Dressing for snowshoeing is all about layers!
Snowshoeing is an activity and you will be surprised at how quickly you will warm up. Consequently, you will want to consider dressing in layers…which is the use of multiple clothing layers to regulate your body temperature by allowing you to quickly and easily add or take away layers. You want to prevent overheating while you are exerting yourself…but not freeze up when you stop to rest.
Let’s start from the feet and head up your body:
Socks: Feet have one of the highest concentration of sweat glands in our bodies…so think about using socks that have a built in moisture management system. Sock liners help to draw sweat away from the feet (as well as helping to prevent the possibility of blisters) and good socks with a high wool content will help also. Remember…wet feet are cold feet!
Under Clothes: This is the layer that's next to your skin. It includes T-shirts, long underwear, a sports bra for women and briefs that are designed to keep your body dry. New synthetic microfibers are vastly preferable to nylon or cotton for this layer because they dry quickly and wick moisture away from your skin - the most important step in keeping warm. The base layer also helps trap a thin layer of warm air next to your skin that will buffer against encroaching, colder outside air.
Mid-Clothing: This is the layer that is designed for warmth. Again, synthetic fibers such as fleece, pile or polyester fill, as well as wool, all make excellent mid layers. These fabrics trap warm air and act as an insulator. As with all snowshoeing clothing, the material you choose should have moisture-management properties, because it works with your base layer to keep you dry. Tops that can be zipped open for quick ventilation are your best bet.
Outer Layers: This is the layer that needs to work well…so the other layers can do their thing. Look for clothing and handwear that has wind resistance, water resistance and can be easily opened or closed to help with body temperature regulation. Heavy down jackets or waterproof coats trap heat inside and can easily cause overheating. Jackets and pants with multiple zipper systems can be opened and closed to maintain the right level of venting and temperature controls.