“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.” So said
With this in mind, here is our review of the best winter kit for staying warm and dry in the wintertime.
Women’s 9in Bridger insulated B-Dry boots
Oboz are based in the Rocky Mountains, where they know a thing or two about chilly winters. Lined with Thinsulate microfleece, with thermal insoles and made with plenty of room for thick socks, the Bridger should keep your feet toasty too. Waterproof, tough, with chunky, grippy soles.
Odin Stretch Hooded Insulator
Helly Hansen, £180
• Versions for men and women
This jacket feels instantly comfortable – cosy and cushioned. It delivers real warmth but you don’t get the build-up of sweat you can experience from some jackets whilst stomping the hills, thanks to its breathable Primaloft insulation. The stretch fabric panels under the pits allow unrestrained movement. [TB]
• Read more about this jacket – and a bunch of other ideas for midlayers
This luxuriantly snug fleece is made of Polartec Thermo Pro, a knitted-style fabric which is stretchy for a close fit. The hood is warm and the pockets can be zipped to keep valuables secure. Stylish and green, too – it’s made from 100% recycled plastic bottles.
• Unisex design
With a tough and waterproof fabric and effective synthetic Softie insulation designed to keep you comfortable in subzero temperatures, this is great for low-exertion activities: walking the dog, winter gardening, wildlife-watching or mooching about in chilly woodlands. If you do overheat, underarm vents let in cool air.
It’s relatively bulky – not the kind of thing you want to stuff in you daypack. The removable, insulated hood fits a little loosely – adjustment could be better. The pockets are snugly fleece-lined.
Hot & Cold One thermal bottle
Stylish 50cl flask with drip-free, pop-open top. Keeps drink piping hot for an impressive 12 hours. Lots of colour options available, including brushed steel – probably the most durable finish.
Terra Nova, £35
This herringbone weave cap has a traditional look – but cleverly conceals a waterproof membrane, so your head stays warm and dry even in teeming rain.
Merino Bamboo Beanie
Soft and warm, for chilly rather than bitterly cold days. Made of 60% merino wool and 40% bamboo viscose.
UK-made from British wool, this fleece-lined beanie is seriously warm – and stylish too. Takes the chill out of winter walks.
Fingerless Thinny Glove
If you want to keep your fingers free to fiddle with your phone or GPS, these stretchy Thermolite gloves give you some welcome protection from Jack Frost. When it’s really freezing, wear as a base layer beneath more substantial gloves.
Vortex GTX Glove
If you suffer from cold fingers, rain is often a worse foe than snow. Once your gloves are soaked, the wind chill really kicks in. These neat gloves are made from a waterproof Gore-Tex outer, lined with soft microfleece and filled with a layer of synthetic insulation. They are less bulky than many other similar gloves, so you’re much more likely to reach for them repeatedly through winter.
Luxe bamboo neck tube
This super-soft snood keeps those nasty winter drafts from creeping down your neck, or wear as a head scarf. Made from a blend of bamboo viscose and cotton.
Heat Walk Sock
1000 Mile, £17.99
Keep your feet snug by wrapping them in a double-layer of insulating fabric. The inner layer is made of Nilit Heat yarn, apparently made from charred coffee grounds (whatever next?), while the outer is a blend of merino wool (25%) with man-made fibres and a bit of cotton. Proper cosy, as we say in Bristol.
4 Season Walk Sock
1000 Mile, £17.49
Thick socks with cushioning in key places to protect your feet on freezing trails. Made of 70% cosy Merino wool with 30% nylon for stretch and durability.
Men’s Primino 140 Long Johns
• Or Long Janes for women
Warm but soft and breathable, these are great for active pursuits when your core temperature goes up and down. The fabric blends 50% merino wool with polyester and Primaloft – a synthetic insulating material first developed for the US Army in the 1980s. Essentially the fabric draws moisture away from your body where it evaporates more readily, so you feel drier and warmer during down times between activity.
Men’s Lifa Merino ¾ boot top PA
Helly Hansen, £60
Sometimes full-length long johns can start to seem a mild encumbrance after a while outdoors – not to mention a little stuffy. These cut-offs provide plenty of insulation, but your movement feels freer, and allow a little fresh air to circulate too. These are made from Norwegian firm Helly Hansen’s warmest grade of baselayer fabric, which comprise a merino wool exterior bonded to a synthetic lining designed to draw moisture away from your skin.
• Wear beneath hiking trousers or breeches, or beneath shorts on your bike.
Men’s anatomica boxers
These merino wool boxers remain pleasant to wear when you are toiling up hills in winter or summer, as merino has natural wicking properties, drawing moisture away from the skin. It stays fresh after repeated use, too – perfect if you are heading out on a multi-day hike. Some merino underwear tends to sag a little after a day’s wear – not a good look – but these held their shape nicely. Lots of undie options for women, too.
• Reviews by Joe Pontin and Tim Bates (TB)