Learning how to effectively layer your clothing during wintertime is essential to beating the bitter cold months. This is especially important if you are doing an outdoor activity such as hiking or camping during extremely cold weather. Being able to keep warm is easier than you think thanks to the concept of layering, and quick adjustments can be done at a moment’s notice by simply adding or removing layers. Here are the basics of layering to increase your comfort in the cold.
The base layer is the layer that’s against your skin. This layer manages moisture in particular and regulates body temperature by helping to move sweat away from the skin. Keeping dry helps to avoid hypothermia in cold weather so it’s important that the base layer of clothing is able to get rid of perspiration. A base layer can include undergarments, long underwear, thermal underwear, tights, and t-shirts. Merino wool and silk are popular materials for clothing to use in the base layer.
If you’re planning on being in freezing temperatures, you may decide to look into wearing compression products this winter. Compression garments are typically thought of as clothing for working out or for sports because it applies surface pressure over the body that increases blood flow and oxygen delivery to the muscles for better athletic performance. But compression clothing is ideal as a base layer for cold weather clothing because the fabric is able to get moisture away from the body which keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer temperatures.
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The insulation layer helps to protect against the cold by retaining heat and trapping the air close to your body. Natural materials such as goose down or wool are great insulators. Goose down is best for extremely cold conditions, while merino wool helps with heat insulation even when the material gets wet.
Fleece is also a great material for the insulation layer of clothing because it is breathable, lightweight and can keep you warm even when it gets wet. Fleece also dries faster and has an increased ratio of warmth-to-weight that’s even better than wool.
The final outer layer is called the shell layer that protects from the elements of rain, snow, and wind and is essential for winter clothing. The shell layer is important because it helps to keep water and wind from penetrating the inner layers to keep you warm. Shell pieces can range from heavy jackets to lightweight windproof jackets. Almost all of these shell layer items are treated with a durable water repellent to help water roll off of the surface quickly and keep you dry. Shell layer pieces also have ventilation to allow perspiration to escape to help keep you dry and warm. The shell layer item should be fitted to keep you warm yet with enough room for the other layers of clothing underneath to ensure comfortable movement.
For extremely cold conditions, an insulated coat gets the best of all worlds because it helps to keep heat inside while also protecting you from the harsh cold elements of wind, rain, and snow. Some insulated coats can even keep you warm and protected in sub-zero temperatures. They typically feature a longer length, an insulated hood and some have zippered hand pockets.
Keeping warm and protected in freezing temperatures and bitter winters is essential to your overall health and enjoyment of your cold-weather activities. Knowing how to properly layer your clothing using this simple three-layer method will ensure that you stay safe and have fun in any cold situation.