Curated Experts' Favorite Cold-Weather GearPublished on 07/28/2022 · 9 min readFour Curated Experts share their favorite hat, turtleneck, puffy, and socks—all essential gear when trying to stay warm this winter!
Photo by Curated Expert Connor Hult
Fall has finally set in, and winter is fast approaching. While we're looking forward to fun winter excursions, they can sometimes seem daunting. No one wants to deal with bulky parkas, chapped hands, and soggy gear. Curated Experts don't let that get them down though. Whether they're golfing, camping, or shredding through the snow, these five experts share their favorite gear for keeping warm.
Nate Bernhard: Golf Expert
When the seasons begin to change down here in the Lone Star State and the leaves start to fall off our ever-so-plentiful oaks, the winds begin to wreak havoc on my weekend golf outings. But, there is a simple solution to this problem! I always make sure I have a beanie and a set of HotHands hand warmers. The cold can be tough, but it all comes down to keeping my hands and ears warm. It's hard to keep your spirits up when your ears are frozen and hurting!
Luckily, I have my beanie. So on a cold Saturday morning, when I drink my coffee and head to my tee time, I always have my beanie on my head and a hand warmer in each pocket. I am not much of a camper, nor I am an outdoorsy type, but when I am outside, I'm playing some golf with the boys. You'll always find me with my hands in my pockets waiting for the next shot (whether that shot is my golf shot or Fireball with my friends!). Staying warm is part of the game, and my hands are the most important tool I have when it comes to the game I enjoy the most. So, come January, you can catch me cracking a beer, hitting some balls, and shaking up some hand warmers for 18 holes.
Kat Smith: Camping & Hiking Expert
As we go from summer to fall and fall to winter and the weather turns from hot to chilly and chilly to downright cold, I turn to my Patagonia Quarter-Zip Nano Puff Pullover to keep me comfortable on all of my outdoor adventures! Whether I am camping, hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, or ski touring, this pullover is stashed in my pack, ready to go.
I bought my Nano Puff five years ago when I was preparing for a nine-day trek in Torres Del Paine National Park in Patagonia, Chile. Although my trip was in December, which is summer in Patagonia, I was warned that the weather is unpredictable and I should be prepared for high winds, daily rain showers, and chilly morning and evening temperatures. I already had rain gear packed and ready to go, but I needed a go-to “extra layer” that is versatile enough for the sudden weather changes and small enough to fit in my pack. I ended up choosing the Nano Puff because of its light weight and small packed size, and it exceeded all of my expectations and has become my go-to outdoor adventure layer! Throughout the duration of my trek in Patagonia, I used this pullover as an outer layer on chilly mornings and when I was hiking over windy (I’m talking fifty miles per hour gusts!) exposed passes, as a mid-layer under my rain shell when it would suddenly start spitting rain (which really did happen daily!), and as a cozy top to hang out in after a long day of hiking. When the sun was shining, it packed up super small into its own chest pocket and took up nearly no space in my filled-to-the-brim pack.
Since that trip to Patagonia, my Nano Puff has accompanied me on nearly all of my outdoor adventures and has proven itself over and over again. From a backpacking trip in the Uintas where the temperature unexpectedly dropped thirty degrees at mile ten on a twenty-mile day, to the most epic powder day of my life in the Wasatch backcountry, to a Christmas Day run in the ten-degree biting Vermont cold, my Nano Puff has kept me warm. I’ve spent enough time outside to know that the weather is predictably unpredictable, and since this pullover weighs only 8 ounces, I don’t leave for a day spent outside without it.
The Nano Puff pullover has a minimalist, no-bulk design, so it doesn’t limit my mobility but still keeps me surprisingly warm. The only thing worse than being cold is wearing a thick, bulky jacket that forces me to move like a robot when I’m wearing it and takes up valuable space and ounces in my pack when I’m not. The sleek design also means that it works great as a mid-layer! I frequently throw my rain shell or ski jacket over this on colder days, and it doesn’t feel like it’s just jackets on jackets. Although the insulation is minimal, it traps heat extremely well, and the synthetic material, as well as the water-repellent finish, gives this pullover a fighting chance if it starts raining or snowing on you.
If you’re looking for a versatile, lightweight, comfortable, and stylish extra layer, reach out to a Curated Expert and consider trying out this Patagonia Nano Puff pullover! Ever since discovering this piece five years ago, it has become my favorite cold-weather layer, and I have relied on it time and time again!
Mac Robinson: Golf Expert
Whether you have the first tee time after a frigid frost-delayed morning, the sole golf cart without a functioning windshield, or you’re playing the too-good-to-pass-up twilight rate just as the warmth of the sun begins to wane at an all too early 4 pm, baggy sweatshirts and loose pullovers just won’t be able to balance your warmth and playability. From firsthand experience, I know that when the weather starts to turn in New England, I have to have my comfortable, warm, and form-fitting turtleneck on while playing a round of golf. I’m the proud owner and advocate of a few different brands and colors of turtlenecks. These include a red Nike turtleneck (doing my best Tiger impression) and two darker-shaded Under Armors. Fashion and style aside, having the warmth and coverage without restricting any motion in my swing has become necessary for my late autumn rounds.
I’ve found more and more golf courses will even let patrons play without a dress-code approved collared shirt on over a turtleneck, but come the late October and early November winds, you’ll be glad that you layered up. If you’re a golf enthusiast like me and you consistently find yourself playing in near-freezing weather—the type of fall afternoon when the greenskeepers have all but shut the course down for the winter and you lose every perfectly struck ball to a pile of downed leaves—do yourself a favor and pick up a turtleneck. Chat with a Golf Expert to find the perfect one for you. Your score and core body temperature will thank you later, I promise!
Gabby Johnson: Snowboard Expert
The one piece of cold-weather gear I definitely can’t live without would have to be my Vermont Darn Tough socks! I was gifted these miracle socks when I moved to VT and never looked back. The days of sock-layering to keep warm have finally come to an end! These socks are the most comfortable and most temperature-adaptable socks that I’ve discovered. When I need a thicker sock for those sub-zero days, Darn Tough has me covered. When I need a thinner sock for the spring days or when my boots seem to be rubbing the wrong way, VT Darn Tough still has me covered.
I have struggled with high arches and bunions most of my life, and I just couldn’t seem to find a sock that was warm enough and thin enough where the tops of my feet wouldn’t go numb from compressing into the tongue of my boots. I’ve tried many different socks and found myself packing an extra pair and changing them at lunch after long hours of pained, soggy feet. But with my VT Darn Tough socks, my feet are still comfortable and dry at the end of the day. Once I made the switch, I also noticed my boots didn’t smell quite as loudly after snowboarding all day. VT Darn Tough's socks are made with Merino wool as the main material, which is breathable and odor-resistant; recycled nylon, which is moisture-wicking; and spandex, which helps conform to every shape of foot. They even offer a polyester alternative for those who prefer a wool-free product!
One of the best things about VT Darn Tough socks is their durability. I have quite the collection of their products, and after six years I have YET to wear through a pair! If you manage to abuse them too far beyond the point of repair, Darn Tough offers an unconditional lifetime guarantee. You can exchange your well-used pair of socks for a replacement with no receipt needed!
As a personal advocate for animal welfare, I was totally sold when I found out that VT Darn Tough made the shift to RWS-Certified Merino wool, which focuses on protecting strict guidelines for the humane treatment of animals and adhering to traceable and sustainable agricultural practices. By the end of this year, they hope to be producing inventory that is 100% RWS-Certified!
Something that means a lot to me is Darn Tough's commitment to sustainability. Vegetable-based inks, water-soluble glues, and recycled packaging are what my socks arrived in! Lots of products these days are made with harsh chemicals that are not only harmful to our environment but can also cause serious health issues, such as cancer. VT Darn Tough utilizes materials that meet the Oeko-Tex 100 Standards and the requirements for California Proposition 65. The bar has been set high for sources that are safe, which I think we can all feel good about.
I also appreciate the values that the company is dedicated to. Darn Tough is a three-generation family-owned company of over four decades and continues production right here in the United States in the green mountain state of Vermont. I love supporting our local small businesses and helping them avoid outsourcing as a means of conducting business. During the pandemic, VT Darn Tough wanted to contribute in a special way by increasing the movement of their product at local farmer’s markets and donating those proceeds to their local food bank. This is just one example of how they engage with the community and give back to pay it forward to those in need.
I've enjoyed exploring their website where they’ve done an amazing job of showcasing their personality on every page. You can read all about the differences they celebrate, the journey they’ve taken to this point, and what they hope to achieve as they continue to grow the business to evolve with today’s ever-changing world. One huge change they've made was decommissioning washers in their finishing operations and replacing them with steam dryers in an effort to reduce their water usage by at least 90%! By making this change, they’ve also eliminated the need for the bleaching chemicals required to clean those machines.
I’m telling you… if you’re in question about your socks, give these a shot!
If you're on the hunt for the right gear to keep you warm this winter, chat with an expert here on Curated for free, personalized recommendations on the best options for you.