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Home > Magazine > Adventure > How to Stay Warm in Winter: Be Active, It's All Relative

How to Stay Warm in Winter: Be Active, It's All Relative
February 12, 2016

It's a commonism: winter is cold. People don't like to be cold. So they don't like winter. Case closed.

But wait a minute. Isn't every temperature colder than something and also hotter than something? What makes a temp "cold" for someone?

Why miss out on entire parts of reality for such reasons?

It's a fact that beauty is in the eye. It's relatively just as beautiful at any temp. If you say that certain seasons are "bad," well, come on. That's just dumb.

I've seen bikers bundling up in full pants and jackets at 70F. To me that was quite warm out.

It seems to me like we each need to find out what works for us. But there are some basic methods and considerations that will deliver comfort for whatever temperature it is.

If you're not active, you'll need more clothes to be warm. If you ARE active you'll need a lot less clothes.

Your experience and body type figures in. Trial and error is the method.

But there are basics that will work for most people.

Like: wind is a consideration. If you're out in the wind you'll probably like some wind protection. What you wear should cut the wind to whatever degree that you know, by your past experience, is what you need for that temp and that amount of wind.

I find that for me when it's colder than 45degF that wool becomes my wonder go-to fabric that delivers total comfort from that temp on down.

Some like wool in the summer, but I find that I can't wear it above 50degF. So that's me. Everyone is different.

But we do have some basics in common.

A couple light layers are all you need to wear for XC skiing in moderate winter temps and light breezes. Light hat, light gloves, socks, boots. Bring a light jacket if you plan to stop and have a snack at some point for a few minutes.

Skiing along typically will help most anyone stay warm in light clothing down to 20degF, approx. Our bodies are making the heat. And we only need a light covering after that.

There is a warming-up period. It takes a body 5-10 minutes to get stoked after we start moving around. Before that we might want to wear an extra light jacket on top of our light layers.

These layers can be most anything. We only need tech apparel if we'll be outside exercising really hard for more than a couple hours. Less than that, just plain clothes in various layers are all ya need. ...Even jeans are fine.

Then there's fashion: the need to wear somewhat more clothing in the winter than in the summer gives us a chance to be intentional with just that many more clothes items. It's fun!

The pic I'm using for this article was one I took when I made myself laugh one day when I got in the car. I saw all the layers of wool I was wearing. I liked the look. That's what we want! To like what we're wearing. Each of those layers is a fun piece of clothing as far as I'm concerned and I'm happy that winter lets me pile 'em on!

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