Rustic Lens

My top 10 list of cold weather gear

As I write this,  it’s been below freezing temperatures almost constantly for 5 weeks.  This has been a harsh winter for us so far but it usually is cold here in North Central Idaho during the winter months.  I grew up in the central San Joaquin Valley of California where cold meant it was 40 to 50 degrees to me.  Now that I have lived in Idaho for well over20 years, that feels like a nice day.  Even though I have become used to the frigid weather in a way, I do not like being cold at all. So I thought this list might be helpful to others that share my dislike of being cold but want to capture some beautiful winter photography.  Here is my top 10 list of cold weather gear.

Cold weather gear selfie

1.  Base layer

Staying warm is all about layers.  You can wear the old-fashioned long johns if you want.  I do own some of those too, but what I really like are the newer active wear base layers.  They are designed to keep in warmth and wick away moisture while preventing odor.  If you are getting physical at all with all the extra clothing on you then you may sweat.  These base layer thermal bottoms and the top will get the sweat away from your skin so it doesn’t make you cold again when you chill out (bad pun intended).

2.  Random shirt

This layer is important because it provides another layer of protection from the wind and cold, besides if you happen to go into a restaurant or something, you want to look good.  I usually wear a short sleeve of some kind because I don’t like it when things bunch or ride up when I put on my jacket. Here’s a couple that I like.

3.  Lined pants

I’m not suggesting pants with a lined pattern from the 1970’s like cords.  Man those felt weird, didn’t they? I just discovered these at Cabela’s.  They call them Ultimate Outdoor Pants.  I picked up a pair and I really like them.  They are like hiking pants on the outside with a lining on the inside to help you stay warm. They are well made and rugged.  They even have a cell phone pocket.  Cabela’s Ultimate Outdoor Pants.

4.  Canvas bib overalls

This is something I have had for years and are a must-have for me. I don’t like the gritty sound that most jackets and cold weather clothing makes when it rubs against itself.  It’s a weird quirk I have, but it gives me the chills.  This is why I like the canvas material on these lined bibs.  You can unbutton and unzip them on the sides to make it easier to get on over your other clothing also.

5.  Balaclava

This is a new addition for me.  There are a lot of them out there.  The one I chose is the Ninjaclava by Outdoor Research.  It has a wind breaking outer and a fleece inner lining.  My face and ears get so cold when I’m out in the weather, so I am excited about testing this one out.  It does create a bunch of static electricity in my hair, though.

6.  Jacket

You probably already have a jacket.  The one I use is from Cabela’s.  It is also an insulated canvas jacket. Canvas Jacket.

7. Boots with Thinsulate

I have had mine for a few years so I can’t find a link to them.  Basically, they are a waterproof boot with 1200 gram Thinsulate lining.  They keep my feet nice and warm even with regular socks.  Here are some similar ones.


8.  Tech gloves

Frozen fingers are the worst.  These are super awesome spy gloves that include a flip-up index fingertip and thumb tip.  They are also lined and help keep your fingers warm but allow you to use your fingertip or thumb to control your camera or phone.  They are not huge and bulky like a lot of gloves. These are helpful, but when it gets really cold I also have to use #9.

9.  Hand warmers

I keep these in my jacket pockets and stick my hands in there to warm up.

10.  Under Armour beanie

This was the only head wear I used besides my jacket hood before I got the Ninjaclava.  I think I may still put it over that too.

I made a short video on another technique you could use.  It’s my attempt at humor.

What gear do you use for cold weather adventures?





Evan Jones

I am a landscape and travel photographer who is drawn to old and rusty stuff as well as beautiful landscapes. I like to explore the backroads of the Northwest United States and anywhere else I can get to. My blog is at

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