This is the perfect time of year to buy cold-weather gear. Retailers are already thinking of beach towels, flip-flops, and sun hats, which means that all the fleece pullovers and long underwear left on the shelf are ready and waiting to replace the worn-out ones you’re still stuffing into your duffel bag and dragging up the hill.
If you’ve spent the last four months examining the burn holes in the front of your puffy jacket, you can now score massive deals on winter gear and cold-weather clothing. Or have you already skipped ahead to summer? Don’t forget to check out the rest of our buying guides, from the Best Barefoot Shoes to the Best Everyday Sun Protection Clothing.
Updated March 4, 2022: We’ve removed expired deals and added a few more, like the Marmot beanie, Hestra Fall Line, and Smartwool Merino 150.
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Table of Contents
Sweet Protection is a heavyweight brand among outdoor sports helmets for the gear’s proven protection and durability. MIPS stands for multi-directional impact protection system, which consists of an inner layer that allows your head to rotate within the shell of the helmet to reduce the rotational force on the brain.
Hestra gloves and mittens are among my favorites thanks to their durable construction. I’ve put a few pairs through the wringer and always get years of use out of them. These mittens are packed with synthetic insulation to keep your digits warm on the slopes and water-resistant leather on the palms and back of the hands to keep them from wetting out. The women’s sizing is on sale for the same price.
Snow-loving parents pay a premium price for sleds at the beginning of the season. If you have little kids that are too small for renting snow tubes, this is a good option.
You have definitely lost at least one pair of ski socks by now. We love these Icebreakers for their warmth and durability. REI also has kids’ ski socks for $10 ($4 off) if it pains you to pay full price for a pair your daughter will outgrow in a year.
Hopefully, you’ll never have to use it. But if you ski or snowboard in the backcountry, it’s a good idea to carry an avalanche beacon, in case you get caught in one. The Evo4 is an entry-level model from a reputable company. Just don’t forget to turn it on.
Your ski or snowboard wax is probably wearing off by now. If you don’t want to take your gear to a shop, you can try ironing on your own wax. Don’t forget a scraper ($8) to go with it.
These ski and snowboard goggles can be used for any snow sport. I use them for mountain climbing. The ChromaPop lens provides sharp, clear contrast for spotting hazards and dips in the snow. They’ve given me no problems with fogging or their field of vision, and they’re comfortable enough to wear for hours on end.
Four-season tents, such as the Tasmanian, replace much of the mesh on three-season tents’ inner walls with solid (but breathable) fabric for greater protection against the cold. If there’s frost on the grass in the morning, you don’t want it inside the tent. The Tasmanian is a tight fit for two people who keep their packs outside, under the vestibule, at night. Or it can sleep one person with plenty of spare room.
Hydro Flask makes some of my favorite insulated water bottles. They do a fantastic job of keeping hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold all day. The powder coating is among the most scratch- and chip-resistant of all reusable water bottles on the market, and they stand up well to long-term abuse without breaking.
Senior product reviewer Scott Gilbertson liked the larger, six-person Kingdom 6 quite a lot, calling it the best family camping tent he’s ever owned. The Kingdom 4 is a bit smaller and designed to sleep four people, but it’s made from the same combination of thick 75-denier and 150-denier fabrics for durability. You can add a footprint ($30) to protect the tent floor from abrasions and add to the lifespan of the tent, too.
Don’t bring a regular cotton terry towel to the campground. They take forever to dry out, especially if it’s humid outdoors. This soft, synthetic microfiber body-sized towel will dry out much more quickly after your shower.
Unless you’re absolutely aiming to have the lowest weight possible, ditch the water purification drops and tablets and go with a water filter. The Grayl is a filter and a bottle, all in one. You fill it up, press down the plunger, and have 16 fluid ounces of potable water within 15 seconds. The filter lasts for 300 pints. You could also take the Grayl hiking or traveling since it weighs only 10.9 ounces.
Once you set up camp, give yourself (and a close friend or partner) a relaxing perch in the air. The DoubleNest Hammock fits two adults for a combined weight rating of 400 pounds, and when you’re ready to pack up and head for home, it stuffs into the included stuff sack and goes down to the size of a grapefruit.
This is one of the recommended items in my Guide to the Best Home Emergency Gear, but it pulls double-duty as a camping lantern. Aside from the flashing mode, there’s a low 50-lumen mode for preserving battery life and a high 425-lumen mode for when you want a ton of light. Generally, I use the low-power mode, since it’s bright enough to read by and the three D-cell batteries will last up to 330 hours on low mode.
If you’ve ever camped with a table, it can be hard to go without. This one weighs 9 pounds and measures 28 inches by 28 inches, which will fit two diners (or four, in a pinch). If you need more room, the Regular Junction table is on sale for $65 ($35 off) and measures 43 inches by 28 inches.
Check out our guide on How to Layer Outdoor Clothing for tips on where insulated jackets should fit into your clothing system, along with our guide to the Best Winter Base Layers for more recommendations.
I prefer synthetic-insulation puffies like the Featherless Hoody in damp or snowy environments where temperatures can hover around freezing because they dry out faster than goose down. There’s also a hoodless version for $131 ($44 off) if you’re not a fan of hoods flopping behind your head.
Patagonia’s Capilene baselayers are in heavy rotation among my outdoor gear closet staples. The synthetic polyester fleece is warmer than such a thin layer should be, thanks to its waffle grid pattern, and it wicks away sweat without remaining soggy for long. The men’s sizing is on sale for as low as $55.
You don’t always need long underwear in cold weather, especially if you’re moving around a lot while skiing, snowshoeing, or hiking. A lightweight pair of merino wool short underwear is more versatile than long johns, and they can even be used as the months grow warmer.
The Merino 150 is my favorite merino wool winter base layer because it has just the right amount of stretch in the fabric. It’s form-fitting so that it hugs the skin tightly, yet it’s comfortable and not restrictive at all. It also has lie-flat seams positioned away from wear spots, such as under backpack straps.
High-loft pile fleece is coming back. Early polyester fleece material was very fluffy, like a shag rug. The Retro-X is your chance to wear a classic, like the fleece from the late ’70s and ’80s. Because it traps more air in its long fibers, pile fleece tends to be very warm. The women’s sizing is also on sale for $139.
Sometimes, there’s nothing better than snuggling up inside a fleecy wool hoodie when the sky is pelting your home (or tent) with cold rain. The Harrison’s high-pile, fluffy material is made from a majority of recycled wool that’s blended with synthetic fibers. It also features an adjustable hood for keeping out the windy drafts.
The Fuego is packed with 800-fill goose down, which is treated with a durable water-repellent finish to help lessen the amount of moisture it absorbs. Fill power is a way of measuring the warmth-to-weight ratio and compressibility of the goose down. A high number (such as the Fuego’s 800) means it’ll be warmer than a garment with a lower number and can compress down smaller in your pack. The men’s sizing is also on sale, and there are hoodless versions available for women’s sizing and men’s sizing.
Most flannels, even from outdoor apparel companies, tend to be made of cotton. Not so with the Sahara. It’s a blend of polyester (mostly) and nylon, with a little Spandex for stretchability, which means it has 50 SPF sun protection and will dry out much more quickly than a cotton shirt. Senior editor Adrienne So has this shirt and loves it.
This discount is only available on select colors. The Down Sweater is made of Bluesign-approved recycled polyester ripstop fabric, stuffed with 800-fill-power goose down. There’s a DWR (durable water repellent) treatment on the outer fabric, but this still isn’t a jacket to wear through a downpour. If you’re going to wear it out in the rain, throw a rain jacket over it. The men’s sizing is on sale too (in select colors).
Rainwear and Accessory Deals
Keep your head dry by heading over to our guide on the Best Rain Jackets for more of our favorite ways to enjoy—or at least make it through—those rainy spring days.
The MicroGravity (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is a lightweight, three-layer shell designed for climbing. Its helmet-compatible hood and ability to pack down into its own pocket make it a worthwhile addition to your climbing or hiking pack, but it’ll also serve you well on rainy days in the city. The men’s sizing is on sale for $199.
When you’re wrapping your noggin in a knitted cap, I always recommend merino wool over synthetic fabrics. They breathe better and don’t itch. This Marmot version is 100 percent merino wool, unlike many other beanies for this price that are a blend of merino and acrylic fibers.
The Minimalist is a hard-shell rain jacket that uses Gore-Tex Paclite, an entry-level version of Gore-Tex that’s more affordable than three-layer Gore-Tex, but still blocks wind and rain more effectively than a soft-shell windbreaker. Despite the marketing buzz, hard-shell jackets aren’t very breathable, so this is better for withstanding heavy rain showers than for, say, jogging. The men’s sizing is on sale for the same price.
We generally feel safe going maskless outside, but if you need to pop into the lodge, wet snow and rain and disposable masks do not mix. The Outdoor Research mask fits well and folds down easily into a pocket. Check out our list of the Best Face Masks for more.
Bogs is based in the Pacific Northwest, so the company knows a thing or two about warm, dry feet. If you live in a rainy climate, you probably have a pair or two already. Bogs is also posting a clearance sale of up to 40 percent on its website.
A long-running Patagonia staple, the Torrentshell is now made of Bluesign-approved, recycled fabrics. It still weighs less than a pound and packs down into its own pocket, so you can tuck it into a small pack or your car’s glove box and always have it handy. The fleece-lined neck offers a bit of luxury on those drizzly days when you need to pull the hood up over your head. The women’s sizing is on sale for $97.
The Lite Hikers aren’t the thickest or warmest socks Wigwam offers, but you may not always want an ultra-thick sock, even in cold weather. Some people’s feet run hot, especially if they’re doing intensive activities, such as hiking. I’ve used Wigwam socks on and off over the years, and I’ve been impressed by how long a pair can last.
If you don’t see anything you like here, now is the time to check out your favorite outdoor gear manufacturer. Here are a few of our favorites.
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