The first rule of keeping warm is layers. You might have heard this rule a few times, but not known the science behind it. Well, it exists, and it’s very logical. When you make a layer, whether that be skin and material, or material and material, it makes a pocket of air. This arms warms up, stays warm, and helps to insulate the skin. This is the best form of natural insulation!
If you aren’t used to dressing for the cold, it will also be useful for you to know the following. To keep your skin dry and allow any moisture to move away, the very bottom layer should be thin. You’ve heard that cotton is best for sleeping in? This is because it helps keep the body cool! So, in this scenario, cotton is not ideal. Man-made fibres like polyester are what you want. Next up, the middle layer. This can either be multiple thinner layers, or one thick one, like a fleece. The middle layer is what insulates you from the cold. Your top layer needs to not just supplement your heat-keeping layer, it also needs to protect from the environment. So, it should be wind and waterproof. We all know how difficult is to get warm again when we’ve been wet, so this layer is important too.
Layers are, as you can see, important. However, they need to be supplemented with the right type of clothing. As we’ve discussed, five layers of cotton tee-shirts are not going to help. Instead, you’ll need clothing that is made from the right materials. So, something thin and floaty is clearly not going to do a great job as your top layer. You need items like a down parka that will keep warm in minus degree weather. Down is great, as are most materials of this nature. Polyester and silk are two man-made materials that are great for your layers. Fleece and cotton are also great.
A final point on your layering and clothing. Wearing layers and the right material is key. But so is ensuring what you are wearing is comfortable. It’s all very well buying a huge bulky coat to go over a huge bulk fleece. But if you can barely move when you’re wearing them? You may be so uncomfortable that you take them off anyway! Or you might be restricted in your activities. Short or mid-length top layers may be tempting. However, longer coats are easier to sit down in.
On the topic of sitting down, another key point to keeping warm is knowing what activities you’re going to be doing. Walking, running and sports will make your body active, and warm you up. But if you’re going to be sitting around a lot, you don’t have this extra heat source to rely on.
Last by not least, never underestimate the power of keeping your extremities warm. Your hands and your feet need gloves and socks of the right material. Make sure the top layer is waterproof or at least water-resistant also.