My Favorite Things for Winter Walking

Cold Weather Gear that Keeps You Moving

I like warm woolen mittens, but they aren't my favorites for winter walking. I prefer non-scratchy microfleece. Here are my favorite things that I have to have handy when I'm going on a cool weather walk.


I love cozy polyester microfleece just for lounging around in winter. But it is actually a performance fabric for insulating on cold days and wicking moisture away from your body. When it gets really cold, it is a great insulating layer when a vest isn't enough. Wear it over a baselayer top.


Smartwool takes most of the itch out of wool. Wool provides warmth, but it also has moisture management properties. The blend in Smartwool wicks moisture away and dries fast. This light hiker sock is perfect for winter walking. The arch base gives you increased support and comfort. The medium density sole padding cushions you.


I am amazed at how much my hands warm up once I get walking, except on the coldest and windiest days. A fleece mitten will keep your hands warm until you warm up. If the day is still cold, a fleece mitten that isn't windproof allows some air in to keep your hands from getting sweaty. If it is a brutally cold and windy day, you want a windproof mitten. Or, you can slip some newspaper or plastic wrap into the mitten to make it windproof.


Buffs aren't just for Survivor contestants. You can wear this versatile seamless tube as a balaclava, a neck gaiter, beanie, etc. For winter, you can get a Polar Buff that has a band of microfleece at one end. You can position that wear you want the most warmth. I carry a Buff as an essential all winter because you can do so much with it.


Microfleece Vest - Cabelas
Microfleece Vest - Cabelas. Wendy Bumgardner ©

When winter really settles in, you need an insulating layer that will let moisture out but keep warmth in. I like microfleece as it doesn't add as much bulk under my winter jacket. I also like having another set of pockets.



When the temperature falls below 40F, I like to switch to a microfleece hat. It has to have ear coverings, as my ears get very cold. But, again, I want to avoid the hunting hat look. I like having a bill to keep the sun and rain out of my eyes while walking. The microfleece insulates yet is breathable so moisture is wicked away from your head. This is my favorite fleece winter hat.


Your fingers can get pretty cold before your walk warms you up. But use these little single-use packets to provide hours of warmth. You can carry it in your hand or keep it in a pocket. I've learned to always bring one along, just in case. It is a real comfort-saver.


This scarf not only can keep your head and neck warm, it can save your life. It has two highly reflective stripes the full length of the scarf, so you can arrange it to be seen from all angles. It is made of cozy polar fleece. It will keep you safer in the parking lot and on the sidewalk when you are going to and from work or school or running errands, in addition to your walking workouts.


Slip-on ice/snow cleats for your shoes or boots are a winter essential. I keep pairs of these in my home and my car throughout the winter for those times I have to trek on icy or snowy sidewalks. They slip on over your shoes or boots and slip off once you are safely inside. Then you won't be slipping on the ice and snow! I think of these as emergency equipment rather than using them for fitness walking. If it's icy -- walk inside instead!


If the walk is going to have snow, ice, or mud I like to put on my own 4-wheel drive by using trekking poles. My pair of trekking poles has served me well. They telescope so I can carry or store them easily. They fit into my checked luggage with no concern from TSA when traveling to a snowier climate.


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