As we brace ourselves for the bitter cold, I thought it might help to review some tips on how to dress.  I learned a lot before and during my trip to Iceland in January.

To stay warm outdoors, it's recommended that you wear:

  • A base layer:  Wool or silk is best, but there are also good synthetic "long johns" that are made to help keep you warm.
  • A wool sweater or two.
  • Wool socks.  These help keep your feet warm, but not sweaty.
  • Good waterproof boots.  This was the best lesson I learned.  Investing in my Sorel boots (shown in photo) was a smart move because my feet were kept warm, dry, and comfortable for the whole trip.  You might look great in your stylish dressy boots, but you're likely to feel wet and cold.  I think vanity can take a back seat during brutally cold weather when it really is best to dress for the cold and snow.
  • A good hat that covers the ears.
  • Mittens.  In the photo you'll see mine made of Gore-Tex which is waterproof and breathable.  Gloves provide more dexterity but don't keep your hands as warm as mittens.  You can read more about hand protection at
  • Waterproof pants.  Insulated snow pants or thin pants that slip over your jeans will help prevent you from getting wet when you're shoveling or spending time outdoors.
  • An insulated coat.  Mine is filled with down and goes to above my knee, offering a lot of coverage.
  • A versatile piece to cover neck, ears, nose, and head.  I discovered the TurtleFur brand and used it a lot on my trip.  It's like a stretchy cowl that can be pulled up around your face if conditions get worse.
  • Hand and Foot warmers.  Those little heat packets that can be tucked in your mittens and boots really work wonders!

My final recommendation, treat yourself to a cup of hot chocolate or your favorite tea after you come in from the cold.  It offers a quick warm-up that tastes delicious.

Have you found a product that really keeps you warm?  Do you have any other suggestions for staying warm during frigid temperatures?