This Cold-Weather Gear Is Endorsed By People Who Work Outside All Day Long

We asked people who work outdoors for their best tips to manage the chill, and they did not disappoint.
Merino wool base layer pants, Wrangler thermals, rechargeable hand warmer.

When the mercury drops, you may try to limit the time you spend out of the house. But if you have to shovel snow, walk your dog or make it to the train, you’ll likely have to brave the cold winter outdoors. We asked people who work outside in the winter for their warming wisdom.

Before becoming the marketing director for Blue Knob Ski Resort, Donna Himes spent many winters working outdoors around ski mountains. She (and much of her staff) say the key to staying warm when it is cold outside is layering, layering and then layering some more. Further, whether you’re waiting in line or going on a walk, Himes recommends moving around enough to stay warm, but not so much that you’ll start to sweat, as your sweat in the cold can get chilly.

We spoke to Himes and a variety of other people who work outside in the winter who recommended some products to stay toasty while enduring the outdoor cold.

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A pack of disposable hand warmers
Donna Himes, the marketing director for Blue Knob Ski Resort, recommends using disposable hand warmers in your gloves or mittens when spending time outdoors. "I absolutely love hand warmers and am never without them in the cold," Himes told HuffPost.

These handheld packets heat up in 30 seconds and can stay warm in your hands for up to 10 hours. They're easy to carry with you in your car or bag and are ready at a moment's notice to give your fingers some heat. You can even sneak then in your boots to warm your toes.
Or a battery-powered reusable one
Or for a more sustainable option, this reusable hand warmer is consistently a best-selling item here at HuffPost. It's lightweight, handheld and can reach up to 131 degrees.
A quick-drying base layer
Blue Knob Ski Resort instructor Tim Corle and Gary Dietke, mountain manager both recommend investing in a good set of base layers. Corle's main tip though for staying warm in the cold is to stay dry, so you'll want to look for underthings that will wick moisture away from your body and dry quickly.

According to fabric experts we previously spoke to, a great way to do this is to swap to Merino wool base layers, which notably dry quickly. Merino wool naturally temperature regulates, helping you stay warm without getting sweaty or clammy. This set from REI is made from 100% merino wool. It naturally has UPF 30 sun protection and is super soft without being itchy.
Or a Merino wool T-shirt
When we rounded up Merino wool base layers you can find on Amazon, this short-sleeve T-shirt was the most popular with HuffPost readers. If you run hot, you may feel more comfortable in a short sleeve base layer. Plus, this can easily be worn in warmer months as a quick-drying shirt on hikes or runs.
Wranglers waffle thermal set
For a few years now I've done all-year street outreach helping unhoused people with the Philadelphia non-profit Savage Sisters.Jose Castillo, a harm reduction specialist, leads Savage Sisters's winter outreaches and spends hours outdoors in the winter giving out supplies and doing trash pickup.

Castillo also swears by layering with thermals — specifically this affordable Wrangler set from Walmart. According to Castillo, this set is easy to wear, comfortable on the skin and keeps you warm even after hours outside.
A thermal-lined Dickies hoodie
Max Frost, a farmer at Urban Roots Farm in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, also agrees that layering is the best way to beat the cold. They love this thermal-lined Dickies hoodie, which layers well over base layers and can easy fit under a winter jacket. They say in cooler weather you can wear it alone as a top layer and then can wear it under a jacket in the very cold.
A wind-resistant top layer
Sam Wiley, assistant mountain manager and snowboard instructor at Blue Knob Ski Resort, suggests finding a strong outer layer that blocks wind. He says that properly layering underneath and then ensuring you have a wind-resistant top can help you be best prepared for the cold.

While he didn't recommend a specific jacket, we love this highly-rated Fjallraven wind jacket that's lightweight and easy to pack. It's great in the fall or spring during lighter rain or to wear as a top layer to keep away the wind.
A safety utility winter coat
As for Frost's top layer, they use a utility jacket made for airport workers and recommend it for cold weather and the elements. We found this budget-friendly option on Amazon. It’s fully waterproof and thermally lined, and has a 4.6-star rating from customers.
A six-pack of Dickies crew socks
To keep your toes warm Castillo recommends Dickies crew socks, saying they're the perfect thickness for boots without being too bulky. He says they keep his feet warm and comfortable, even when walking in the snow and rain for hours.

Want more great picks? Here’s everything winter muralists wear to stay warm in the winter.

A fleece balaclava
Colossal Media painter Daniel Levin suggests this polar fleece balaclava, a warming and wind-blocking hood that has an optional mouth and nose cover, along with a cinching tie to keep things snug and closer to the face.

"Fleece is cheap, super warm, and lasts a long time," Levin said.

The Stoic moisture-wicking hood claims to fit comfortably under helmets, is offered in one unisex size and 11 colors.
A pair of cushioned wool socks
Levin and painter Amissa Epperson both mentioned Smartwool socks as vital cold-weathers essential that you shouldn't skimp on. Epperson claims that Smartwool, along with the wool sock options from Bombas, keep feet warm for a long time, even in the wind and cold.

This particular pair of classic Smartwool crew socks are an REI bestseller and come in four sizes, feature a heavy cushioned sole as well as an elasticized arch brace for a secure and comfortable fit.
Three pairs of merino wool thermal socks
Another sock option comes at the recommendation of painter Christophe Michel, who pairs these with winter hiking bootsand single-use toe warmers. These thermal socks are made with an itch-free and temperature-regulating merino wool, feature a cushioned footbed and have a soft, fuzzy lining.
A "Heattech" turtleneck from Uniqlo
Epperson, Michel and fellow painter Sara Caruso are all fans of Uniqlo's Heattech line of “ultra warm” base layers, which range from crewnecks to leggings to these turtlenecks. According to Caruso, they perform pretty similarly to more expensive wool base layers.

Made from a high-performance fabric that claims to absorb and retain heat, this versatile base layer promises to be stretchy and non-bulky for a comfortable wear that moves with you. It's available in four colors and sizing for both men and women.
A set of men's microfiber base layers
When it comes to base layers, Michel said he uses microfiber underpants beneath a pair of snowboard pants. We found this pair of thermal microfiber underwear that's not only fleece-lined for superior warmth, but offers an ultra-flexible four-way stretch and moisture-wicking comfort. Available in tons of color options, this set is available in sizes XS-3X.
A pair of insulated and moisture-wicking gloves
Colossal painter Janine Taylor uses this pair of Carhartt gloves to provide her hands with adequate warmth while also avoiding that uncomfortable clammy feeling you can sometimes get with overly-stuffy winter gloves. Available in 3 sizes and colors, these quilted mitts are poly-filled for insulation, lined with moisture-wicking material and have a removable waterproof insert.
A pair of fleece-lined cargo pants
"Fleece-lined cargo pants can be found cheap and keep pockets accessible when wearing a harness and thick gloves," Levin said, of this affordable pair from Wrangler. "I don’t spend a lot on these because I’m going to trash them with paint in one or two seasons."

These relaxed fit pants have a polyester fleece lining and come in a few colors, three lengths and men's sizes 29-42.
Carhartt fleece-lined work cargos
Another fleece-lined cargo option suggested by both Taylor and Caruso are these durable work pants by Carhartt, which come in a ripstop exterior (men’s) and a canvas one (women’s). Both promise the brand’s Rugged Flex stretch technology, which moves with the wearer, in addition to providing warmth.
A pair of Hoka Gore-Tex hiking shoes
Combining the comfort of a supportive walking shoe and the rugged capacity of a hiking boot, these Hoka shoes were suggested by Taylor and come in sizes for both women and men, along with tons of color combinations. These American Podiatric Medical Association-approved sneakers have a Gore-Tex membrane for waterproof yet breathable performance.
A pair of Bludstone Chelsea boots
For painter Samara Nelson, these Chelsea work boots by Bludstone, a versatile footwear company with a longstanding reputation for reliability, are a frequent staple in her winter wear rotation.

According to her, boots are tricky for most women in this industry because few work boot brands fit smaller feet. "But I swear by the leather Blundstones as waterproof, all-weather everyday boots," Nelson said, adding that in the winter she uses the brand's sheep's wool footbed inserts for added warmth.

These leather boots, which use a brand-exclusive system that disperses shock and reduces skeletal stress, are both heat- and slip-resistant and have a steel toe design for protection in relevant work environments. They are available in both men's and women's sizing.
A pair of down utility pants
Painter Armando Balmaceda said down-filled garments are lightweight yet supreme options for warmth. He likes these down utility snow pants, which have five pockets plus an adjustable elastic waist and can be compressed down for super-easy travel. Made with a water- and wind-proof exterior, they are available in four colors and gender-neutral sizes XXS-XXL.
A water-repelling down parka
Another cold-weather pick from Balmaceda is this puffer parka by Uniqlo that's filled with responsibly sourced 750 down and coated with a water-repelling finish.

"600–850-fill down is light and keeps the organs toasty," Levin said, adding that when the temperatures drop he swaps out a regular hoodie for a hooded down jacket.

You can grab this parka in five colors and men's sizes XXS-3XL.
A sherpa-lined jacket
"[An] outer shell is the most important in our industry and gets beat up the most, so those have to be heavy-duty," Nelson said. According to her, they can help cut wind chill and can be worn over a down jacket.

"[The] sherpa-lined Carhartt duck-washed canvas jacket is waterproof and adds some extra insulation," Nelson said of this tough and durable coat, which features an attached sherpa-lined hood with a hidden drawcord. Grab this in five colors and sizing for both men and women.
A heated full-zip fleece
Painter Harrison Cencer suggested this heated zip-up by Ororo that's made from a breathable fleece material and comes in options for both men's and women's sizing. "This is a battery-powered heated jacket that I wear underneath my outer layers on any extremely cold day," Cencer said. "It doesn’t keep the cold out, but it heats itself to keep the warm in. I layer thicker down jackets and a windbreaker on top of it to really seal in the heat. It’s already served me so well this winter.”
A heated soft shell jacket
Another, more affordable heated jacket comes suggested by painter Kate Rushton. This machine-washable and water-resistant outer shell features seven heating panels on the chest, back and neck. Wearers can also choose from three adjustable heating levels; the jackets is heated via an external battery pack that can also be used to power up phones. It's available in styles for both men and women.
A pair of long and heated ski socks
These long and midweight ski socks, a choice of Rushton's, offer three levels of battery-operated heat and a wear that's comfortable and, of course, warm. If you're concerned about the feeling of stepping on heating panels, the brand promises the socks use soft wires and feature a designated calf pocket to hold the battery pack. They are available in four colors and gender-neutral sizes S-XL.
Three pairs fleece-lined thermal tights
Perfect as a base layer, Rushton likes these thermal tights, which are lined with a plush fleece and have a comfortable compression. Available in three different sizes, these tights come in a variety of styles, including footed and unfooted options.

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