The Three W’s of Clothing

Winter is fast approaching here in Northern Maine and our professional guide staff wants to help you to better prepare for an awesome ski or snowshoe adventure at Penobscot River Trails! Penobscot River Trails is a free riverside nature preserve consisting of 16 miles of ski trails ranging from easy to moderate. Our grooming staff is out most days laying double track on all of our trails for classic skiing, while our Tote Road remains open to skate skiing, fat tire biking, and snowshoeing along the edges of the trails. Whether you love to XC ski, snowshoe, or fat tire bike, these tips on the Three W’s clothing will come in handy for your next outdoor adventure! 

Define the Three W’s: Wicking, Warmth and Weather. 

Wicking Layer: 

When you’re getting ready for any outdoor adventure, you should always consider the elements and what clothing you should wear to better protect yourself from those elements. Do not wear cotton for your base layer, ever! Instead, for a base layer/next to skin layer, you should consider a performance type of material consisting of Polyester, Elastane, or Nylon (or all of the above). Choosing items with materials that wick away sweat and dry really fast can be difficult, so we recommend brands such as Under Armour, Nike, The North Face, Patagonia, Marmot, Mountain Hardwear, Prana, and many more. These brands quite often make all of their gear with materials listed above, so it’s not difficult to source out the specifics. Traditionally, your base layer should not add any bulk to what else you’re going to wear and it should not wear out over time. You want to invest in something that is going to keep you dry on the inside. Again, this is a next-to-skin layer. 

Warming Layer:

Now that you have your base layer taken care of, you’re going to need to stay warm! To be sure of staying warm all day long, look for garments that use Polartec, Merino Wool, or Wool. Always remember, fleece is your friend! Fleece provides lots of warmth to your body, and is an easy-to-shed layer when necessary. What’s better than flexibility and comfort? Nothing! We highly suggest seeking fleece that uses Polartec or Merino wool. Wool sweaters go a long way as well because they keep you warm even when they are wet – which as we know that is a huge possibility when skiing. This is perhaps the most important layer because it’s an insulating layer – meaning it traps the heat radiated by your body. 

Weather Layer:

The last item on our gear list of the Three W’s is the weather layer. Always check the weather before any adventure you’re going on. Here in Maine, we all know the saying, “if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes because it will change.” You should consider that statement every time you go on an adventure. Your outermost shell layer (weather layer) is the layer that will protect you from the elements the most; wind, rain, and snow. When searching for the right winter jacket for your excursions, consider a jacket with synthetic insulation. Down is always nice, but down will lose its ability to insulate upon becoming wet. For rain jackets, definitely get a waterproof/breathable rain jacket with plenty of vents. Your outermost layer is additionally an important piece in dressing for the elements because if the weather becomes less than what was expected, you can get seriously chilled. 


When taking your next outdoor adventure, always consider the above as a baseline for personal gear. What you wear on yourself is so important. You can ALWAYS take layers off. You can never put on the layers that you do not have. Even if you do not wear all three of the layers to begin your day, it’s a smart move to bring all three on every outing you take. 

We hope you enjoyed reading this blog on the Three W’s of clothing!

-PRT Guide Staff