How to Stay Warm This Winter: Layer Up!

When one thinks of Arizona, one doesn’t necessarily think of freezing temperatures, let alone snow. And for the most part, they’re right! But little do they know, Flagstaff is the snowy exception to the rule.

For us locals, we’ve started feeling the cooler nights and even seeing snow on the peaks! We’re still admiring the yellow aspens but it’s time to prepare for colder weather. Layering is the best way to stay warm and have fun in the cold. Whether camping or skiing, putting on some extra layers plays a massive role in the success of any snowy activity.

Base Layer

For everyone, the base layer is key to keeping your teeth from chattering this winter. Also referred to as thermals, the base layer is designed to trap heat to keep the wearer warm. Pay attention to the material of your layers–different materials will yield different insulation levels. Merino wool is the warmest option. It comes from Merino sheep and is much softer than regular wool. It’s particularly good at keeping you cool when you’re hot and warm when you’re cold. Sound too good to be true? Checkout Wolk’s article all about why wool is the best option for a base layer.

We recommend wearing a base layer on top and on the bottom if you’re spending extended amounts of time outside. Sleeping outside? You can sleep in your base layers for extra warmth too!

Mid Layer

Depending on how cold you get outside, consider adding a light sweatshirt or hoodie over your thermal. If you’re not being too active, you’ll be glad you have it! If you’re skiing or hiking, it’s likely you’ll shed this layer or leave it behind altogether. Alternatively, if you’re sitting around camp as the sun sets, this is a layer you can add as the evening gets cold.

Optional Second Mid Layer

This optional second mid-layer is for slower-moving activities like hiking, snowshoeing, camping, etc. Really, if you know you’re not going to expend that much energy during your plan, consider adding another layer on top of your sweatshirt.

This layer should be a down or synthetic puffy. Down, for those who aren’t familiar, is from a specific layer of feathers from geese or ducks. It’s arguably the best garment insulator, but doesn’t do well if it gets wet. Synthetic alternatives can be more water resistant but they’re often heavier.

The Fuego Line from Cotopaxi is a favorite at Peace Surplus! Bonus: their down is responsibly sourced.

The Outer Layer: Jacket + Snow Pants

If you’re meandering during a Flagstaff winter, you’ll want your jacket to be waterproof. This outer shell will keep your base layer, sweatshirts and down coat dry, even if it starts to snow.

Beyond weatherproof, the best way to discern what coat to reach for when heading out to an activity deals with the previous layers. If your second mid layer includes insulation, your jacket doesn’t need to have as much insulation. If you skipped the mid layer or down jacket, you’ll want to opt for a coat that has synthetic or down insulation.

If you’re skiing, make sure you have base layers underneath, and consider wearing ski pants, or insulated waterproof pants. If you’re skiing, these will also help with wind resistance.


Finding a great pair of socks that can stand up to the cold keeps a happy camper, happy. One of the most reliable and versatile options is Darn Tough. We love Darn Tough because they’re made of merino wool and have a lifetime guarantee. That’s right, if you happen to wear them out, you can get another pair for free. We carry many varieties and sizes of their socks.

We all know a great pair of socks can only do so much work in the winter. A versatile boot is the quintessential piece of clothing for your cold-weather wardrobe. Do you plan to spend your time outside this winter hiking? Commuting to work? Do you think you’ll be walking through heavy snow? Depending on your winter activity, we have the right boot for you.


Hats and gloves are non-negotiable for anyone spending an extended period outside. If you’re skiing or hiking, consider waterproof thick gloves. If you’re just commuting to work, we have more casual comfortable options. Know that keeping your extremities warm keeps you safe and comfortable in the cold.

Missing anything?

Regardless of what you plan on doing this winter, the right gear does make all the difference!

We hope you’ve found some interesting recommendations, tips, or information to help you this season. If you have more questions, feel free to stop by and say hi or send us a message. We’ll do our best to answer your questions or point you in the right direction. Have fun, stay safe and layer up the right way this winter!