Top tips for staying warm and dry outdoors this winter

Whether you’re climbing, walking or camping this winter, no one likes feeling damp and cold. It’s not only uncomfortable and capable of ruining your day out; it's also potentially very dangerous. Once your body temperature starts to drop, it’s very difficult to get warm again, whereas being prepared before you head off is much easier and sets you up for your adventure perfectly. There are lots of things you can do to stay warm and dry so that you can stay comfortable and enjoy your day out on the hill or the mountain.

 


1. Choose a breathable jacket

When you’re out and about, cold air and body heat can cause condensation inside your jacket. To avoid this, choose a breathable softshell jacket that will allow excess moisture to evaporate and escape.

 

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2. Don't get too hot

If you get too hot and sweat, you'll end up freezing when you stop moving. So, as you warm up, open venting zips or remove a layer or two to maintain a consistent, comfortable temperature.

 


3. Don't let the wind ruin your hard work

Your body works hard to heat up a nice layer of warm air around it to maintain a healthy temperature. Don’t let the wind strip it away! A lightweight windshell or softshell jacket can beat the wind chill without the bulk.


4. Wrap up warm when you stop

When you stop moving, you stop generating heat. To retain the warmth you’ve built up, a down or synthetic insulating jacket is ideal. Super light and packable, they’re easy to keep stashed in your bag, ready to grab as soon as you slow down or stop.

 

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5. Mitts are warmer than gloves

Mitts are great when out and about in the cold because they allow your fingers to share warmth instead of being isolated by glove fingers. Of course, this does make taking a bearing or placing gear more difficult, so wear a liner glove under your mitt to keep your hands warm if you need to take your mitts off. Just remember to tether your mitts to your wrists so you don’t lose them.


6. Pre-heat hats and gloves

Insulation is all about retaining the warmth your body is creating. By keeping hats and gloves stowed inside your jacket, they’re already toasty when you put them on.


7. Avoid sitting on the cold ground

When you’re perched on a ledge or just stopping to take in the view, the ground beneath you will absorb your precious body heat. To avoid this happening, carry a small sit-mat or sit on your pack (as long as there’s nothing breakable inside it!).


8. Fuel your fire

Eating and drinking are vital for your body to generate heat. Always carry a hydration system and a few energy bars/snacks to keep yourself topped up, but on a cold day there’s nothing quite like that warming feeling from hot flask of soup.


9. Look after your kit

Your waterproof jacket's water-repellent coating is the key to staying dry. This does wear off over time, so make sure you regularly re-treat your kit to keep it at optimum performance. Check out our waterproof care guide for advice on how to care for your jacket.

 


10. Preparation is key

It’s very easy to put things off because you don’t feel cold yet, but prevention is always better than cure. It takes a lot longer to warm up and dry out than it does to avoid getting cold and wet in the first place. So prepare your kit, wrap up warm and enjoy the winter!