Best Clothing Guide – The Long Dark

The best clothing guide for The Long Dark includes high-level analysis that takes into account Weight-to-Warmth ratio, as well as provides a letter grade to each item to help players quickly choose the best option.

The Long Dark is a complex survival game that features a layered clothing system. Determining the best clothing is difficult without data. This clothing guide will help players determine which items are good and which can be harvested for Cloth. This is accomplished by evaluating an item’s Warmth, Windproof, Waterproof, Protection, Mobility, and Weight ratings. Looking at the Warmth-t0-Weight ratio, I’ll assign a letter grade to each item to help players sort through the top items.

How Clothing Works in The Long Dark

First of all, the best clothing in The Long Dark will be subjective. Because each player and situation are different, there certainly won’t be a single build that works above all else. There are, however, a few options that stand above the rest in all circumstances. As a result, to identify the best clothing, eight factors must be considered, six of them provided by the game, one by calculations in this guide, and one will be a subjective rating based on my extensive experience in The Long Dark. Those factors include:

  • Warmth
  • Windproof
  • Waterproof
  • Protection
  • Mobility
  • Weight
  • Weight/Warmth Ratio
  • Overall Rating

Best Clothing in The Long Dark

I’ll break this down by item slot, grouping ones that can fit into an available slot together. This will help players compare two items quickly to determine which item is going to serve them better on the path. Each item will be given an overall rating by me between A, B, C, D, and F. When players find a clothing items with an A rating, they should highly consider wearing it.

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Head Clothing

ItemWarmth (°C)Windproof (°C)WaterproofProtectionMobilityWeight (kg)Weight/Warmth (°C) Overall Rating
Balaclava (Inner)2.01.530%3%0%0.258.00A
Baseball Cap0.50.00%0%0%0.105.00F
Cotton Scarf0.50.05%0%0%0.105.00D
Cotton Toque1.00.510%1%0%0.1010.00C
Fleece Cowl1.51.020%2%0%0.256.00B
Long Wool Scarf1.52.030%1%0%0.256.00B
Rabbitskin Hat (Outer)2.01.530%4%0%0.355.70A
Wool Scarf1.00.520%1%0%0.1010.00C
Wool Toque2.01.030%2%0%0.258.00A

The three items given an A were the Balaclava, Rabbitskin Hat, and Wool Toque, and I would rank them in that order. The Balaclava can only be worn on the inner head slot, while the Rabbitskin Hat can only be worn on the outer head slot, so each must be combined with another item. Because all head gear in The Long Dark is fairly light, we don’t put as much emphasis on Weight-to-Warmth ratio, and instead focus strictly on Warmth, Windproof, Waterproof, and Protection. We don’t need to consider Mobility since none of the headgear will alter this stat. Personally, I’d be looking to wear the Balaclava on the inner slot and the Rabbitskin Hat on the outer slot. This would give a 4°C Warmth bump, 3°C of Windproof, 30% Waterproof per item, 7% Protection, and all with zero Mobility loss and only 0.6 kg of weight.

Hands Clothing

ItemWarmth (°C)Windproof (°C)WaterproofProtectionMobilityWeight (kg)Weight/Warmth (°C)Overall Rating
Driving Gloves0.50.50%1%0%0.105.00D
Fleece Mittens0.50.55%1%0%0.105.00C
Rabbitskin Mitts2.02.050%5%-5%2.002.00C
Ski Gloves1.01.030%3%-1%0.502.00B
Wool Mittens1.00.520%1%0%0.1010.00A
Work Gloves1.00.50%4%-2%0.254.00C

This is where I believe players could disagree with my ratings, but that’s why they’re subjective. The Hands slot is not a place to give up Mobility due to us doing plenty of that in other categories. What I value here is Warmth, Windproof, Waterproof, and Protection so long as it doesn’t come at a big Mobility loss. I’m not concerned with Weight-to-Warmth ratio, but gloves are not a place to waste precious inventory space in The Long Dark. Therefore, I’m immediately eliminating the Gauntlets, Rabbitskin Mitts, and Ski Gloves. The Ski Gloves do have redeeming qualities which make them stand out, but gloves in The Long Dark leave a lot to be desired. Almost by default, Wool Mittens are the best pick due to their low Weight, competitive Warmth rating, decent Waterproof rating, and a small bit of Protection. Therefore, look for a pair of those.

Torso Clothing (Inner Layers)

ItemWarmth (°C)Windproof (°C)WaterproofProtectionMobilityWeight (kg)Weight/Warmth (°C)Overall Rating
Cowichan Sweater2.52.050%5%-2%1.002.50B
Dress Shirt0.51.00%0%0%0.252.00F
Fisherman’s Sweater2.01.540%5%-1%0.504.00A
Plaid Shirt0.50.520%1%0%0.252.00C
Thick Wool Sweater1.51.030%3%-1%0.503.00B
Thin Wool Sweater1.00.520%2%0%0.254.00B
Wool Shirt1.00.540%2%0%0.254.00B

Well, let’s just say that wearing a t-shirt in The Long Dark is not advised. Instead, all players should be searching for the Fisherman’s Sweater. In fact, wear two of them. They’re warm, will keep you dry, and two of them gets you 10% Protection with only -2% to Mobility. There are other good options here, though. The Wool Shirt isn’t bad at all, and I’m not opposed to the Thick Wool Sweater or Thin Wool Sweater in a pinch.

Torso Clothing (Outer Layers)

ItemWarmth (°C)Windproof (°C)WaterproofProtectionMobilityWeight (kg)Weight/Warmth (°C)Overall Rating
Bearskin Coat6.05.080%18%-20%5.001.20C
Down Vest1.01.010%1%0%0.502.00D
Expedition Parka4.05.550%6%-5%1.502.66A
Light Shell1.03.030%3%-2%1.001.00B
Mackinaw Jacket2.52.040%5%-3%1.501.66A
Mariner’s Pea Coat3.04.075%7%-6%2.001.50B
Military Coat3.03.040%8%-5%2.001.50B
Moose-Hide Cloak3.54.090%25%-10%4.000.88C
Old Fashioned Parka3.03.020%5%-7%2.001.50C
Simple Parka2.02.030%3%-4%1.251.60B
Ski Jacket2.02.030%3%-2%1.002.00A
Sport Vest0.50.55%1%0%0.501.00D
Urban Parka2.52.010%2%-2%1.002.50A
Wolfskin Coat4.04.060%15%-15%3.001.33C

On lower difficulty levels, players simply don’t need the same amount of Warmth as they would on Interloper. As a result, they can choose to give up Warmth in favor of saving Weight. Personally, I like to go with a combination of the Mackinaw Jacket and Windbreaker. This results in great Windproof and Waterproof ratings, 6% Protection, -3% Mobility, and it’s only 2.00kg. If you’re finding you’re not warm enough with this setup change could be needed. Therefore, consider swapping to items that provide more Warmth but diminish Mobility.

Legs (Inner Layers)

ItemWarmth (°C)Windproof (°C)WaterproofProtectionMobilityWeight (kg)Weight/Warmth (°C)Overall Rating
Wool Longjohns2.00.035%1%0%0.504.00A
Thermal Underwear1.00.020%0%0%0.254.00B

This is as simple as it gets. When you have two pairs of Wool Longjohns, wear them both and don’t look back. Yeah, you’re giving up 1.00kg for the two pairs, but you’re getting 4.0°C of Warmth out of it. There is no debate and no reason not to go for the Wool Longjohns if you’re able to do so.

Legs (Outer Layers)

ItemWarmth (°C)Windproof (°C)WaterproofProtectionMobilityWeight (kg)Weight/Warmth (°C)Overall Rating
Cargo Pants1.50.50%3%-1%0.752.00B
Combat Pants2.00.520%7%0%0.752.68A
Deerskin Pants2.02.060%10%-5%2.001.00C
Snow Pants2.52.050%5%-5%1.002.50A
Work Pants1.51.010%8%-3%1.501.00C

Don’t wear jeans when you’re lost in the unforgiving Canadian wilderness during the dead of winter. However, you should absolutely track down a pair of Combat Pants or two. They are unmatched in this category, but they are very difficult to come by. A pair of Cargo Pants on the bottom with some Snow Pants on the top isn’t a bad option. Just remember that the Snow Pants are going to chew into your Mobility, but they will also keep you warm and dry.

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Feet (Inner Layers) – Socks

ItemWarmth (°C)Windproof (°C)WaterproofProtectionMobilityWeight (kg)Weight/Warmth (°C)Overall Rating
Climbing Socks1.00.525%0%0%0.254.00A
Sports Socks0.20.00%0%0%0.102.00F
Wool Socks0.50.020%0%0%0.252.00B

The hierarchy for socks is Climbing Socks, Wool Socks, then Sports Socks. You take two pairs of Climbing Socks if possible, but otherwise just wear two pairs of the best combination you have. There are no difficult decisions here, socks are not the ideal place to try and save weight.

Feet (Outer Layers) – Boots

ItemWarmth (°C)Windproof (°C)WaterproofProtectionMobilityWeight (kg)Weight/Warmth (°C)Overall Rating
Combat Boots1.52.020%10%-7%2.000.75B
Deerskin Boots2.52.050%7%-5%2.001.25A
Insulated Boots3.02.050%4%-12%1.502.00D
Leather Shoes1.00.5010%2%-3%0.502.00F
Running Shoes1.00.50%1%0%0.502.00D
Ski Boots3.04.030%12%-20%4.000.75F
Trail Boots1.01.030%5%-3%1.001.00A
Work Boots2.01.05%7%-10%1.500.90D

Footwear is tough. There are some awful options that we can eliminate quickly, and a few fantastic options that all players should look for. Honestly, go for the Mukluks, which are very rare. If I can’t find a pair of those, I’m crafting the Deerskin Boots. Yeah, they chunk your Mobility and they’re heavy, but they are warm and keep your feet dry. They don’t give up too much Mobility, and they provide decent Protection. I’m also giving bad ratings to anything that destroys Mobility, and you probably don’t need me to tell you that Leather Shoes or Running Shoes are a bad idea.


ItemWarmth (°C)Windproof (°C)WaterproofProtectionMobilityWeight (kg)Weight/Warmth (°C)Overall Rating
Moose-Hide Satchel0.00.00%0%0%0.250.0A
Wool Ear Wrap1.00.520%1%0%0.254.0A

Go craft yourself one Moose-Hide Satchel and find one Wool Ear Wrap. The Moose-Hide Satchel will do nothing for your Warmth, rather it will allow you to carry an additional 5.0 kg of Weight. If you can’t find or craft one, wear two pairs of the Wool Ear Wrap. Just be glad that nobody else is around to see you, because this is the ugliest piece of clothing in the game and it clips through everything. Come on, Hinterland, someone’s got to take fashion seriously in the Quiet Apocalypse.

Play around a little bit and find what works for you. Often you don’t get a say in what you wear, you just put on what you find. It’s great to know that Mukluks are awesome, but they are rare. Just find your own sweet spot based on your difficulty level. You might have to trade Mobility for more Warmth, or find that you can lose a bit of Warmth in favor of lighter items. While I’m happy to provide suggestions, this guide is really just data that you can use to make your own decision. Something to compare two pieces of clothing together when at 100% condition so you don’t have to repair it to see how good it is.

Now that you know what the best clothing is in The Long Dark, consider checking out more of The Long Dark on Guide Stash. You should also head over to the Hinterland Forums and immerse yourself in the community. You’ll find knowledgeable players there who can help you make the tough decisions that will make or break your survival chances.