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Anupama Pradeep

Winter Pant Layering for Hikers Who Sweat

Along with a good hiking backpack and the right pair of hiking boots, winter hiking pants are the most essential items on your packing list. But how will you choose the right pants for your hiking needs if you are a person who sweats frequently? It is really important to know that each pair of pants is designed for the same conditions.

Personal comfort, as well as weather terrains, are the only variables here. This point to the fact that there are wide ranges of hiking pants available. During the summer season, you require a lighter pair of hiking pants with zip-off feature while the winter pants are made with tougher fabrics and will be warmer.

While sleeping out for the outdoor adventures, the art of layering will turn out to be your smart-technology thermostat. This strategy will help to control your comfort levels by properly slipping the layers on and off based on your activity or on the climatic changes.

winter hiking cold outside

In order to understand  the layering, you first need to know about the function of every layer:

Base Layer

This is the underwear layer which will wick away the sweat from your skin.

Middle Layer

This is considered as the insulating layer which helps to retain the temperature of the body for protecting you from the chilly weather.

Outer Layer

This is known as the shell layer and will help to protect you from the rain and wind.

It is a good idea to carry all the three layers with you even if you are not in a plan to wear it. You can peel off the layering if the things heat up or you can add on the layers if needed based on the conditions.

How Base Layers Functions?

Sweating is one of the wonderful biological mechanisms which nature has created to ensure that mammals don’t heat up much and experience internal organ failure. Animals sweat in different ways; however, humans will sweat from the skin directly through the sweat glands. The main thought behind sweating is to make use of this evaporation for cooling your body while you are warm, whether being dressed overly or active or in a warmer environment.

The body always tries to manage to stay at an average temperature of 98ºf  by any means. However, the actual evaporation is happening with the movement of liquid sweat on to a gaseous form, which in turn is released into the air. This movement requires some energy utilization and will cool the surface it evaporates from very fast.

senior male winter hiking

How to Choose Warm Pants for Winter and Avoid Sweating?

Don’t sweat!!! This is one of the basic sayings during winter adventure which can be achieved if you follow certain rules. You can very well minimize sweating if you follow simple tips and tricks. So some may ask – Why not sweat? The answer is undemanding. If you sweat too much, the base layers which you are wearing will get wet or damp. And if this is damp, it requires more body heat to warm up this moisture and evaporate it for keeping you comfortable.

If this doesn’t happen, then the moisture content present will cool down and will chill you, giving you an unpleasant feeling. In simple words, damp or wet base layers will run you cold. Here is what you can really do for reducing the amount of sweat.

Sense Sweat

Make sure that you observe your body while being in the chilly weather and try to spot out the specific moment when you start to sweat. This is the moment which you have to act and take the necessary steps wisely for lowering the amount of sweat produced.

 Layering Adjustments

You just need few layering to stay warm while being in the cold climate and should also make sure that you de-layer to some other layers while you begin to sweat or sense sweating.

Remember that, during the initial movement you won’t be that cold and your body will overheat as soon as it warms for the effort. Note that there are certain materials such as Gore-Tex or similar waterproof-breathable fabrics and the windproof fleece is not that breathable and won’t allow the sweat to evaporate, thus trapping it inside itself. This is where you need to take the next action swiftly.

Right Ventilation

Wearing a base layer and outer shell and still sweating? Well, the next thing to do is to unzip the entire pit zips which are present on the jacket, if any and just open up the front zipper. If the hiking pants or the bibs are having any side zippers, then open them too. You can even think of removing the jacket completely if the climate allows.

 Move Slowly

This is one of the best and the most challenging advice to go after. Moving slowly and steady for lowering the amount of sweat produced is just like going at a lethargic pace of a snail. However, if you move so, along with reducing the amount of sweat, it also helps to save your energy, thus allowing you to maintain your pace for longer trekking time.  


The Second Skin – More about the Base Layer

The idea of sweating is now clear and now we can check where the base layers fit into the tale.

In chilly weather or in conditions where fast cooling of the skin is not that welcoming, sweat will evaporate itself right from your base layers rather than from the skin. For this process to happen, the base layer should have a close contact with the skin. This may also help to avoid the pooling spots. This is the major reason why they are referred to as second skin – the layer which gets colder rather than your skin.

In addition to this, the base layers are having many important features apart from being skin tight. They absorb the sweat well and dry too fast. To get the complete effect from base layers, you need to pick the one which is tightly fitted. On the other hand, if you are that conscious about your body, then try to use it under your shorts or something. The only thing is to ensure that it is tight enough.

winter hiking

The Best Winter Hiking Pants

The cold weather hiking pants provide good insulation for hiking at ease. This is where the use of the best softshell pants comes into action. On the other hand, long johns are not good options expect to be used in extremely cold weather since they will move and rub against the hiking pants. Besides, they are also hard to wear and won’t be offering any protection against the wind and the rain.

The softshell pants also offer good warmth and weighs based on the thickness and make of the material. They offer better protection against the light rain and the wind. Even though they are water resistant, they are not waterproof.

The winter hiking pants women’s models are also available in the market with these features or more. However, the pants for women are designed in a different way since their skin is more sensitive than men. They will be constructed with premium materials and will be waterproof in nature. There will be heavy mesh linings for guarding your against the cold weather while being in the open air. This will be more suited for those who sweat more. The zippers can be opened for more ventilation and also for the evaporation process.

A Few Top Brands!!!

The Base layer is the most important pieces of hiking clothing since it is having direct contact with your skin. It affects the performance as well as comfort level while you hike around and hence choosing the right kind of base layers matters a lot. This layer is responsible for regulating the moisture content, protecting your skin from the harmful UV rays, chafing along with managing the natural heat of the body by lowering thermal conductivity. It is, therefore, necessary to choose the base layer which holds features such as quick-drying, moisture-wicking, breathable and durable.

Odlo Blackcomb Evolution Warm Base Layer Pants

Odlo Men's Blackcomb Evolution Warm Seamless Pants

The Odlo Blackcomb Evolution Warm Base Layer Pants is one such product which is designed with high-tech properties for keeping your legs dry as well as warm. They provide you with extreme freedom of movement and so you can even fly through the snow. Above all, the product is coming with the best antimicrobial treatment and this,  in turn, will help to lower the odors produced by sweat in the fabric.


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Patagonia Nano Puff Pants

Patagonia Men's Nano Puff Pants

The Patagonia Nano Puff Pants is made using simple design which performs well during cold conditions. When it is puffed up, it will help to stay warm and when compressed it can do well the job of both of its initial task. This is the best choice for those hikers who are looking for a packable insulation for their lower half. The pants work as the best mid layer or outer layer during chilly weather and are best suited for those who are going to spend hours in frigid temperatures. The expandable waist feature will help to fit securely without having a binding feeling. The low profile insulation along with the high crotch and a bit articulated knee makes them perfect pants which are made especially for outdoor adventures.

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Outdoor Research Men’s Ferrosi Pants

Outdoor Research Men's Ferrosi Pants

On the other hand, finding and paying for the best outer layers pants is having equal importance just like the base layers and the mid layers. Both for the summer and the causal hiking, you will never find a better choice than the Outdoor Research Men’s Ferrosi Pants. These are the best rated hiking and climbing soft-shell pants which helps to block light rain and also the shiver-inducing wind. They are light in weight, rugged, highly breathable as well as wind resistant. It provides a good stretch and complete coverage without compromising the freedom of movement. Above all, they offer good protection while hiking in rugged and rough alpine or rock environments.

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Foot Note!!!

As a thumb rule, if the temperature falls down and you are planning to be active, the base layer is a good option for you. Your main aim is to prevent your skin from the chilly weather and from the extreme weather conditions (wind or rain).

Base layers are important for breaks when compared to the time which you are really active or hiking. This is due to the fact that muscle cramps as well as cooling down are found to be an issue at this time rather than keeping yourself warm while moving around. This clearly points out that even if you are warm during trekking, the use of a base layer is vital to ensure that you won’t get cold from the sweating buckets.

Before placing your order, ensure that you are choosing the right size. All the hiking winter pants are made out of good quality breathable materials and are durable as well.


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chilly weather, cold climate, moisture, outdoor adventure, top 10 review, trekking, windproof, winter hiking

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