This will be my first year of winter camping, and I've been doing various dayhikes to get things dialed in. I've done a lot of short snowshoe hikes, runs, and bike rides in very cold weather (~1-2 hours at temps down to -10F + windchill), and I know exactly what I need to wear at those temps when I'm working at very high exertion. However, hiking all day in very cold temps, with changing exertion levels, is a new thing for me, and I am curious what others wear when temps get to zero F or lower.
Today I was snowshoeing over rolling terrain (forested, so not much wind); lots of moderate hills, but no sustained climbing. Temps were not quite that extreme, but still cold - started around 0F, went up to 5 and then dipped again later. I was wearing the following:
Top: MEC merino SS, Icebreaker 260 LS zip-neck, R1 hoody, MEC 100-wt fleece vest, Patagonia Nine Trails wind jacket
Bottom: MEC power dry tights, Patagonia Traverse pants
Head: R1 hood, added Ninjaclava when cold (top only, do-rag style)
Hands: BD liners, sometimes added OR Endeavor shells
Feet: Icebreaker liners, bread bag VBs, Smartwool heavy socks, Keen Growlers, OR Cascadia gaiters, Northern Lites Elite snowshoes
Trail stops: MEC Reflex jacket (~15 oz down, probably more than needed for a dayhike but sure was nice!)
Not used: Marmot Aegis shell, MEC primaloft liner mitts
Most of my clothing was just fine, but my torso was cold until I added the vest. I was hiking with a partner who wasn't into hiking hard for long stretches, so we ended up stopping or slowing down a lot, and I found myself fiddling with layers more than I liked until I found a comfortable medium (I might not wear so much if I were hiking on my own and going harder at a more sustained pace). Still, I find that 5 layers while hiking seems more complicated than necessary, and am wondering whether/how I could simplify this set-up. Any thoughts or advice based on your own experience would be much appreciated!