What to Wear to Go Sledding: Staying Warm and Dry


Dressing warm for snow is much more complicated due to its moisture and wetness. Your warm body will easily melt the snow you come in contact with. What is the key to staying warm and dry during sledding?

To stay warm and dry when you go sledding, you should dress in layers. Wear a thermal layer underneath to keep your body dry and trap the heat and wear a waterproof, wind-resistant outer layer to protect your body from the wind. If the weather is too cold, you can add extra layers in the middle.

Keep reading for more information on how layering up works and what material to use on a cold, snowy day of joy.

How to Keep Warm When Sledding

Your sledding outfit should provide dryness, warmth, and mobility at the same time. And, layering up is the only way to achieve all that, unless scientists invent a special fabric that provides all three of these features!

Base Layer

The first layer is called the “base layer,” and it’s the one closest to your skin. You should go for a fabric that helps you stay dry underneath all your clothes. This is because sledding requires lots of movement, and you end up sweating a lot. So, you need to choose the right material for your base layer to draw the moisture away and keep you dry.

Sweating in cold weather is very dangerous, as your body temperature may get too low after you’re done sledding. To avoid that, you should choose your base layer out of polypropylene or wool. These materials pull wetness away from your skin instead of attracting it or soaking it up.

I usually wear something like these Poly Pros Thermal Under Clothing (link to Amazon) they’re insanely warm and keep you dry underneath your outer layers.

Cotton is the worst fabric ever for sledding thermal underwear. It soaks up every drop of sweat on your skin or every bit of snow in contact with it.

You can choose a one-piece base layer or in the form of separate pieces of shirt and pants. The one-piece form covers up your entire body better, but it’s also more difficult to remove later. 

Mid-Layer

The middle layer comes right after the base layer. Its purpose is to help maintain the heat that escapes the base layer.

The thickness of the layer varies based on the temperature or how long you plan to stay outside. So, if it’s too cold for you, simply add more clothes. Or if it gets warmer out there, you can lose the middle layer entirely.

Materials such as wool and fleece are good options, especially synthetic fleece, because it’s both warm and lightweight.

Regardless of the material, you should choose light and comfortable clothes that let you move easily. For example, you can wear sweaters, sweatshirts, vests, or pullovers as mid-layer clothes.

Outer Layer

This layer is in direct contact with the snow, so it should be 100% waterproof. You don’t want the snow to reach your inner layers of clothes and melt there.

It works as a protection layer too, in case of snow blizzards, for instance. Although this layer costs you the most, it’s worth it since you must stay dry in the snow. Nylon or polyester are two of the most well-known fabrics for waterproof clothing.

Any Snow Ski Jacket (link to Amazon) will be made of the right materials needed to keep you dry and warm.

Make sure to use pants that have cinch cords or buttons around the ankles. This way, you can prevent snow from getting into your boots and making your feet wet.

One thing about all the layers is that their fabric should be breathable. To be short, it means that the fabric should get the sweat out but not let water in.

Footwear, Headwear, Handwear

You should take good care of your sensitive body parts such as fingers, toes, ears, and eyes. You don’t want to leave them exposed to the cold. Direct skin exposure to cold, windy weather increases the risks of health issues and may even lead to hospitalization.

For headwear, you can use merino wool, fleece, or polyester hats. Make sure that your ears are covered. For better safety, maybe add a helmet on top of the hat.

You can never be too careful when it comes to protecting your head in case of falling or hitting hard objects. You should also get scarves to protect your neck and masks for keeping your face warm and away from cold wind.

Also, don’t forget about goggles. You can’t slide all the way down with closed eyes. Sunglasses usually work fine for me, but some people might prefer goggles on bigger slopes.

When it comes to footwear, get thick wool socks and waterproof boots. Most sledding boots in the market are already waterproof, so there’s no concern. Some boots have a wool lining that helps keep feet warm as well as dry.

Your handwear should be comfortable, warm, and easy for your hands to move in. So, your gloves should be completely waterproof, and it should have an internal layer of wool, for example, for warming your hands. They should also be moisture-wicking to keep your hands dry.

Protecting your body from any kind of damage—caused by the cold weather or else—isn’t negotiable. So, please consider wearing them all if it’s possible.

Adjust Your Layers

It’s better if you wear all of your layers from the base to the last and lose them gradually if you feel too hot.

In case you need to remove any layers, go for the middle one. The outer layer is water-resistant, and the base layer should stay as well to keep the body dry. So, the middle layer is the best one to lose if it gets too warm for you.

Pack Extra Clothes

Accidents happen without warning, and it’s nice to have extra dry clothes for the rest of your day. Sometimes your clothes get wet or dirty during sledding. You should never stay in wet clothes if you don’t want to get sick.

What to Wear Without Snow Pants?

Although snow pants work the best when sledding, you can consider wind pants or rain pants. Fishing waders and leggings are also great options if snow pants aren’t available. 

Wind pants are generally water-resistant and not restrictive. That’s why they can be a good replacement for snow pants.

Try wearing leggings or sweatpants underneath wind pants for extra coziness. Leggings are water-resistance, flexible, and thus, comfortable. So, they shouldn’t be difficult to wear underneath.

Rain pants are more water-resistant than wind pants. You can use them as the outer layer. Fleece pants aren’t as waterproof, but they keep legs warm.

Compared to the last two types of pants, fishing waders are completely waterproof since their base material is rubber or PVC. Plus, they’re long and can reach your chest so that your body stays dry.

Can You Wear Jeans to Go Sledding?

Never wear jeans instead of sledding pants. For a nice sledding experience, the ability to move freely is essential, and stiff layered-up jeans aren’t comfortable at all when it comes to bending your legs that much. Plus, you could end up falling because you can’t move your legs easily.

What’s more, jeans are hardly waterproof or windproof, so the risks of getting wet and chilly are high. Basically, jeans should be your last resort if you really want to go sledding and don’t have enough supplies.

Summary

When you go sledding, you should wear multiple layers of clothes:

  • Your base layer must help you stay dry and keep the heat inside. Polypropylene and wool are your best options, and you should avoid cotton.
  • The middle layer is for extra warmth. So it’s better to go with something lightweight and comfortable such as wool and fleece.
  • The outer layer must protect you against cold winds and water. It should also be breathable.

And here are some other points that help you dress better when you go sledding:

  • Jeans aren’t suitable for sledding since they limit your movements, and they’re not waterproof.
  • You should adjust your layers to manage heat and moisture. 
  • Pack extra clothes to prepare for accidents.

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Robert Sampson

I'm Robert Sampson and I live in Colorado where I spend a lot of time in the backyard with my family either grilling, playing games and sports, or working on a project to make our backyard a better place to be.

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