How to Layer for Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing is an excellent winter weather activity because it gets you outside in the cold weather, it's great exercise and it's a lot of fun. Some people worry about being cold when they do outdoor winter activities such as snowshoeing, but if you know how to layer for snowshoeing you'll stay plenty warm all day long. Keep reading for some tips on how to layer for snowshoeing and other outdoor activities and watch the video to see these layering ideas put to work in the backcountry.

Anytime you spend a day in the outdoors you've got to dress for changing weather conditions. Cold-weather adventures require warm under layers and windproof or waterproof outer layers but you'll always want to plan for removing some layers as your body heats up from the aerobic activity. For a typically day in the outdoors you'll want to wear a base layer, mid layer, and outer layer or shell.

Watch the following video to see how Sierra Trading Post's, Chris Martin layers for his snowshoeing trip in Wyoming's Snowy Range.

Base Layer

The base layer is a really important layer because it is the layer that comes in contact with your skin. I prefer merino wool as a base layer fabric but synthetics also can perform well as a base layer. Consider these features for a great layer to wear snowshoeing or for other winter activities.

  • A base layer should feel soft and comfortable on the skin

  • You'll want a fabric that pulls moisture away from your skin to keep you feeling dry.

  • Quick drying base layers such as merino wool or synthetic base layers are best. Don't wear cotton.

Mid Layer

Your mid layer will vary with the temperatures you will experience and the amount of heat your body will produce during the aerobic activity. Good options for mid layers include fleece, wool, synthetic jackets and down jackets. You may wish to remove a mid layer during the physical activity and add an additional layer if you are hanging around base camp. Here are some things to consider when picking a mid layer for snowshoeing.

  • Comfortable clothing such as fleece is important

  • The majority of your warmth is provided by the mid layer. Consider multiple mid layers on colder days.

  • The mid layer should be flexible. Plan for layers you can add or remove as the weather conditions change.

Outer Layer

When you are layering for snowshoeing or spending time outside in the winter, you'll want your outer layer to protect you from the wind, snow or rain. Consider the following features for your snowshoeing outer layer.

  • Waterproof is a necessity. Make sure you are prepared for changing weather conditions.

  • A windproof or wind resistant outer layer will help you stay warm and cozy.

  • Make sure your outer layer is large enough to fit comfortably over multiple mid layers.

  • Light weight outer layers can easily be removed and stored in a backpack during good weather conditions.

Layer for Snowshoeing Photo by Bartek Wolczyk

Those are the basics you need to know how to layer for snowshoeing. You can mix and match different layers for any type of weather conditions but follow these basics and you'll be ready for any adventure.

To learn more about layering, watch this video on Basic Layering Systems or visit the Sierra Trading Post Layering Guide.

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Andy Hawbaker
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Andy Hawbaker
Andy is a hiker, backpacker, snowboarder and outdoor fanatic. When he isn't exploring the Rocky Mountains, burning marshmallows or scratching his dog behind the ear, he shares his experiences here on the Sierra Trading Post Blog.
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