There is (almost) no such thing as bad weather: How to dress warmly for winter fun

Adventurer Eric Larsen knows how to bundle up to stay warm in cold places.

(CNN)Adventurer Eric Larsen has faced some of the harshest conditions on Earth. He has been to the South Pole and the North Pole, and he stood atop Mount Everest. Traveling by ski, dogsled and bicycle, he has crossed snowy landscapes scoured by howling winds.

"Worst-case scenario, the ambient temperature is minus 50 and you're dealing with wind chills that are even colder than that," said Larsen, who lives in Colorado. "It can be a complete whiteout, like being on the inside of a ping-pong ball."
And while Larsen loves exploring, he's not shy about his fondness for staying cozy.
"I do not like being cold," he said.
    Eric Larsen layers up to stay warm in the coldest of places.
    He's not the only one. Just 11% of Americans say winter is their favorite season, according to a Gallup poll conducted in 2005. But maybe with the right cold-weather gear, that perspective could change. Across 15 years of exploring the chilliest places in the world, Larson has learned that it's all about what you wear.
    "There's no such thing as cold weather," he said. "Only not enough layers."
    That's not just true for hardy adventurers. The key points of dressing for harsh conditions, Larsen said, are relevant for people braving frigid city streets, too.
    As the world copes with cold weather amid an ongoing pandemic, cold-weather clothing has new urgency. Experts say the safest way to socialize is outdoors, where the virus doesn't spread as quickly as it does inside. In some places, kids are attending school in outdoor classrooms.
    The outdoors aren't just a pandemic backup plan, either. Spending time outside makes us happy, experts say, an effect that doesn't go away when it's cold.
    In snowy places, a sled or snowshoes can turn the landscape into a giant playground. Even if there is no snow on the ground, winter walks mean encounters with beloved birds, such as the dark-eyed junco, that only appear this time of year. It's beautiful and fun: but only if you dress for the cold.
    Whether you're seeing loved ones around a winter campfire, hiking with family or playing at recess, staying warm is important. So, we asked the polar explorer for his cold-weather clothing tips, then got some extra advice from an ultra-runner and a camping pioneer. Here's what they said about getting dressed this winter.

    Step 1: Pick a base layer

    Endurance athlete Mirna Valerio says a good base layer is key to staying warm in fluctuating weather conditions.
    A thin, light base layer is the first thing that goes on your body, Larsen said, where it will wick moisture away from your skin. That means you won't have a damp coating of sweat cooling you off.
    "The base layer is really, really important," agreed Mirna Valerio, an endurance athlete who lives in Vermont. Valerio, who has completed more than a dozen ultramarathons — races longer than 26.2 miles — said a good base layer is key to staying warm in fluctuating weather conditions.
    "I'm looking for something that's fitted, that's not loose," she explained. "It needs to be really close to my skin." A base layer can be made from natural materials such as wool or silk, or a synthetic material designed specifically for the outdoors. Cotton is out: If it gets wet, cotton can make you dangerously cold.
    Valerio, who once blogged under the handle "FATGIRLRUNNING," said it's key to find a layer that fully covers your torso, which can be challenging for people with bigger bodies.
    "It needs to be long enough where it doesn't roll up," she said, noting that plus-size people should avoid brands that simply scale up their "straight size" clothing, rather than designing specif