A thread at Hiker’s HQ muses on the challenges of staying dry while getting your heart rate up in cold weather.

What we always do, is start our adventures cold. We strip off our outer layer, and tough it out for the first five minutes, and then reassess. The goal is to wear barely enough to keep yourself warm during the aerobic part of your trip. Sometimes this means that we are stripping off even our mid layer, down to our baselayer. It is so easy to wear too much when you are moving. Hands hot and sweaty, your body is telling you something, ditch the gloves. Lose the hat. Take off the shell. Until you are near chilled. When we do this in cold weather, we can see the moisture in micro droplets out on the ends of our microfiber type clothing, evaporating off. (pretty cool to see in cold weather!)

A few things I’ve figured out:

  • Fleece is fine for sitting still; it’s way too hot for aerobic activity. But you should always pack a fleece top for cold-weather hikes so you’ll have something warm to change into during lunch breaks.
  • Rain jackets and windbreakers will get you wet on the inside in a hurry if you don’t unzip to air them out.
  • You build up sweat going up hills; it dries out when you’re going down.
  • A base layer alone may be all you need if the temperature’s above freezing.
  • If you want to stay dry, you have to change layers. This is a pain but there’s really no way around it.
  • All this stuff is about nine times more important if you’re out in the snow.

Your stay-dry tips are welcome, too.