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November 08, 2020

Safety during the winter months should be your number one priority, especially if you plan to stay healthy with regular outdoor exercises. No matter what you are doing in the great outdoors, you’ll need to stay warm. Layering your outfits is one of the most fundamental tips for handling frigid weather outside. Avoid frostbite and hypothermia while remaining active outside by learning how to layer clothing for cold weather. Proper layering techniques can save your life in the dangerous conditions associated with a brutal winter.

The Purpose of Layering

It is important to know why you are layering up before you begin. When you exercise outdoors or perform any activity in cold weather, you may start to sweat. If you are familiar with outdoor hypothermia tips, you’ll know that when your clothes get wet from rain or water hazards, you need to change as soon as possible. Sweaty clothes act the same way in freezing temperatures. Though you might feel hot underneath your layers as you exercise, the water in sweat saps body heat quickly, resulting in a sneaking hypothermia.

If you begin to notice the signs of hypothermia, such as shivering or dizziness, get indoors as soon as you can. Hypothermia is difficult to recognize until it is too late and can cause confusion that limits your critical decision-making. You also need to go indoors if any of your layers get wet and will not dry out. If you fail to feel better after taking some time to warm up, you may need to go to seek medical attention.

The Different Layers

Dressing for inclement weather is a tricky process to master. You may need to give yourself extra time each day to prepare before heading outside. Each layer of clothing that you need has a name and a purpose. You may already practice using these layers when dressing for the winter, but knowing the reasons behind dressing this way will help you organize your daily wardrobe routine.

Base Layer

Though skintight clothing does not do a particularly good job of keeping you warm on its own, it does provide a solid base layer upon which you can build your warm wintery outfit. The base layer of clothing, also known as the underwear layer, is no more than one thin layer of clothes. The best protection from hypothermia is a skintight, waterproof shirt that loops around your thumb. Thumb sleeves make sure that cold air can’t sneak in through the gap near your wrist between your outer layer and your gloves.

If you are planning to exercise, make sure that your base layer is athlete-grade quality. A simple shirt underneath all your layers may keep you warm during low activity, but once it gets sweaty, it may not dry out as quickly. Owning an underlayer made from waterproof, quick-drying material is essential for an active lifestyle. It will also provide one last layer to keep environmental water dangers, like rain or sea spray, from touching your skin if it breaches your outer shell.

Middle Insulating Layer

Your middle layer can be several layers of clothing, all dedicated to keeping your body heat in and the cold air out. Much like how you might insulate a home to keep the warm air inside, the same logic applies to your body during the winter. Your body is a natural heater, and being warm-blooded means that you can regulate your own temperature even out in the cold.

Clothes that you put in your middle layer should be easy to remove. Remember to make yourself comfortable—do not overlayer or overlap zippers in a way that will make you uncomfortable. Having stiff movement due to too many layers will not provide you with a rewarding workout. Build from the lightest layers upwards to keep yourself dry.

Currently, the most common and effective means of insulating a body is with down feathers. Many jackets and coats use down feathers in their shells. While a synthetic alternative to down feathers is a work in progress, currently, down feathers are the most effective way to capture body heat.

Outer Shell Layer

The outermost layer of your outfit is the most important one because it shields all the other layers. A wet middle layer will not defend you from the cold, but a working outer shell will protect all your middle and inner layers and ensure that you remain comfortable and safe throughout your entire workout. Your outer shell should be large enough to hold all your layers within, so you may need to go up a size when buying the coat. It should also be completely waterproof to protect the less-waterproof secondary layer. As mentioned, water is extremely dangerous for your body in cold conditions.

A secondary factor about your outer layer is style. This is the one layer that people will actually see—so make it count. If outdoor fashion interests you, then find a shell coat that provides you with style and utility.

Extra Safety Accessories To Remember

While they’re technically not their own layer, your outdoor accessories are essential for how to layer clothing for cold weather. Warm, waterproof hats, gloves, and socks are necessary pieces of your outdoor winter wardrobe. The accessories you elect to use will differ based on the activity you are doing, so choose wisely. You may need goggles or a full balaclava when exploring areas with high winds. Select your shoes carefully before you leave your home. You will want shoes with adequate grip to avoid slipping on the ice while also keeping snow and water from seeping into your socks.

“Waterproof” and “water-resistant” are the words to look for whenever you are shopping for winter layers or accessories. Snow is an insidious monster that can cause you more discomfort than you can handle. When you are looking for high-quality outerwear to suit your outdoor activities, browse the selection of top brands at Escape Outdoors. Anything from our collections is sure to keep you warm and dry, even during the worst of winter’s wrath.

Clothing for Cold Weather

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