Whether you love to travel to exotic places, like the Arctic, or you just live in an area where the winter weather physically pains you, preparation is key. It’s time to get educated in the world of extreme cold-weather gear.
The key to extreme cold weather gear protection – Layers
The key to extreme cold weather preparation is layering, but this doesn’t mean just throwing on a couple of hoodies. You need arctic clothing geared towards providing extreme protection and along with utilizing layering.
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There are three basic types of layers you need to know: the base layer, the mid-layers, and the outer layer. Finally, remember that you’ll need to layer both your upper body and lower body.
The Base Layer – Extreme Cold Weather Gear
The base layer needs to be tight to your skin in order to minimize airflow. Long underwear is typically the base layer for legs. The most important property of the base layer is water resistance. If your inner layer is cold and wet, it doesn’t matter what else you have on – you’ll freeze. Base layer materials have different weights depending on thickness and breathability. Look for a lightweight rating for
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Mid Layers – Extreme Cold Weather Gear
Up next is the mid-layer(s). While it typically consists of a single item, you can wear more than one if needed. Unlike the base layer, the mid-layer doesn’t need to be so tight, some airflow is okay. The most important aspect to look for is insulation. The primary responsibility of a mid-layer is to prevent heat from leaving your body. Look for thick, insulating materials like fleece or wool.
The Outer Layer – Extreme Cold Weather Gear
Finally, the outer shell layer is your first line of defense against the elements. Wind protection is paramount and should be your top concern. Ideally, you want it to be breathable allowing water can escape from inside. At the same time, you don’t want water to enter from the outside. This paradox means there is no perfect outer layer. In general, water resistance is the priority for activities like skiing, but breathability is more important for activities like running.
Don’t forget your head, hands, and feet
One last thing, you have to make sure your extremities are well protected. Once temperatures reach below zero it’s really easy to develop a case for frostbit quickly. Utilizing clothing like arctic boots, arctic gloves and mitts, hats, socks, and balaclavas are all great ideas. Below we’ve assembled the best extreme cold gear there is to prepare you for any winter situation.
Extreme Cold Weather Gear: The Base Layer
TCA PRO PERFORMANCE COMPRESSION BASE LAYER TOP LONG SLEEVE THERMAL BODY ARMOUR
The TCA Pro Performance Compression Base Layer ($17) is a high performance, but an
PATAGONIA MERINO 2 LIGHTWEIGHT BOTTOMS
The Patagonia Merino 2 Lightweight Bottoms ($90) are the highest quality long johns you can buy. They stay close to your skin but are incredibly comfortable. Patagonia made the bottoms from Merino wool. Making them light and soft but highly breathable, which prevents moisture from accumulating. Rounding out the package, enhanced temperature regulation, moisture transfer, anti-microbe and UV protection up to SPF 50+.
CAPO MEN’S GS-13 THERMAL VEST
One of the more undervalued articles of clothing for retaining your precious body
The Capo GS-13 Thermal Vest ($143), sports an array of features designed for a greater
A400 MEN’S THERMAL COMPRESSION LONG TIGHTS
The A400 Thermal Compression Long Tights ($140) offer a great fit for both men and women. The brushed fabric providing a softer feel as well as an added advantage of trapping warm air against your skin. The moisture is drawn up and away from your skin preventing heat loss.
The SKINS fabric is a high-tech blend, combining high abrasion resistance with outstanding breathability and comfort. They also sport SPF 50+ UV protection, and muscle compression features allowing increases in oxygen and circulation. Muscle compression features also boost strength, speed, and stamina.
Extreme Cold Weather Gear | The Mid Layer
UNDER ARMOUR EXTREME COLDGEAR FLEECE PULLOVER
This Under Armour Extreme Coldgear Fleece Pullover ($45+) incorporates the same stellar moisture wicking technology. Many of Under Armour’s other products have this feature. Most importantly, this fleece sweater is designed to keep you as warm as possible. The added benefit of fleece is how soft it is. While it is best used as a mid layer, it could be worn without a base layer in a pinch.
UNDER ARMOUR STORM ARMOUR FLEECE PANTS
Just like your mid-layer top, you want a mid layer bottom that is going to keep you warm. Combining comfort and heat retention once again, Under Armour Storm Armour Fleece Pants ($40+) are comfortable and high-performance leggings. It’s a stretchy material that allows some air flow between layers, but not to the point where it hinders insulation.
MEN’S KRESTWOOD FULL-ZIP SWEATER
This alpine-inspired heavyweight knit fleece sweater is built to last. The
NIKE TECH FLEECE PANTS
The Nike Tech Fleece Pants ($100) merge jersey fabric is smooth and comfortable inside and out. It has a synthetic spacer, allowing for body heat to be trapped without adding weight. The pants sport easy to access side pockets keeping small items secure. Ribbed waist and cuffs offer a snug fit. And an internal drawcord at the waist offers a tailored fit. And insets in the knees provide an enhanced range of motion.
Extreme Cold Weather Gear | The Outer Layer
CANADA GOOSE MEN’S EXPEDITION PARKA
Canada Goose made the Canada Goose Expedition Parka ($710) to withstand the coldest temperature. For extreme cold weather
The front closure features a heavy-duty 2-way locking zipper. The fit is customizable with the adjustable waist drawcord. You won’t lack for
MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR NILAS DOWN BIBS
The Mountain Hardwear Nilas Down Bibs ($364)
ARC’TERYX THETA SV EXPEDITION BIB
The Arc’Teryx Theta SV Expedition Bib ($500) isn’t going to win any fashion awards. But it does the job. It’s perfect for activities in the extreme cold. And provies a high amount of wind and water resistance, as well as a solid range of mobility.
Extreme Cold Weather Gear | Extremities
MARMOT 8000 METER MITT
Not your run of the mill mitt, the Marmot 8000 Meter Mitt ($192) combines elegant design with rugged function, with their 700-fill goose down and their Gore-Tex, ripstop nylon shells, your hands will be kept warm and safe when the temperatures fall.
Leather reinforced palms provide a sure grip of axes, ropes and ski poles, and cinch down wrist straps and gauntlet style drawcords keep snow, moisture and cold air out, or remove the down mittens when the waterproof protection their outer shell.
OUTDOOR RESEARCH ALTI MITTS
Finding effective mitts in extreme cold weather is difficult, but the Outdoor Research Alti Mitts ($170) is the best we found. They encompass both windproof and waterproof material, while also wicking away sweat from your hands. This incredible set of properties justifies the cost by itself.
CANADA GOOSE MERINO WOOL SHEARLING PILOT HAT
Making use of Merino wool, the Canada Goose Shearling Pilot Hat ($215) is built to last. Internal reflective tape at the seams for added visibility, an adjustable leather chinstrap and metal buckle to tighten down the ear protection and keep it where you need it, it also has a shearling section that can be positioned via a set of ring fasteners to provide you added protection against biting winds and nasty weather conditions.
MAD BOMBER NYLON FUR HAT
The Mad Bomber Nylon Fur Hat ($39) is as comfortable as it looks. The natural rabbit-fur trim provides a great deal of heat insulation. This is a great hat for low-stress activities and traveling. However, if you plan to be active, you need a breathable hat so that sweat won’t drip down and soak your base and mid layers. The best option for an athlete is a moisture wicking hat.
BAFFIN MEN’S ENDURANCE SNOW BOOT
Go big or stay home. When talking about extreme cold weather gear, you need to go for a boot that handles both deep snow and frigid temperatures.
The Baffin Endurance Snow Boot ($184) features an eight-layer Thermatuf II inner bootie that retains heat. A double-layer metallic membrane that reflects heat. And an Open-cell foam and hollow fiber insulation that provides warmth down to an amazing -148 degree Fahrenheit. The Endurance is waterproof above and below and has an integrated snow cuff with
They also feature a shock-absorbing Gelflex midsole, and a Polar Rubber outsole. These two components
KLIM ARCTIC FLEECE-LINED NEOPRENE BALACLAVA
Klim Arctic Fleece-Lined Neoprene Balaclava ($55) is the ultimate cold weather facial protection. It is designed to block out almost all wind, nd conforms almost perfectly to any face (both in terms of shape and size). The fleece lining provides maximum comfort and breathability.
Keeping your face protected against the cold, and offering further warmth and protection to your throat and lungs, letting you enjoy your time outdoors longer and in greater comfort.
CARHARTT EXTREME COLD WEATHER BOOT SOCK
A comfortable and moisture resistant boot sock is a necessity for long cold weather outings. The Carhartt Extreme Cold Weather Boot Sock ($12) is an acrylic, wool, and nylon blend to maximize comfort and performance.
SMART WOOL MOUNTAINEERING EXTRA HEAVY SOCKS
Rounding out the protection for your feet against the cold, choosing the right sock to compliment your footwear is a step that is sometimes overlooked in its importance.
The Smart Wool Mountaineering Heavy Sock ($30) is nothing short of a marvel. Using their SmartWool Fit System, both arch and ankle are provided with extended support, as well as the reinforced sole for maximum comfort and durability.