I donít have the information, resources or knowledge to do an article for everyoneís climate. Iím from the Northeast and donít know much about correct clothing for the warmer and drier environments. So this is going to mainly focus on colder climates. Itís currently 0 degrees and the wind is blowing, about -20 or more wind chill. This is warm compared to the major cold spell of the previous week. Some of whatís talked about here I have tried and know works.
First of all cotton kills. Iíll re-emphasize that throughout the article.
The theory of keeping warm in cold environments is called layering. Layering consists of at least 3 layers of clothing. A t-shirt, sweatshirt and sports jacket is not layering. Youíre going to freeze.
The layer next to your skin is called the 1st layer or base layer. Its function is to draw moisture away from your body.
Polypropylene is a good material for a base layer itís not itchy and scratchy (the itchy and scratchy show!) like wool. Poly pro is lightweight and allows you to move with ease.
Long Johns are also a good base layer. I donít particularly like them because they make me feel like Iím wearing Spandex. They hold tight to my skin and just give me a heebee jeebee feeling.
If you are one of those people who always wear a cotton v-neck t-shirtÖDONíT!!!! You *might* get away with it on land, but if you wind up in the water that t-shirt might just kill you. It will speed up the hypothermia process by sucking the heat out of you. It has absolutely NO insulating properties! I recommend not wearing one even on land. It will act in the same way by drawing out your body heat and allowing moisture to stay near your skin.
This layer is called the 2nd or mid layer. Its function is to trap warm air and also helps draw moisture away from your body.
This is your insulation. Fleece, bi-polar and wool make an excellent 2nd layer. I can attest to fleece and wool coats. They are nice and warm, fairly wind and waterproof. I have been out in a pouring rain and it takes about 30 minutes to start soaking through. As stated before, itís 0 degrees and about -20 wind chill tonight. With just that jacket on my body is extremely warm. Fleece alone is fairly light and also allows for easy body movement...the jacket weighs a ton.
Wool works wonders, it will insulate you even when wet. Real wool is itchy and scratchy. I can wear real wool directly against my feet and not itch. If I wear it directly against my legs or upper body, it irritates me. Therefore if I wear it anywhere but on my feet, itís definitely layer #2 for me.
At clothing stores they sell itch proof wool socks, shirts, pants and what not. Itís not 100% pure wool. Somehow itís refined and the itchiness is taken out. I have several pairs of those types of socks and itís all I wear this time of year.
This layer is called the 3rd or outer layer. Its function is to protect you from the elements.
Gortex is an awesome material for an outer layer. I have a pair of Gortex gloves that are amazing. Even if my hands are cold and wet, I can then put the gloves on and within a few minutes my hands are warm. Doing the job I do Iím always on the water and in harsh environments. I wear those gloves my hands never get cold; even if the gloves are soaked theyíre dry inside. They are simply amazing.
There are Gortex coats, hats, and pants just about everything. Iíve never tried them, but if they work as well as the gloves do I definitely recommend them.
If you are a person who is always cold, you can certainly wear more layers. If you are a human furnace you can shed layers. Keep in mind the layering system works and will be what saves your life if you know how to use it. Do what works for you.
On to article #2. Clothing selection.
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