“Who says it’s too cold to walk?” A lot of folks just don’t get how I dress for the winter because they don’t see me wearing much. However, with a bit of knowledge of how my own body performs during long distance walks I’m pretty warm. I know that might sound hard for many to believe. However, with the right clothing, “Winter Weather is Walking Weather.”
One of the keys to staying warm when you’re walking in the cold is to stay dry and to keep moving. You’re not dressing to stand still and ice-fish. You are dressing to walk and that’s what dressing in layers helps me do.
I’ve been doing this walking business for so long that it’s rare that I need to remove layers as I warm up. I’ve gotten quite good at gaging just how much I will need to put on before I go out in cold temperatures; avoiding excessive sweating, which would cause anyone to become chilled on any given winter day.
However, if you have been more of a, “Ride In The Car During Cold Weather,” kind of person up until recently; you might want to try this three step layering system until you get the hang of things. Once you get it down to a science, you just might find that you enjoy walking in the winter after all.
Firstly: I usually start with a T-shirt or light short sleeve golf shirt for my first layer of clothing. This is partly because I don’t like wearing long sleeve shirts, as they tend to make me feel restricted when I’m working at my desk and doing other stuff in doors. Also, if I do sweat they tend to dry pretty quickly, which is good, especially when you’re outside in the cold.
Secondly: My second layer of clothing is usually a sweater or sweat shirt. It acts as a nice insulator; helping to keep me warm, particularly when it’s windy out.
Thirdly: My third layer is usually a spring jacket that is water resistant when it’s raining out or snowing. This is because while spring jackets made of a nylon material are water resistant, they still block the cold air, while allowing my body to breathe as I move. If it’s a dry cold day I will generally where a denim jacket as my third layer. Again, it blocks the cold air; still allowing my body to breathe.
Generally Speaking: I find that I’m warm while dressed this way for most of the time. When the temperature gets down into the teens; If I’m covering a distance that greater than a mile or two, between toasty warm locations, I will opt for the winter coat over top of my sweat shirt instead of the lighter jackets I would normally wear.
I don’t bother with winter pants unless I’m sledding or ice fishing because the constant movement of walking would cause me to overheat. The name of the game is to stay warm. So, I can regulate my comfort level by walking a bit faster or slower depending on how I feel.
I don’t want to sweat. I don’t want to freeze my rear off, either. However, when it comes down to it, you will have to experiment a bit to see what works for you and doesn’t. Remember though; there’s no reason you should have to dread going out in the cold if you know what you are dressing for.
Final Thoughts: A good general rule of thumb to follow when choosing your layers of clothing; dress for a temperature around 10 degrees warmer than the one you are actually going out in. You might feel a little cool at the start of your walk in doing this. However, you’ll appreciate the wisdom behind this rule of thumb as you generate more heat within the first few minutes of being underway.
Obviously, too, you’ll want to use discretion when it comes to covering your ears, hands, and head. Personally; my hands get cold long before my head and ears do. So, unless it’s really windy or snowing, “I’m generally good to go without a hat.” In fact; for me and my back and hairy Registered Seeing Eye Dog, walking around during the winter months is more or less child’s play.