Dress Warm: Introduction

It’s possible to dress smartly to be warm. It’s amazing how many people bundle up in a way that makes them colder, then complain that it’s really cold outside. I walk around in short shirt sleeves in temperatures a few degrees above freezing, and I’m comfortable and in no danger. I have a sweater in my backpack, just in case. Carrying it makes it easier not to wear it, because I don’t fear turning into an ice cube, since I know I can do something about it long before then. There’s something of a science, and an art, to staying warm.

This isn’t about being fashionable or presenting a business appearance. But it doesn’t require looking like the Michelin Man. And dressing to be warm can be very inexpensive.

In short: Dress lightly. You’ll be fine.

This discussion is mainly relevant to the temperate zones of the world, with much of the information specific to the United States.

About me: I’m not a doctor or a professionally trained allied health professional. I went winter backpacking solo long ago and, in the year or two before that, taught myself the skills I’d need to stay warm and healthy. On one Adirondacks trip, a farmer told me 14 inches of snow had fallen the night before and, even so, I didn’t wear the wool pants or hang the tent liner. I was warm and relaxed, I had fun, and I got home in good shape.

Warm up in smarter clothes in deep winter even with less clothing and, in cool fall and spring, wear less. People often bundle up too much.

Websites of Interest

These websites have some interesting content, although I disagree with some of it:


Hiking organizations:

General retailers of outdoor products:

General information: