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How to stay warm on a winter walk

A hiker wearing an insulated jacket and a backpack watches the sunset over snowy mountain peaks
Taking in a wintry sunset on the Gowbarrow Fell Trail in the Lake District | © National Trust Images/Annapurna Mellor

Winter has a beauty of its own, with the landscape transformed by dustings of frost, blankets of snow and the golden glow of low sunlight. Don’t let the cold weather put you off – read our tips for the best clothes and strategies to keep you warm on your next winter walk.

The benefits of winter walking

Brave the cold and you’ll be rewarded with a walk to remember. Through leafless trees, you’ll see new views and distant horizons. Wildlife is easier to spot in the stillness of a winter woodland and, after a long walk on a chilly day, there’s the promise of a cosy pub with a crackling fire.

Two people in winter clothes exploring the snowy landscape around a tarn, one on foot and one on a tramper mobility vehicle
With the right kit and preparation, you can enjoy beautiful walks throughout the winter | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

Warm your base layers

What better way to stay warm than to start off toasty? Heat your base layers, gloves and hat on the radiator before you wear them and you’ll be cosy all day.

Avoid overheating

It can seem strange to think about overheating in winter, but sweating is one of the easiest ways to get cold when out walking. So breathable layers are crucial in helping you cope with this. Merino wool or synthetic wicking fabric layers are the best as they naturally take sweat away from your skin.

Beat the wind at its own game

A strong wind can often make it feel colder than it actually is. The best way to beat windchill is with a wind-stopper. A lightweight windshell or softshell jacket can be the perfect solution.

Two people wearing winter clothes sit on a snowy mountain in the sun and read a paper map
Put an insulating jacket on as soon as you stop for a break | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Stay warm when you stop

The moment you stop for a rest or to soak up a spectacular view, you start cooling down. Take a tip from the pros and cover up before you get cold. Carry a lightweight down or synthetic insulated jacket with you in your bag, great for whipping out when you stop. They pack up small and weigh next to nothing – perfect additional winter warmth.

The big switch – from gloves to mitts

Unlike with gloves, when you wear mitts the heat from all your fingers will work together, like a little pack of penguins sharing the warmth between them. When you stop for that hot drink, simply stash your mittens inside your jacket to keep them warm. That way, when you’re heading back out on the trail, you’ll be warm and toasty.

Inspiring the nation to explore

As our official outdoor retail partner, Cotswold Outdoor supports our care of the country’s coast and countryside.

Discount for National Trust supporters

National Trust supporters receive a 15% discount at Cotswold Outdoor, in store and online when you sign up to Cotswold Outdoor’s free Explore More benefits scheme. This offer expires on 30 September 2026 but may be extended. Details on how to claim the offer are below.

A person walking along the South West Coast Path at East Soar, South Devon

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