My Ultimate Guide to Cold Weather Gear for Women: From Mountaintop to Fireside Outfits

My go-to essentials that keep me warm and cozy all winter long
My Ultimate Guide to Cold Weather Gear for Women: From Mountaintop to Fireside Outfits. Warm, waterproof, cozy layers for outdoor adventures like hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, and more! The best winter hat, gloves, mittens, parka jacket, soft shell, waterproof pants, and more

This is definitely a post that’s a long time coming! With over 8 years now in the Pacific Northwest under my belt (plus years in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh), I have created quite the collection of cold weather gear. So today, I wanted to walk you through all of my recommendations, with a specific focus on cold weather gear for women. Some items are unisex and some are actually from the mens department (I have really long arms) — but everything is stuff I swear by when it comes to winter activities!

My Ultimate Guide to Cold Weather Gear for Women: From Mountaintop to Fireside Outfits. Warm, waterproof, cozy layers for outdoor adventures like hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, and more! The best winter hat, gloves, mittens, parka jacket, soft shell, waterproof pants, and more

My Full List of Recommendations for the Best Cold Weather Gear for Women

Layering: The most important part of starting warm

Before I share my recommendations, I want to stress the importance of layering when it comes to staying warm and dry in cold weather. If you’re heavily sweating while outside, you probably have too much clothing on. So instead of just one really warm layer, I recommend layering a few items so that you can remove and add based on your needs and the temperature.

My Ultimate Guide to Cold Weather Gear for Women: From Mountaintop to Fireside Outfits. Warm, waterproof, cozy layers for outdoor adventures like hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, and more! The best winter hat, gloves, mittens, parka jacket, soft shell, waterproof pants, and more

Here’s my tried and true layering system:

  • Wicking layer: this should be the layer closest to your skin in order to help absorb and dry any sweat so you don’t get chilled. Typically this is a tank top or tee in a technical fabric.
  • Base layer: then I add a warmer layer, usually something in merino wool
  • Fleece and/or down: if it’s really cold, I add a fleece and/or a down layer to provide further insulation
  • Wind and water resistant shell: my outermost layer is always something that will block the wind and is waterproof. It’s amazing how much warmer you’ll be if you’re not wet!

The beauty of layering is that you can bring the fleece or down jacket in your pack and add it if you need it. Or you can remove as you warm up! It’s always important to be prepared, especially in cold temps.

My Ultimate Guide to Cold Weather Gear for Women: From Mountaintop to Fireside Outfits. Warm, waterproof, cozy layers for outdoor adventures like hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, and more! The best winter hat, gloves, mittens, parka jacket, soft shell, waterproof pants, and more

I basically have 3 categories when it comes to cozy winter apparel: activewear, everyday gear, and cozy things to warm indoors. Sometimes there is crossover. I tried to be as thorough as possible with these lists, also. And whenever something wasn’t sold anymore or was sold out, I tried to find the most similar.

Activewear for Hiking, Snowshoeing, Rock Climbing, & Camping:

This list is pretty much everything I have in my wardrobe for when we go hiking, snowshoeing, climbing, camping or any other cold weather activities, especially if there’s snow. Keep in mind that it’s all about layering, so I don’t just wear one pair of pants, for example. Instead, I’ve “curated” a layering system of things that work well for me either on their own or in tandem.

Tops and Outwearwear:

Bottoms:

Accessories and Shoes:

My Ultimate Guide to Cold Weather Gear for Women: From Mountaintop to Fireside Outfits. Warm, waterproof, cozy layers for outdoor adventures like hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, and more! The best winter hat, gloves, mittens, parka jacket, soft shell, waterproof pants, and more

Everyday Cold Weather Gear:

When it comes to walking the dogs in the winter or running errands around town, these are my cold weather gear essentials for staying warm. These things aren’t as technical as the list above, but I highly recommend them. Also, keep in mind that I will wear stuff from the list above as well.

Outerwear:

  • Prana long jacket: the one I use is about 7 years old, so this is the most similar one from the same brand.
  • Stutterheim Mosebacke rain jacket: A quality raincoat is essential here in the PNW and this one is truly the best. It’s completely waterproof, has a nice, big hood, and layers well over other things.

Layering:

Accessories and Shoes:

My Ultimate Guide to Cold Weather Gear for Women: From Mountaintop to Fireside Outfits. Warm, waterproof, cozy layers for outdoor adventures like hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, and more! The best winter hat, gloves, mittens, parka jacket, soft shell, waterproof pants, and more
My Ultimate Guide to Cold Weather Gear for Women: From Mountaintop to Fireside Outfits. Warm, waterproof, cozy layers for outdoor adventures like hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, and more! The best winter hat, gloves, mittens, parka jacket, soft shell, waterproof pants, and more

Warm Indoor Essentials:

And then, lastly, I have list of cozy clothing that I wear around the cabin because it can be pretty chilly in here. Our house definitely has microclimates that vary from room to room because of our different types of heating (and how expensive electrical and propane can be!). In case your house is drafty or you just want to save a bit on heating costs, these items help me stay warm indoors.

When it comes to staying warm indoors, I still believe in layers… but a bit more luxurious! For example, I absolutely love wearing cashmere to stay warm. Not only is it insanely soft, but it’s a wonderful insulator. Don’t get me wrong, I love a classic set of cotton sweatpants. But if you’re feeling a bit extra, these cozy pieces are my absolute fave:

My Ultimate Guide to Cold Weather Gear for Women: From Mountaintop to Fireside Outfits. Warm, waterproof, cozy layers for outdoor adventures like hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, and more! The best winter hat, gloves, mittens, parka jacket, soft shell, waterproof pants, and more

Did any of your favorite cold weather gear make the list? I’d also love additional recommendations if you have any — I’m always down to add to our gear room collection, especially when it comes to useful wearables to stay warm!

Photography by Jojotastic.

Behind The Blog

Joanna Hawley-McBride is a Pacific Northwest digital influencer and former textile designer with an eye for beautiful things. Jojotastic is a lifestyle blog focused on Joanna’s work-in-progress home, interior styling, finding the best pair of underwear through #UnderwearThesis, and empowering women to explore nature — all in her signature unfiltered style.

Please note that I use affiliate links at times here, as well as on my social media accounts. This means that if you click on a link to a product and purchase that product, I may receive a commission based on your purchase. I only feature products that truly inspire me. Any products that have been gifted to Jojotastic for review are noted at the bottom of the post. Sponsored posts are noted as such. All opinions are my own and always will be! Thanks for supporting content that keeps Jojotastic going.

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6 Comments

  1. 1.19.22
    Emily said:

    Hi! I’m so curious about the Babaa sweater because I’ve been thinking of getting one too. Is the wool in any way “itchy”? I wanna make sure I’d wear it all the time!

    • 1.19.22
      Joanna said:

      I find the turtleneck that I have to be wayyy itchier than the cardigan. I’m not sure if they are different wools or what. But I have heard that the more they are worn, the softer and less itchy they get.

  2. 1.18.22
    Lesley said:

    Meant to ask about your boots & sweater the other day– both looked so comfortable and cozy! I LOVE my Torrid jacket from Enlightened Equipment– weighs less than the Nano and packs down just as well and was much warmer when I tried them both at the same time. And made in Minnesota.

    I also love my Columbia beanie with their Omni Heat insulation. Keeps my head toasty!

    Are you wearing the BD lightweight gloves as liners when you wear one of the other pairs? Still haven’t perfected my glove situation..

    • 1.19.22
      Joanna said:

      Ahh thank you! The jacket I had one was just a cheapy from Costco a year or two ago. Thanks for adding those recommendations, btw!

      I use the gloves as both liners and on their own, depending on the weather.

  3. 1.18.22
    monica said:

    Thanks for this list! I may try the mittens and the shearling footbed – I have used UGG replacements in the past, but will give the Blundstone ones a try. I have always wanted those Blundstone boots! I am an LLBean fan (have had a pair of their boots for 40 years! ) and could not live without their long down coat (really long- goes down to my boot tops!) for my daily dog walks here in Northeast Massachusetts where it was in the single digits all last weekend!

    • 1.19.22
      Joanna said:

      I am so glad you found this post helpful! Keep me posted if you end up getting the mittens and footbeds, I always love to know how my recommendations are working out for you :)