Layer it On Me!

(This guest post is authored by Melissa Daruna of Get Outdoors Colorado)

With some unseasonably warm weather starting off winter in Colorado, it is sometimes difficult to think about dressing to stay warm. Appropriate clothing, however, can make or break your family’s experience and enjoyment in the outdoors during winter. The key to success is dressing in layers. REIbreaks it down into three basic layers – base layer, middle layer and shell layer.

The base layer is what is next to your skin and is actually used for moisture management. Material that wicks away moisture will help keep the body dry, which helps the body maintain its temperature.  Clothes made of merino wool or synthetic fibers work great. Avoid cotton, as it absorbs moisture and will leave an active body feeling wet and cold.

The middle layer is designed to keep you warm and should be made of material that will insulate the body. This layer can be everything from light fleece to a heavy fill down coat. As the Active Kids Club reminds us – dress for the activity level as well as the weather. Keeping kids warm is great but making them too warm will cause them to sweat which can make them cold quick. The great thing about a light middle layer and warmer one is that layers can be shed as temperatures rise or as your activity increases.

The shell layer is where weather protection really comes in. This layer should be designed to keep the wind, rain, and snow out. This can be anything from water resistant soft shells to waterproof rain or snow gear. This is another layer that can be removed when appropriate to maintain comfort when active.
Don’t forget about your head, hands and feet! The same principles of wicking materials that keep your core warm can be applied to your toes. Wear wool socks and waterproof boots for wet or snowy hikes.  Always wear a hat that can keep your head and ears warm and protected from the elements. Wear gloves or mittens and remember that kids like to touch things, even if they are wet or cold. Waterproof gloves or mittens are a smart choice. Lastly, keep your neck warm with a scarf or turtleneck.Plan for success in the snow by knowing what type of snow gear is right for your family and children. Two-piece snowsuits are great for older kids (over 5) and allow them to wear just the pants or coat when appropriate. Younger children, however, tend to get snow up and down in all the wrong places.  A one-piece suit that can keep their whole body dry is best.

Plan ahead and layer it on for successful outdoor adventures year-round!