As the cold season descends upon Michigan, the team at Earth's Edge is gearing up to ensure you stay warm and comfortable during all of your outdoor adventures! Our mission has always been to equip you with the best gear and knowledge to make the most of your experiences outside, no matter the season.
We know from first-hand experience that Winter conditions can be challenging, but with the right winter layering techniques, you can enjoy your outdoor activities without turning into an ice sculpture. So bundle up, and join us as we go through some of our favorite cold-season clothing tips!
1. Start with Moisture-Wicking Base Layers
The first step in successful winter layering is to have a high-quality base layer. This layer is in direct contact with your skin, so its main task is to manage moisture and keep you dry. When partaking in mid-to-high intensity outdoor activities in the cold, you'll inevitably sweat, and wet skin in cold conditions can lead to a rapid loss of body heat. So, opt for materials like Merino wool or synthetic fibers that effectively wick away sweat, keeping you dry and comfortable. Cotton, on the other hand, should be avoided as it tends to hold moisture, keeping you wet and making you feel colder.
Some of our favorite base layers for moisture-wicking are made by our friends at Smartwool, but we've also had great luck with Patagonia and The North Face. Check out our top selection for Men's Base Layers and Women's Base Layers!
2. Choose an Insulating Mid Layer
Once you have a solid base, your next focus for winter layering should be an insulating mid-layer. This layer is crucial as it is primarily responsible for retaining your body heat to protect you from the cold. Fleece jackets, down vests or lightweight wool sweaters, are excellent choices for this purpose. The beauty of the mid layer is its versatility - it can be easily added or removed based on your activity level and changes in the weather. Remember, the goal is to trap air and create a thermal barrier without weighing you down.
3. Seal in the Warmth with a Protective Outer Layer
Perhaps the most important step in winter layering is to cover up with a protective outer layer. This is your main defense against external elements like wind, rain, and snow. This layer doesn't need to be heavily insulated - its main tasks are to block wind and repel water. Therefore, look for jackets that are labeled as 'windproof' and 'water-resistant' or 'waterproof'. In Michigan's cold season, a well-fitted, breathable, yet waterproof shell is a must-have. It should be large enough to accommodate your base and mid-layers without being overly bulky.
Earth's Edge stocks a wide array of outer layers tailored to withstand Michigan's diverse winter conditions, ensuring you remain dry and warm throughout your outdoor pursuits.
4. Don't Ignore Your Extremities
While focusing on winter layering for your core, it's important not to overlook your extremities: head, hands, and feet. These are the areas where you may feel the cold first, and without proper protection, they can greatly affect your overall comfort and warmth. For your head, a wool or synthetic beanie can provide the necessary insulation, helping to prevent a significant amount of heat loss since our heads are responsible for releasing a large portion of our body heat.
A good pair of gloves or mittens is essential for keeping your hands warm. Mittens generally offer more warmth, but gloves give you more dexterity. As for your feet, a pair of insulated, waterproof boots is a must-have for Michigan's winter, paired with wool or synthetic socks for added warmth and moisture management.
5. Cover Your Neck and Face
Often overlooked in the layering conversation is the protection of your neck and face. They are directly exposed to the elements and can chill quickly, affecting your overall comfort and warmth. A versatile piece of gear to add to your winter layering system is a neck gaiter or a buff. Made from warm, lightweight and breathable material, it can be used to cover your neck, pull up over your mouth for a quick face shield, or even worn as a hat in a pinch. For those particularly frigid Michigan days, a balaclava can provide full head and neck coverage, leaving only your eyes exposed. When choosing these accessories, like other layers, choose materials that offer breathability and moisture-wicking properties.
Check out some of our favorite Gaiters at the link here!
A "wrap-up" on layering...
Remember, it's all about moisture management, insulation, and protection. Start with a moisture-wicking base, add an insulating mid-layer, and seal it all in with a protective outer layer. Don't forget your extremities and cover your neck and face. As the days get colder and the snow starts to fall, don't let the Michigan winter deter you from enjoying your outdoor pursuits. With proper winter layering techniques and high-quality gear from Earth's Edge, you can brave the elements with confidence.
The team at Earth's Edge is here to help you navigate the cold season and equip you with not only the right gear, but also the knowledge to use it effectively. So layer up, embrace the season, and make the most of your winter adventures!