Wearing multiple layers of clothing in cold weather allows you to adjust insulation according to a changing environment. For example, wearing multiple layers allows you to remove a layer when working in a heated area, and then to put the layer on again before moving outside. In addition, the performance of manual work can lead to overheating, so wearing multiple layers allows you to adjust clothing appropriately for a task. Multiple layers can keep moisture from accumulating, either on the inside from sweat or on the outside from rain or snow.
Before you go out into the cold, let’s consider the layers you should wear.
The main purpose of the inner lay is to wick away moisture from the skin, and the best material for the job is polyester. Polyester is highly effective at wicking moisture, which is why it is used to make long underwear. Avoid cotton as an inner layer because it is ineffective at keeping moisture away from your skin.
The middle layer is the insulation layer, and it should actually be made up of multiple layers rather than one thick layer. Just like the inner layer, the middle layer should allow moisture to move away from the body. The garments’ ability to insulate comes from their thickness and ability to trap air. Wearing multiple middle layers can also help you respond to various levels of activity.
The outer layer is the first line of defense against the elements, so it must also allow moisture to move away from the body. When choosing the appropriate outerwear, consider the fabric and construction of the garment, the level of comfort you desire, the type of physical work you’ll be doing while wearing the garment, and environmental conditions. Look at the hood, collar, sleeves, pockets, zippers, and the length of the garment, and remember that some of these elements may have been designed more for fashionability than practicality. For example, consider whether the zipper is large enough for you to operate while wearing gloves. Make sure that your outer garment is not restrictive; a garment that is too small could hinder blood flow that increases conductive cooling.
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