As autumn is in full swing and the winter months are rolling in quickly, it’s about that time of the year where we start to switch out our summer clothes for warmer winter wear. Unfortunately, with as many online ads and digital marketing, it can be hard to sift through all the different options available. Do you need fleece? Gore-tex? Down? Synthetic? This guide serves as everything you need to know about men’s winter outerwear.
Having multiple articles of clothing (in particular, tops) is what helps you stay warm, dry, and comfy. It’s rare that one jacket can provide all these, and for this reason, people layer up during the wet and colder months. Wearing multiple layers also makes it easier to regulate your body temperature if you go back inside, like walking through a snowy night to a restaurant. Here is the gist of why there are three layers, what these each do, and the best materials for each one.
The base layer is what will be closest to your body if you wear multiple layers. Depending on the weather, it might just be a plain ol’ T-shirt. This is perfectly fine for moderately chilly days, but it unfortunately won’t hold up when it’s really cold outside.
The purpose of the bottom layer is to keep you dry. Even if it’s 20 degrees outside, you still sweat in various amounts depending on what activity you are doing. To keep you from staying chilly and damp, find a material that helps wick moisture away from the body. It also should be lightweight and breathable, so you don’t feel too rigid while wearing it. Synthetic fabrics (such as rayon, polyester, or nylon), merino wool, and silk are all excellent choices for a bottom layer to keep you dry.
The objective of wearing a middle layer is to keep you warm. It does this by trapping the heat released by your body to insulate you. While you want some degree of warmth, warmer is not always better for all situations. For example, if you are going on a mountain expedition, then you’ll need something like down feathers for you to stay comfortably warm. However, this material would make you way too hot if you were on a 10k hike when it’s already 50 degrees outside.
Fleece is a better option for these not-so-cold types of days, but it wouldn’t provide enough insulation for a more serious winter adventure. The mid-layer also provides some moisture-wicking capabilities, but this isn’t as important if you already have a solid base layer.
The outer layer, also called the shell, helps protect you from the rain and wind. Again, there is a massive range of choices for these. You can easily pick up a cheap windbreaker for $20 or find a higher-quality outdoor jacket for several hundred dollars. These jackets need to be breathable and either fully waterproof or, at the very least, water-resistant.
If you need a coat to wear while jogging in a drizzle, a water-resistant shell is ideal for you. However, if your goal is to go snowboarding or on a mountaineering trip, bringing a waterproof jacket is necessary.
Not all jackets are perfect for all types of outdoor activities. You’ll need to consider warmth, breathability, and mobility for whatever situation you plan on using your jacket. If you just want something to look stylish around town, great! You’ll find satisfaction with almost any coat that matches your criteria for fit, style, and warmth.
On the contrary, if you need clothes to wear while cross country skiing, then your standards will probably shift to look for articles of clothing that are breathable, moisture-wicking, and allow you lots of room to move.
No matter how cool the jacket looks or how warm it is, nothing really else matters unless it fits your body well. You need to be able to move around as easily as you can. Have you ever tried to reach for something up above only to have your arms feel stuck in a tightly-fitting coat? No fun! A winter jacket is meant to be a tool to support you in staying warm and dry as you spend time outside. Since winter clothing is frequently layered, there is all the more reason for it to allow you to move. While you don’t want a jacket that’s drowning your body being several sizes too large, it’s even worse not to be able to comfortably move around in fundamental ways. A good fit is essential if you are planning to go on a backpacking trip or partake in any other outdoor sports.
Reality check: The higher quality the clothing, the most expensive it will cost upfront. However, high-quality clothing is a must for men’s outdoor fashion. A great jacket shouldn’t be raggedy by next season. It should last for years, if not decades depending on what you use it for. Our clothing is the first to take a beating when challenged by all the elements outdoors, such as wind, sunshine, rain, snow, ice, mud, and general wear and tear from being active. Take your time comparing brands and reading reviews from other people who bought those items. Ask your friends to see if they have any recommendations on their favorite gear. In general, it’s better to shop around for deals on trustworthy sites than it is to snag a cheaper deal on a lower-quality product.
Pockets are a must with winterwear. No matter if you are just walking through downtown or out in the backcountry, having the extra compartments will keep your things organized, protected, and within easy reach. Many winter pockets on the outside of the jacket have zippers. This comes in handy if you ever need to bend over in the snow or near some mud. It would be sad to see your phone take a nosedive out. If you don’t need pockets, great. But you can’t easily add pockets to a jacket if it doesn’t already come with them. Ensure that your winter coat has both inner and out pockets, so you are as prepared as possible for whatever situation arises.
By understanding everything you need to know about men’s winter outerwear, you can make sure you have all the right gear for the upcoming colder months.
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