Earmuffs, Ski Caps, Scarfs, and Long Underwear

A whole bunch of accessories are everywhere. People don them for winter. Trouble is, most of them don’t work. Earmuffs chill you in the winter. Ski caps or balaclavas won’t cover your neck, or hardly. Scarfs are warmer on the outside, not under your coat. Skip the long underwear; regular pants (male or female) are enough, when you insulate your central body.


Earmuffs make ears warmer but your head colder. Get an insulated hood that comes up from your coat. The hood will keep your head and neck warm.

No earmuffs under your hood: Bulky earmuffs push the hood out. You’ll have a mass of air under the hood. The mass of air will swap warm and cold air around. This will cool your head.

No earmuffs over the hood, either. They’ll compress the hood’s insulation.

With a good hood, you don’t need earmuffs.

Ski Caps

Balaclavas or ski caps don’t protect your neck. A balaclava may come down far enough, or maybe not, but they’re usually not thick enough anyway. An insulated hood can do the job really well.

Skull caps, durags, and the traditional hats that are about big enough to hold a rabbit inside aren’t even insulated. And those big old hats have convection. Add something.


If you use a scarf, wrap it outside, not under your coat. If it’s under, you’ll have a single mass of air, which lets little breezes run around and cool you off. If the scarf is entirely outside your coat, it adds a tiny dot of insulation. But, as it’s thin, you may not need it at all.

It’s tempting to use it to cover your mouth and nose so you don’t breathe cold air. It hardly works for that. It gets wet. You need humidity for the breath you take in but your lungs provide that and the moisture on your scarf isn’t exactly humidity. And it gets uncomfortable in a few minutes. Unless you’re in a dust storm, dress warmly, keep your lungs warm, keep your scarf around your collar, and breathe straight air.

Long Underwear

Don’t buy long underwear. Regular underclothes are fine, with layers of warm clothing. Protect your trunk, which is from your shoulders to your hips, and your legs won’t need much. Long underwear is just one more thing to buy, wash, and organize; and they’re not even going to be seen. At least ice cream in December has protein and calcium.

Red crabapples on branches and covered with ice.

Earmuffs and a scarf chills your head, a ski cap bares your neck to the wind, and long underwear is a drag. Your coat and hood will do the job.

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: