Whether you’re braving cold weather to snowmobile, hunt, shovel snow, tailgate, or just deep-fry the Thanksgiving turkey, the right gear will keep you from getting uncomfortably numb.
By Barbara Rice Thompson
Patagonia • $149
This classic cold-weather hoodie is an ideal middle or outer layer. It’s warm, lightweight, and breathable, with Polartec Power Dry fabric that wicks moisture away from your body. The zipper is offset and the hood is balaclava-style; there’s one external pocket on the chest; and the raglan sleeves are comfortable under a backpack and have thumb loops to keep them in place.
Thermal Zone mock turtleneck
Cabelas • $85
This base-layer collection (which includes a crew neck, $80; and pants, $80) boasts excellent thermal-regulating wicking capabilities that are enhanced by the unique multiweight-fabric construction. Polar Weight covers areas that are heavily exposed; a light Tech Weight covers high-perspiration areas; mid-weight fills the rest. The fabric is antimicrobial; flat-lock seams add comfort and minimize chafing; and thumbholes and a drop tail keep the shirts in place.
Soft-shell winter hat
Tilley • $85
Sure, an Elmer Fudd–style hat like the hipsters wear will keep you warm, but this one is less goofy-looking and is both classic and versatile. It’s water-repellent and boasts 3XDRY technology, meaning the polar-fleece backing moves moisture to the outside of the hat so it can evaporate. It’s also breathable, crushable, and machine washable, with tuck-away ear covers and a reflective headband.
RediLayer crew base layer
Redington • $70 wool/nylon blend; $50 fully synthetic
If you’re in the habit of working up a sweat outdoors, you’ve probably already heard the adage “cotton kills.” That’s especially true when it’s cold, so you need base layers that efficiently pull moisture away from your body. The RediLayer wool-blend collection has great wicking capabilities, seamless construction for comfort, and is odor-resistant. The fully synthetic collection is fast-wicking, antimicrobial, and has a 30+ UPF rating. Both collections include pants ($60 wool blend; $40 synthetic).
Zenta LT gloves
Arc’teryx • $160
These waterproof and breathable gloves, which are new for the 2011–12 season, feature the company’s Gore-Tex XCR (Extended Comfort Range) technology, so they’ll keep your hands both warm and dry; the double-weave soft-shell material boasts “snow-shedding” technology. If you need extra coverage for your wrists, opt for the Zenta ARs ($185), which have full-length cuffs and wrist cords.
Vans • $90
This company is best known for its shoes for skateboarders, and that design aesthetic is carried over to these leather winter boots. The reverse waffle sole provides traction, but the rubber outsole is water-resistant, not waterproof, so they won’t be your best option in deep snow. But these comfortable kicks are a hell of a lot better than ruining your good boots in wet weather.
Camouflage jacket and pants
Gamehide • $60 jacket; $80 pants
Hunting doesn’t have to turn you into tick bait. ElimiTick tick-repelling outerwear from Gamehide offers odorless and invisible Insect Shield protection that lasts for 70 washings. On the plus side, the clothing is quiet and breathable. On the down side, it’s not waterproof or warm, so you’ll need a decent base layer under it.