Cold? Snap.

It sure is. And it's not the end of it, not by a stretch. I love the cold weather and play outside in it for hours on end.

Here are 5 methods I use to stay toasty warm in the winter cold.

Start Warm

If you let your extremities get cold before you head outside, you'll have lost the game before it started. If your feet or hands are going to stay warm, they need to start warm.

Before you head out, wear warm socks with really toasty slippers, to make sure that your feet are nice and warm before you put them in your boots, skates, or whatever shoes you are wearing for the day. The same goes for your hands. If they start cold and you go outside to freezing temperatures, there is little chance that they are going to be able to stay warm for very long.

And never, I mean NEVER leave your boots or skates in the car overnight. That is a sure way to make sure you'll have a miserable day. Even on mild days (between 20 and 40 degrees) overnight temps always drop down low, and gear left in the car overnight has been slowly freezing, and will take almost as long to truly warm up.

The Extra Pair of Gloves Trick

Our extremities are where we lose the most heat, so keep them warm, and most of the cold battle is won. On really cold days, I stash an extra pair of gloves inside the waist of my pants next to my skin. That's a nice warm spot, so when my first pair of gloves gets a a chill on them, I swap. Then I have a nice toasty pair of gloves, and the other pair is warming up quickly on one of the hottest spots on my body.

A Hoodie

Hoods unify the cores of our torso and our heads into one heat producing unit. A good hoodie jacket is so much warmer than one without a hood, because not only are we not losing all the heat from our head, even through a toque, but it also covers the very sensitive neck that can get a chill so quickly. There isn't much weather that can't be handled by a tossell cap and hood.

Layers

When you start getting into the three to four layer realm, it almost doesn't matter what kind of material you are using. If I'm going to be active, four layers is all I can handle without sweating profusely, even in single digit weather. That's a t shirt, a thin long sleeve, and a thick long sleeve with a winter shell. If I'm going to be still, like in ice fishing or hunting, I'll go with another long sleeve layer to take it to five layers.

Even at work, because I start in the dead of night, when the day is at its coldest, I pretty much always have two layers on my legs. Long underwear is on me from November to April, and it feels amazing.

Material

With the tech out there today, it's easy to stay warm. In the past it would have been all about wool, and in some ways it still is. Here it really comes down to personal preference, and with all the great gear companies out there you can prefer until the cows come home. Match the right material with the right weather. If it's going to be windy, a synthetic windbreaker of some sort is a must. If the day involves sweat, the material needs to breathe and dry easily.