Learning how to dress for the cold in the outdoors is important not only for comfort, but for safety. Winter weather, especially in certain climates, can be unpredictable and dangerous. But even if one is not worried about scaling mountain passes, it still pays to be able to adjust one’s temperature throughout a winter day – with all of the variations in temperature that can occur.
How To Dress for the Cold Weather
The two key things one should remember when choosing winter clothing are materials and layers. Certain materials work better to keep one warm and dry than others, and knowing how to dress in layers is key to remaining comfortable in the cold.
White cotton socks and cotton t shirts are fine in the summer, but cotton is not a material well-designed for cold weather. When cotton becomes wet it loses its insulation properties. This means if boots fill up with snow, get doused in water or one just sweats from exertion, cotton goes from a comfort to a hazard.
Wool, on the other hand, is an ideal insulator even when wet. This is why it is still considered a prized material for winter weather underlayers – even with the creation of a range of useful synthetics. Merino wool in particular is used as an underlayer because it is both comfortable and warm.
Synthetics are perfect for outer layers. They can shed water and snow so well that one can remain completely dry in most circumstances – unless one falls in water or sits on snow so long it melts and soaks through the material.
With an understanding of materials, it is easy to start creating layers. A base layer is always recommended, such as long underwear made out of merino wool or a synthetic material. Then comes more layers – the number depending on how severe the weather will be. Warm footwear should also always be a priority, with waterproofing if possible.
For a walk in the woods it may be enough to put on a base layer, then a pair of outdoor pants or snow pants and a long sleeve shirt or sweater, and a jacket. Someone doing a serious hike in the snow might increase the layers and bring a backpack to store layers that he or she is shedding as body temperature rises.
So remember, know your materials and learn to dress in layers. And for your next hike or camping trip, be sure to pack a Litefighter tent to stay warm!