‘Long johns with a bum hatch’: Guardian readers’ secrets for staying warm outside this winter

Who better to ask how to handle the cold than people who work in the elements? Here, Guardian readers give their best advice – from the ideal breakfast to the perfect snood

I was once working at a beer festival in -12C and high wind for 18 hours. It was so cold that beer brought outside would “steam” like a cup of tea. We kept warm by wearing about 10 layers (Scottish woolly jumpers and Norwegian merino thermals). Under-layers are much more important than jackets, but they must be breathable and not cotton. Old-fashioned all-in-one long johns with a vest suit (and a bum hatch) were the best thing I bought, as they keep your middle warm even if you move around a lot (regular vests come untucked). Wool is the best material, as it stays dry; damp is the real enemy. Your hands are the best indicator – they should stay warm without gloves and steam if cold water touches them. If your hands get cold, you need another layer. Kenn Flatt, market trader

Take spare gloves for the afternoon. There is nothing worse than putting on cold, soggy gloves after your lunch break – it makes you feel cold instantly. Simon Rogers, ranger, Cwm Idwal national nature reserve, Snowdonia

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