Tips for layering in the snow – and generally keeping warm this winter

Right now, most of us are wrapped up in blankets and hot water bottles inside, or – if we are heading outside – buried deep in big coats, scarves and hats.

With temperatures continuing to drop and stay low across the UK, we are all looking for the best ways to stay toasty.

We often talking about ‘layering’ and how it can help keep us warm from the harsh elements – but how can we do it effectively?

Thankfully, Millie Ryan, a buyer a Mountain Warehouse, has shared everything to know.

‘The reason wearing multiple thin layers will keep you warmer than a single thicker layer is because warm air is trapped between the layers acting as an insulator. If you were then to remove a layer you would reduce the amount of heat trapped which would cool you down,’ explains Millie.

With this in mind, she’s shared how to wrap up effectively.

Base layers

Simply put, the base layer is the first one that sits directly against your skin and it has two main functions: to regulate your body temperature and wick away moisture from the skin.

This is the first layer of protection against the elements and will provide a small amount of warmth. 

‘A base layer should also “wick” or “transport” moisture or sweat away from the body,’ says Millie. 

‘This will help to regulate your body temperature as any moisture build up can draw warmth away from your body.’

It’s worth pointing out that cotton clothing is not suitable as a base layer – as it will soak up any moisture that may build up and won’t dry out, making you feel very cold.

Mid layers

The function of the mid layer is primarily to provide insulation. It should direct body heat that your base layer didn’t retain back into your body and help stop cold air passing through to your skin.

The best mid layers will be breathable and also wick any moisture away from the body – so any wetness trapped by the base layer is transported out to be evaporated.

Millie says: ‘Micro-fleeces, merino wool tops, softshells and thin insulated jackets are popular mid layers. A thin fleece or merino wool top could be worn during milder conditions.

‘Thicker fleece or soft shell jackets would be suitable for colder weather – and if the weather is really poor, then warmer insulated jacket may be a better option.’

In some cases, if the weather is fair, a base layer and mid layer might be all you need.

Outer layers

The main purpose of the outer layer is to protect you from the wind and rain.

As a result, it should be waterproof and breathable to allow sweat and water vapour to escape the body and keep you dry.

In most cases, a thin jacket – as opposed to a heavy, warm jacket – is all you need. If you’ve layered correctly, your mid layer should be working to keep you warm. 

‘If it is particularly cold or even freezing then you may consider a warmer jacket or even another mid layer,’ Millie says.

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