How to

28 April 2016

Be Prepared with the Best Cold-Weather Clothing in Today's Market

The best way to combat the cold is to closely consider the quality of cold-weather clothes.

Layering achieves very effective warmth by trapping air within each layer. Essentially, this means more warmth with less fuss, as layers can be removed or added to regulate temperature. Another thing to consider is the effectiveness of the appropriate cold weather accessories. Gloves or mittens, socks, scarves and hats often serve as the dividing line between prepared and lacking.

Let’s work our way down, identifying some very effective clothing to combat the cold.


Head


The myth that 20-40% of heat is lost through the head has been debunked. Realistically, a person loses 7-10% of heat through the head, as much as through any other part of the body. If the temperature is below a certain threshold, 1 degree Celsius is a good example, grab a spare hat just in case. You may feel warm enough without it, but it’s better to be overly prepared.

An ideal hat covers the ears (what’s the point otherwise) and keeps your head covered snugly, unlike a hood which usually is looser. If you’re after an all-inclusive deal, something like a trapper hat could fit the bill.
A more fashionable alternative would be a snood or winter headband.


Core

Layering is key, as already mentioned, but even more so when it comes to the body’s core. Here is where all the important bits are stored and where you’ll feel the warmest. Make sure to start with a base layer of thermals or long johns before considering beyond that. The innermost layer should be made of wool, natural fibres, or a synthetic material since these materials are most effective at wicking away moisture and keeping warmth close to the body.

Img source: flexitog
A good thermal is breathable, form-fitting, and comfortable.


From here, simply build on top of the base layer with normal clothing like a button-down shirt, sweater, or fleece. This layer gives the wearer more stylistic options than the base layer which is all but invisible. Take the opportunity to cover up thermals with a warm, chic sweater.

Serving as the final barrier between yourself and the elements is the outermost layer: a coat. This layer absolutely cannot be skimped on. As the only weather-resistant layer, it is treated with coatings and finishes to better combat the cold. A good coat will have fixings in place to prevent cold air from getting in. There are several avenues to explore, including a shell (no added insulation), a traditional coat, or a parka (added insulation).


Hands

A person can train their extremities to better deal with the cold through simple exposure. However, for the everyday person, covered hands are happy hands. In extreme conditions, several layers of gloves are appropriate to combat the cold. An insulating, base layer calls for liner gloves, specifically made of thinner material to fit comfortably under a thicker glove. A good outer layer is usually water-resistant and utilizes different materials.

Why not consider mittens?


Legs

Here, layering isn’t of the utmost importance unless spending long periods outdoors. A single thermal layer worn under regular clothing will suffice. A nice pair of trousers or jeans will suffice as the top layer.


Feet

There are exactly two components to consider when dealing with the feet: socks and shoes. For socks, it’s important to be choosy with materials. Wool, durable cotton, and blended fibres are excellent choices whereas silk or thin cotton won’t offer much in the form of protection. Cold-weather specific socks are a dream. When wearing several socks, one must take care in selecting the shoe. Without a loose-fitting pair, the wearer risks restricting blood flow to the foot. This is vitally important as lessened circulation can put you at risk in cold conditions.

Shoes are dependent on intended activity, style, and personal preference. Generally, boots are the most suitable footwear for cold weather since they cover more surface area than a trainer would and are made of stronger stuff. The durability of plastic or leather boots cannot be touted enough. Hard soles make walking on slippery surfaces far easier, added bulk means extra warmth, and those with waterproof qualities are useful in almost every scenario. A myriad of options exist, not all the smartest when talking about cold-weather preparedness, but nearly any kind of boot will work.



Cold weather sports, such as snowboarding and skiing, change the tune a bit as they require special kinds of clothing to combat continued exposure to the cold. Otherwise, go forth into the blustery winds of this overstayed winter a little wiser.


Jacqui Litvan

Jacqui Litvan, wielding a bachelor's degree in English, strives to create a world of fantasy amidst the ever-changing landscape of military life. Attempting to become a writer, she fuels herself with coffee (working as a barista) and music (spending free time as a raver).