The Outdoor Clothing You Need To Stay Warm On Your Winter Walks

Can you feel that nip in the air? Winter is most definitely on its way.

Can you feel that nip in the air? Winter is most definitely on its way.

We might not be heading to campsites, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get out and about and enjoy the great outdoors. In fact, autumn and winter are amazing times of the year for getting outside – and as the old saying goes: there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing.

We know that if you get cold when walking or hiking, then it’s not particularly pleasant, so we’ve put together some top tips and highlighted the outdoor clothing you need to stay warm on your walks this autumn and winter.

Read on to discover the outdoor clothing and precautions you need to take to stay warm on your winter walks…



The key to staying warm is layering, and it’s really quite simple – the more layer you put on, the warmer you’ll be. This is because air gets trapped between each layer, acting as insulation.

When we talk about layering clothing, we usually refer to three layers – baselayers, mid-layers and outer layers, although you can have as many or as few layers as you need. We’ve provided a little more info about each layer.


This is the layer that goes against your skin and traps air against your body. Base layers are usually made from stretchy, figure-hugging material that should also be breathable to allow material to escape away from your body. You shouldn’t wear a t-shirt as a base layer as this will likely retain moisture and make you cold.

Read more: What are Baselayers? A Guide to Thermal Wear


As the name suggests, a mid-layer is the layer that goes in the middle, over the top of the baselayer and underneath the outer layer. Fleeces and softshells make excellent mid-layers, especially if they’re breathable to wick away moisture. On milder days, these can be worn as an outer layer. You can find out more in our dedicated blog about softshell jackets.

Read more: How do I Choose a Fleece? Fleece Buying Guide

Outer layers

When the weather’s really cold and inclement, you’ll need a good quality outer layer to go on top of your other layers. A waterproof jacket is perfect as an outer layer, as it’ll keep you warm and stop water soaking through to your other layers.

Ideally, you should also go for a breathable material such as GORE-TEX so moisture doesn’t get trapped between layers. A lightweight jacket is recommended when layering so it can be easily packed away if you get too warm.

Read more: Waterproof Jacket Buying Guide

Tips for layering

  • A 3-in-1 jacket is an effective way of layering, combining the mid and outer layer in one jacket, which can then be separated up depending on the weather.
  • You can also layer on your lower body. We have baselayer ‘tights’ that will fit under your walking trousers, and then waterproof overtrousers to go on top. Discover more in our walking trousers buying guide
  • This works exactly the same way as layering on your upper body and will help keep you warmer when the temperatures plummet.


Protect your extremities

Protect your extremities

A surefire way to get cold is to not sufficiently protect your extremities, which are the parts of your body furthest away from your heart – so that means your hands, feet and head. If you don’t keep them warm, then it’s potentially very dangerous to not look after these parts of your body, and in really cold weather you could even fall victim to frostbite.

Hiking footwear

There are few things guaranteed to make you more miserable when you’re walking than having cold feet, so it’s important to keep them warm and dry. To do so, you’ll need some walking boots or shoes.

If you’re walking longer distances or over rocky terrain, get some walking boots, but if you’re doing shorter, easier walks then walking shoes might be a better option.

Read more: Walking & Hiking Boots Buying Guide

If your feet get wet, then they’re going to get cold, so waterproof walking boots should be a priority. Most are waterproof these days, especially if you go for a synthetic material, but you can also treat them with a waterproofing spray to double-down.

If you’re going to be walking through water at any point, then you might want to also consider some gaiters (find out more in our gaiters guide). And of course, you’ll need some good quality walking socks to go underneath your boots as well.

Read more: Waterproof & Walking Socks Guide

Top tips for walking in winter

Top tips for walking in winter

Plan well

Good planning is essential when hiking, and as long as you’re prepared, you should be able to deal with most things the great outdoors throws at you. Make sure you have all the kit you need, plan your route, and how long you think you’ll be gone.

Take spare clothing

Take as much spare clothing as you can comfortably carry. You can add it as extra layers if you get cold, but more importantly, you can replace wet clothes if you’re caught in bad weather. Wet clothing on a cold day is a one-way ticket to hypothermia, so some dry clothes could literally save your life.

Check the weather forecast

This is another essential bit of planning. The weather in the UK can be unpredictable at the best of times but can be especially so in winter at the top of a mountain. Plan what clothing to wear and take with you based on the weather, and keep checking as often as possible as it can quickly change.

Take a hot drink

Pop a hot drink or soup in a thermal flask – it might seem a bit of a pain to carry but you’ll be thankful when you can have a nice warm cup of tea.

Let someone know where you’re going

Always let someone who’s staying at home know where you’re going and when. Take your mobile phone with you (and battery pack if you can), but you might not get a signal. So, by letting someone know where you’re going and when you should be back, they can alert someone if they’re worried you’re not back in time and can’t reach you.

If you follow these steps, you’ll stay warm and be able to fully enjoy the great outdoors come rain or shine in the coolest temperatures this winter.

Check out the links below for more essential clothing and gear for winter walking and hiking.

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