Dressing for Cold Weather

how to dress for cold weather

Fabrics such as cotton retain moisture and can cause the body to cool off faster because they stay damp and clammy. Start with a base layer such as Under Armour, polypropylene or other polyester based fabric.

Winter is quickly on its way but the cold temperatures don’t mean you have to stay inside.   Dressing for the cold is easy and even fashionable.  With the right articles of clothing you can stay warm outdoors on even the coldest days.

Layering your clothing is the best way to ensure you will be warm enough.  Start by wearing a base (inner) layer against your skin such as Under Armour or another synthetic microfiber or polyester fabric. A t-shirt and long under wear pants inner layer will move perspiration into the next (middle) layer helping your skin to stay dry.  Fabrics such as cotton retain moisture and get cold and clammy very quickly.  Since the body cools itself by perspiring, wearing a damp shirt will only make you colder.

safe winter clothing

Fleece jackets and hoodies are worn for the middle layers

The middle layer should be tops and pants made from micro fleece, wool or goose down fabrics.  These fabrics are soft and have a fluffy weave to them which allows the moisture to transfer out from your skin.  The airspace that is created by the fluffy fabric also acts as insulation, helping to keep you warmer.  If necessary, add another middle layer on really cold days to insulate you even more, but still allow you to wick moisture away from your skin.

Fleece hoodies are very popular and comfortable for this purpose.  Wool is very effective too, however its heavier weight can weigh you down if you are hiking or skiing. Lightweight and breathable shirts and pants can be worn over this layer during the cool spring and fall seasons on days when a waterproof outer layer is not required.

winter outdoors clothing choices

Outer layers should be made from breathable fabrics such as Gore-tex. They should have hoods and sleeves should tighten at the wrists. Snow pants are essential for keeping legs dry and warm.

The outer layer should be a shell layer of a wind and water resistant material.  Gore-tex is the leader in outer shell layers.  Their fabric is wind and water proof but still allows sweat to transfer away from your body.  Items such as raincoats will keep you dry but they do not breathe very well causing moisture to build up in the middle layers.  The shells should have a hood on it and sleeves that can be tighten around your wrists.  Pants should fit snuggly around the waist and tighten around your ankles.

Overall-style snow pants are great if you are working outside.  They are usually insulated with a quilted polyester lining and often have a tough water proof outer layer to keep your legs and chest warm while keeping the snow and wind off.  If the weather is nice the shell layer may not be necessary.  Remove it first unless you need protection from the wind or snow.  Remove middle layers and put the shell back on as you heat up on days that are less nice.

Good boots are essential in cold weather.  Boots should be leather with a thick, flexible sole to keep your feet as far from the ice as possible.  A warm inner lining made from felt or other space age fabric will insulate your feet and keep them warm.  Rubber boots will retain moisture causing damp socks and cold feet.  Any boot that allows your feet to breathe well is a good choice.  Sorel makes several models which are very good in cold weather.

staying warm in the winter

Always wear your mittens-and don’t forget your touque

Don’t forget hats and mitts.  More heat escapes from your head than anywhere else on your body in cold weather.  Ears and noses are thin making them very susceptible to frost bite so a wool, fleece or knit tuque that covers most of your head and ears is a good choice.  Mitts that are fleece and can be worn under a leather or waterproof nylon outer mitt will allow your hands to breath and the leather mitt will allow you to work without wrecking the soft inner fleece mitt.  Gloves can be easier to work in, but are colder on the fingers since they keep the fingers separated.  Mitts allow the fingers to warm each other up if you are hiking or not using your hands much.

Staying warm in the outdoors is easy once you know what to wear.  Most layers are available in all the different fancy colours and styles.  Camouflage clothing is also available for hunters in many different patterns and orange and green safety colours are also available for people who have to work outside on cold days. Dressing for the conditions is important, bundle up so you do not get caught out in the cold.

Copyright 2016 Mike Wilson

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