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Winter Gear for the Woman Who Loves to Spend Time Outdoors ~ Part 2: Head, Neck, and Hands

Updated: Nov 28, 2022

I'm back with Part 2 of What to Buy for the Hiker/Outdoor Woman. In this post, I'll be sharing ideas for hats, neck gaiters, and mittens. These smaller items make great stocking stuffers for the woman who wants to spend more time outdoors.


Let’s start with the head and work our way down. A warm hat is essential in keeping your body heat in and maintaining body temperature. I currently love my Smartwool “The Lid Hat” for the coldest days. It is a wool/acrylic blend that keeps my head warm and wicks moisture if I break a sweat while hiking. I’ve experimented with a lot of hats. I find that a tighter knit keeps the cold air out – as much as I love the look of a larger knit hat, it just does not do the trick when warmth is the priority.

Smartwool "The Lid Hat":

For warmer but still cool days, I do like the Smartwool “Merino Sport 250 Reversible Beanie” when the weather is around 40 to 50 degrees. But below 40 or on a windy day, it’s “The Lid Hat” for me (see above).

Smartwool “Merino Sport 250 Reversible Beanie”

Other hikers I know like a Carhartt or fleece hat. It’s worth experimenting on shorter trips outside to see what keeps your head the warmest.

Carhartt and Polartec Fleece Hats:


Some people like a neck warmer or gaiter in addition to a high zip-up collar. I personally don’t use them unless temperatures are below 20 degrees. Then they can provide an extra layer of warmth. I like the Turtle Fur from Stowe, VT. The original Turtle’s Neckwarmer is the one I use, and I love the name "Turtle Fur" - it's creative and funny.

Turtle Fur Neckwarmer

Woolx Merino Wool Neck Gaiter

Neck gaiters can be found in most stores that carry outdoor equipment and clothing. Be sure to search for "neck gaiter" if you are looking online as "gaiters" refers to something you wear on your lower leg to keep dirt, sticks, and water out of your shoes.


One word...mittens! I had ice-cold fingers for years until my dear sister bought me ski mittens for Christmas one year. Now my fingers stay warm and toasty, and I can slide hand warmers in easily if I need them. However, full disclosure, I do carry a pair of gloves in my pack. Mittens can get too warm at times and they just don't cut it when eating a snack or serving tea to my mindful outdoor experience participants. I prefer a waterproof ski mitten instead of a knit pair. Here are some ideas:

Kombi Women's Mittens

This "3 finger" pair look interesting:

Several options from REI

TrailHeads Convertible Mittens

Hot Hand Warmers (store in an airtight plastic bag between uses instead of throwing them out each time.)

There are several good mitten options from L.L. Bean, Lands' End, Moosejaw, and Carhartt too.

There is so much to see outside in the winter like this beautiful design in the ice pictured above. Even if you are not venturing into the woods, it's nice to be cozy warm when you head out to any winter outdoor activity!

Have winter gear that you love? Please share it in the comments section!

*These suggestions are based on the climate where I live in Connecticut, USA. These are not affiliate links, and I do not make any money if you click through these links. All information shared is based on my many years of experience with being outside in the winter. My experiences may be different than your experiences.

Previously: Part 1: Layering

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