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Dressing for Success- winter layers | Four elements

Snowshoe hikers

Comfort and Joy: The Ultimate Guide to Dressing for Maximum Comfort and Joy on Winter Outdoor Adventures

Discover the magic of winter with snowshoeing, an enchanting outdoor experience that combines exercise with breathtaking snowy landscapes. To make the most of your snowshoe tour, it's crucial to dress appropriately. This guide will walk you through the essentials, ensuring you stay warm, dry, and comfortable during your winter adventures.

Climate Considerations


Winter walking and snowshoeing span diverse climates, from exposed mountain tops to chilly northern slopes and sun-drenched snow fields. Prepare for variable weather conditions, including wind, precipitation and sun, as you gear up for your snowshoe tour.

Layering System

Layering outdoor

Master the art of layering with a strategic combination of base, insulation, and outer layers. Opt for moisture-wicking base materials like merino wool, insulating layers such as fleece, and a waterproof and windproof outer shell for ultimate protection.

Base Layer

Base layers

Choose base layers that efficiently wick moisture away, such as merino wool or synthetic fabrics. Avoid cotton, as it retains moisture and can lead to discomfort and even hypothermia.

Top-tip: Pack a spare base-layer to switch into at the summit or in case you need to stay put somewhere for a while. A dry base layer is vital to avoid getting cold if you are not moving/ exerting yourself.

Insulation or Mid Layer

Mid layers

Keep warm with insulating layers like fleece or down, providing the right balance of warmth without adding unnecessary bulk to your snowshoeing attire.

Outer Layer

Outer layers

Shield yourself from the elements with a waterproof and windproof outer layer. Opt for breathable fabrics to prevent overheating and maintain comfort throughout your snowshoe tour.

Top tip: Choose an outer layer with pit zips/ thigh zips for further ventilation and temperature regulation possibilities.



Retain heat with a cozy hat or beanie and neck buff.

Pro-tip: Wear a lightweight headband for ascents, which will keep your ears warm as you ascend and save the hat for the summit, where you need to keep the heat in.

Hands and Feet


Two pairs of gloves are essential. A lightweight pair, ideally windproof, to keep your fingers protected as you go uphill. For extreme cold and downhill, invest in insulated, waterproof gloves or mittens to keep your hands warm and dry (ski gloves will do here). Don't forget sturdy hiking boots with ankle support, insulation and good traction for comfortable and safe snowshoeing.

Sun protection

Due to the reflective nature of snow, sunglasses and sun protection is incredibly important. Don’t be fooled by cloudy days- the rays can still get through! For multi-day tours or where a snowstorm might be possible, pack a pair of ski goggles. Visibility is key to personal safety!



Gaiters are important to keep snow out and maintain dry toasty feet- get gaiters that go above your calves for protection in deep snow. Moisture-wicking or woollen socks will keep your feet toasty too.

Safety Precautions

As always check the weather forecast and avalanche bulletin before your adventure, and carry essentials like a map, compass, and emergency supplies. Learn more about planning for winter walking and snowshoe adventures here. (LINK: https://www.4elements.eu/winter-walking-and-snowshoeing-bavarian-alps)

Tips and Tricks

Outdoor Layers combined

Finding out the layering sweet spot is part planning and part experience that you build through practice. As a rule, it is good to start slightly cool, as you will warm up as you ascend. Too many layers can turn you into a sweaty mess, and nobody wants a damp base layer. Carrying an extra layer for the downhill walk is your secret weapon.

Keeping well hydrated and nourished will also help regulate your body temperature. Little and often is the key here.

If you are prone to cold hands, a couple of hand warmers can be a game-changer on the mountain!

Off you go!

Equipped with the right knowledge and gear, you're ready to embark on a memorable snowshoe tour. Embrace the winter wonderland, stay safe, and make the most of this incredible experience!

Want to get out and explore the winter wonderland with us this winter? Join our snowshoe community- sign-up to our Snowshoe whatsapp group for updates and pop-up snowshoe tours!


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