How to keep warm when walking (or camping!)

How to keep warm when walking (or camping!)

As the weather has taken a decidedly cooler turn, I thought it would be a great opportunity to write about the right outdoor clothes to wear to stay warm and comfortable. I have mentioned this briefly before and always state that it’s best to wear layers. Well, it’s dawned on me that I’ve never actually fully explained what this layering system consists of.

When walking you can experience a wide range of temperatures in a day, this is especially true if you are walking at altitude, so you need to be ready for anything!

It is therefore important that you can add, or take off layers, as the conditions change. Obviously, you also need to be able to carry this additional clothing with you, so they need to be light and compact.

Broadly speaking, there are three distinct layers:

  1. The base layer. This sits next to your skin, creating a layer of warm air and wicks away moisture to help you regulate body temperature. I usually wear a running top-either long or short sleeved. If you go to the gym or cycle, for example, you will probably already have one of these ‘technical’ t shirts. I also have a full thermal base layer (top and tights), although it has to be really cold for me to wear it when walking (it’s useful for camping though, even if I do feel like Spider-Man when I wear it!)
  2. The mid layer. This traps your body heat and keeps you warm. A fleece is ideal to wear over your base layer. I have a thin fleece top that I wear for walking, it’s so light yet keeps me nice and toasty . It’s also easy to roll it up and shove in my bag if I get too warm. If it is particularly cold, a gilet or body warmer, or even a soft shell jacket, will keep you cosy.
  3. The outer layer. This is the weatherproof layer that protects you from the wind and rain. You don’t have to spend too much money on gear, but a decent waterproof is a good investment and should last a few years. A 3 in 1 jacket with a detachable fleece lining is also a versatile option for the fickle British weather. Look for storm flaps on the zips and a decent hood to keep you warm and dry.
Finn in his wet weather gear taking shelter in the pubHere is Finn modelling his waterproofs & me in a winter cycling top. I bought it in the summer so got a bargain! I love this top, it’s breathable & has a fleecy lining, making it a perfect base layer for cold weather

Don’t forget to keep your extremities warm. It’s worth getting proper walking socks, these will keep your feet warm and dry and are much more comfortable than normal socks. Also, a hat and gloves are essential. I personally don’t like scarves, I’ve got a couple of high necked base layers if its very chilly, but I know a lot of people swear by fleece neckwarmers for winter walking.

Hopefully that has given you some ideas on what to wear while out and about in cold weather. Do you have any tips on how to stay warm?



  • Jenny Jenny October 21, at 19:37

    Great tips! Thank you! I love my layers for walking and was a bit annoyed when we went camping that I couldn’t find my thermals, they can be useful for winter. Great bargain with the top mid layers are always so important and not always thought about.
    Thanks so much for linking up to #HowtoSunday 🙂 x

  • Kids of the Wild Kids of the Wild February 20, at 08:02

    Timely tips for my snow holing adventure in 3 weeks! Thanks Lauren


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