Nordic Clothing Basics
The goal is to remain comfortable (not cold, not hot) in a winter environment while both exercising and resting.
- Thermal insulation – Preserves body warmth.
- Moisture control – Lets perspiration escape while keeping melting snow and rain out.
- Wind barrier – Protects against wind chill.
- Synthetics or wool – Especially against the skin, to wick away persperation. Wool insulates even when wet.
- NO COTTON – Especially against the skin or as a middle (insulation) layer. Cotton promotes evaporative cooling, which is not good in a winter environment.
Use a layering system for upper and lower body protection.
- Base layer – Insulates and transports moisture away from skin.
- Middle layer – Provides thermal insulation.
- Outer layer – Creates wind and moisture barrier(s).
Extremity Protection for Head, Hands, and Feet
- Cap – Wool or synthetic with thermal barrier protection. Since heat loss is greatest from the head, you can put-on or take-off the cap as a primary way to control body heat.
- Gloves – Light ski gloves or mittens (not insulated alpine gloves). Mittens will keep fingers warmer than gloves. Carry extras.
- Wool or synthetic socks – Use a thin liner sock under a medium weight outer sock.
- Gaiters – For deep snow.
- Eye protection – Use dark wrap-around sunglasses to protect eyes against harsh light reflected off the snow. Downhill (alpine) ski goggles are usually not appropriate for cross-country skiing; nordic skiing is a higher energy activity, and goggles are likely to fog. You may even want to use anti-fog solution on your sunglasses.
A small- to medium-size pack will carry the gear you may need. Some considerations:
- Low center of gravity – Match body’s center of gravity.
- Stable support – Make sure pack does not swing.
- Support weight from hips, not shoulders.
- Fit is especially important for back country skiing.
Gear You May Need
- Extra clothes – Replace wet clothes or add a cover up when needed. Remember the layer system!
- Water and food – Energy snacks and meals. Hydrate before you feel thirsty.
- The 10 essentials and other survival equipment.