How to Stay Warm (and Look Cool) in Cold Climates on

How to Stay Warm (and Look Cool) in Cold Climates

Finding a way to keep warm when traveling to colder destinations without compromising on style can be a challenge. It’s not easy to find clothing that keeps you warm and still looks good — especially when styles vary from place to place. Thinking about heading somewhere chilly? Keep these things in mind.

Insulation Materials

Your destination will be the defining factor when choosing a good coat or accessories, and it will also affect what kind of insulation you choose. For more temperate areas, look into wool, fleece, or Thinsulate materials. For the bitter cold, a synthetic fill and goose down are made to withstand the coldest of temperatures.

REI has some great options, like the Co-Op Down Jacket, which offers the perfect down insulation necessary for freezing temperatures.

You will also want to look into insulation layers underneath your coat and pants. A quality pair of long underwear can keep you warm for longer periods of time.

Under Armour has plenty of items that are reasonably priced, like the Women’s ColdGear Infrared Crew.

Winter Coat

Though looking stylish is important, if you’re in the market for a new winter coat, you have to consider the ways you will use your new purchase.  Will you be skiing, snowboarding, hiking, or will you be city-bound for the full trip? Be sure to research the weather forecast and recommended apparel for activities you’re planning at your destination. Different circumstances require different kinds of hoods, vents, storm flaps, sleeves, and even pocket placement, and wet activities and weather call for waterproof materials (like Goretex).

For colder climates, The North Face has some of the best parkas and snow gear available in America. The Baker Deluxe Herringbone Jacket is a stylish choice for when you are facing the bitter cold. For a more temperate climate, check out the Vatnajokull Women’s Softshell from 66°. They’re an Icelandic company and they specialize in weather with a lot of rain.

Boots and Accessories

Depending on what activities you are planning on participating in when you arrive at your destination, you should have a pair of quality, versatile boots that you feel good wearing.

Sorel offers both amazing insulation and style in their Caribou Winter Boots. If you aren’t planning on trekking through heavy snow, Schnee’s Beartooth Insulated Boots offer a tough alternative that should withstand any other adventure you plan on.

As for your head, hands, and feet: don’t forget to purchase some wool; it’s the best material to keep your extremities warm. It also breathes, which can be extremely helpful if you plan to participate in an activity that might get a little sweaty.


A Couple More Tips to Consider

Wait and buy when you arrive.

No one likes arriving to a destination and realizing that you stick out as a complete and utter tourist. If you can, hold off on your purchase, and see if you can buy some of your cold weather items in your chosen destination. You might end up spending a little bit more than at home, but not only will you blend in a little bit better, you will also have a great souvenir to bring home and wear. Just don’t forget to save room in your bag for your new purchases!

Don’t necessarily go for brand names you know.

It can be easy to look for something you’re familiar with when you are in a foreign country, but part of the fun of visiting a new place is trying out the local customs. When you are thinking about picking out a parka, you might drift over to American brands because you know their reputation and you’re used to seeing their logos. However, don’t be afraid to ask some of the local salespeople about which brands they might prefer. They might be able to direct you to a better (and warmer!) option that you might not have considered.


By taking some time to think about what you actually need in cold weather gear and what will suit you best in the environment you’re traveling to, you can find a winter coat and accessories that will not only keep you nice and warm, but will also be something you can wear for years.

Do you have any specific brands you would recommend when visiting cold climates?


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Alex SchneeSTG Contributor
Alex currently spends her days traveling the world and drinking too much coffee. She rocks Italian karaoke and has eaten fermented shark in Iceland --she would not recommend it.

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