wool, goose down and fleece are good choices. Wool will be heavier than the other materials, but not as bulky as down, and it’ll insulate better if it gets wet than fleece.

The outer layer should be something that stops wind and repels water. If you’re going to have insulating layers under the shell, you don’t need an insulated coat or pants. But make sure that outer layer is made of a durable material, and preferably one treated with a water repellant coating.

For your hands and feet, wicking material is just as important as it is for those other base layers. Merino wool socks are always a good choice, and thin glove liners made of polyester blends allow you some dexterity if you take off the heavy gloves but still need some protection from the cold.

For added heat, disposable hand, foot and body warmers are fantastic. Several companies make chemical packets that can be activated to provide extra heat, and some have adhesive on them so you can stick them inside coats, pants, boots or gloves.

Stay warm this winter. Layer up, and peel off layers if you get too hot so you don’t get sweaty. And stay away from cotton.