Storm Shelter Jacket
Storm Shelter Jacket (courtesy, Asics)

What should I wear while running when it’s really cold?

I'm moving to Mongolia for work and it's going to get pretty cold (between -20 and -35 Celsius in winter) Any advice on gear for running or cross-country skiing in those temps, or is it just too cold? There weren't be much deep snow. Dave Hong Kong

Storm Shelter Jacket

I seek a book in the offing: Jogging in Mongolia, about a young man from Hong Kong who trades his job as a financial analyst to move to Mongolia to teach goat herders how to use an Excel spreadsheet.

Storm Shelter Jacket Storm Shelter Jacket

But even if this isn’t your fate, there’s no doubt it’ll be cold. But too cold to do some exercise? Well, yes and know. Let’s say it’s -20 Celsius. That’s -4 Fahrenheit. Which is pretty cold—especially if it’s windy. But you could go and do a run or a little skiing. I wouldn’t wander too far, or commit to anything more than 30 minutes at a time until you see how it goes. But why not?

The big question is: What to wear? Let’s say you wanted to go for a short run. I’d probably wear something like:
• A synthetic T-shirt such as REI’s Mesh RTS Crew ($22) (I’m not sure what you can find in Hong Kong—go to a sporting good store and find a light T-shirt made from polyester).
• Same thing for the legs.
• A heavier layer for torso and arms. My first choice would be a midweight wool long-sleeve T like Patagonia’s Men’s Wool 2 Crew ($70). There are other brands, of course. The key is to find a store that carries high-end Merino wool clothing.
• A shell for legs and upper body. Asics Storm Shelter Jacket ($100) would do nicely. It’s waterproof, if you need it, and also wind-proof. Nike’s Dri-Fit Running Pant ($60) would be a good choice over the legs.
• Gloves and a warm hat.

That should get you off to a good start. You can build on this basic kit—another layer here or there—to get where you need. And beware of frostbite! Especially on your face. You might need to get a face mask or a neck gaiter of some sort to ensure your cheeks or nose don’t freeze. And remember that cold weather really saps the body of moisture, so be sure to stay hydrated.

For cross-country skiing, a warmer mid layer—The North Face’s Pumori Jacket ($99) comes to mind)—would be useful.

In any event, have fun! Send a picture.

For more on the best cold-weather clothing, check out our annual Winter Buyer Guide.

From Outside Magazine, April/May 2021 Lead Photo: courtesy, Asics