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How to Layer Clothing for the Snow to Keep Warm and Dry

How to Layer Clothing for the Snow and Keep Warm & Dry

How Do I Layer for the Snow Properly?

One of the most common questions asked about ski jackets and pants is “How warm are they?”. While each jacket and pant does vary, depending on the quality and type of insulation used, it’s hard to give a definitive answer. This is based purely on the fact that each person feels the cold differently. The best way to ensure warmth in the snow is to learn how to layer properly and alter these layers to suit the person and the environment.

Base Layers

Thermals, essentially the first layer, acts as a “second skin” and provides the foundation of warmth. This insulated layer traps body heat and wicks moisture away from the skin, reducing heat loss. Thermals are light-weight and breathable and work best when they are tight-fitting. Merino wool thermals, in particular, provide superior warmth and have natural anti-microbial properties which prevent odour.

Synthetic fibres are the alternative to merino wool thermals and are usually not as warm but are quick drying and perform well in getting rid of moisture. One downside of polyester or polyester blends is they are usually prone to becoming smelly after a few days use compared to bacteria-free qualities of merino fibres.


Mid layers act as the layer between being too hot or too cold. When choosing mid layers, fleece is the best option; cheap, dries fast, wick-able, doesn’t small and can be washed and dried quickly.  

There are a large variety of mid layers which provide extra warmth to your core and prevent the public eye from seeing your thermal layer whenever you take your jacket off. Skivvies, made from synthetic materials or merino wool, are thin, light-weight, breathable, have wicking-abilities and provide extra warmth. Down is a great option for those who really feel the cold, and can also be used in conjunction with an outer shell jacket to provide more versatility. Vests have the advantage of keeping the core of the body warm without bulking out the arms, allowing for freer movement, and are available in any of the above materials.

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Outer Layers

When choosing your outer layers, you have to remember that waterproof and breathability ratings to directly correlate to the warmth of your outerwear. You can read our Complete Guide to Waterproof Ratings, Insulation & Breathability before purchasing your snow jacket or pants. The main

The shell layer, or outer jacket and pant layer, provides the waterproof, windproof and protective elements of the layering ensemble. Insulated outerwear reduces the need of extra layers, while shell outerwear allows for more versatility. The final layer in the system, this is arguably the most important one as it protects the wearer and their other layers from any harsh environment. Another option when purchasing outerwear is to consider ski bibs / snowboard bibs – instead of regular pants, bib snowboard pants will be more comfortable, have more pockets and storage options and do a better job or keeping out snow.

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Next The Complete Guide to Waterproof Ratings, Insulation & Breathability Guide of Snow Jackets

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