Proper selection of clothing and equipment in the winter is extremely important not only for people who choose to spend their free time in nature, in the mountains, but also for those who stay outdoors in the city for a long time.
The choice of clothing should be appropriate to our length of stay in the cold and the type of activity. Proper selection of "layers" of clothing will provide us with maximum comfort, even when our activities in the cold include periods of active movement and warming of the body, followed by rest and cooling. The basic rule is to dress in such a way that we can maximally control the temperature and humidity of our body, so that there is no heat, sweating and subsequent cooling.
This means not getting into many layers of clothing - it may provide us with warmth initially, but with the least physical effort, it will cause sweating, moisture retention, and instant cold at first break.
We will distinguish three main layers: the lower one, whose main purpose is to provide us with a moisture barrier, the middle one to provide us with heat, and the upper one to protect us from snow, rain and / or wind - raincoats
When selecting clothes for each layer, it is of utmost importance to pay attention to the type of fabrics because of their different properties and qualities. Like many other industries, the textile industry is one of the leaders in innovation and innovation, whose goal is to provide maximum functionality and comfort under the most extreme conditions. Most major manufacturers of sports and camping goods are also actively developing and patenting their own synthetic materials.
Basic layer - breathable and moisture-absorbing
Cotton fabrics are not considered a good choice especially for the bottom layer - they retain moisture, the air between the filaments is compressed and this leads to a decrease in its ability to retain heat. This also applies to socks that are best wool or thick synthetic, the added benefit of which is that in many cases it does not retain odors and moisture. Merino wool socks are a great choice for cold days because they have excellent thermal insulation properties, but are in addition soft and comfortable. Modern new models are antibacterial and can dry very quickly, even under field conditions.
Similarly, the innovative technologies and materials used to produce high-quality thermal underwear provide much greater comfort by keeping warm air close to the body and releasing moisture very quickly. In addition, the current models are breathable and supple, made in such a way that skin contact is pleasant and does not cause irritation. This makes them the optimal choice for the bottom layer.
Middle layer - retains heat
For the middle layer, blouses and fleece and wool sweaters are a very suitable choice - they are lightweight and hold a large amount of air between their threads, thus providing maximum heat retention.
Wool has highly insulating properties due to the three-dimensional elastic, wavy shape of its fibers, which traps and holds the air between them. Wool can absorb small amounts of moisture without creating the feeling of really wet matter, because water "disappears" in the spaces between its fibers. One of the drawbacks of wool is that it can become very heavy when wet and release moisture slowly . However, when the excess water drains, even the wet wool has a minimal cooling effect. Wool can be woven into very dense fabrics that are quite resistant to wind. However, it should be remembered that coarse wool can cause skin irritation and itching and some people are allergic to it.
Fleece is a synthetic fabric made of plastic fibers (polyester, polyolefin, polypropylene, etc.). These fabrics have wool-like insulating properties, but they absorb less water and dry faster. This makes them very suitable for mid-layer clothing. The disadvantage is that they are not resistant to wind and water, which makes them a poor choice for the outer layer.
Materials are now available on the market, combined with synthetics and natural materials, to maximize their positive qualities, leading to improved comfort and better moisture removal and breathability of clothing.
Outer layer - insulating from water, snow and wind
The outermost layer is extremely important because it must be made of tested wind and waterproof materials. Of course, this layer must also provide heat (depending on extreme temperatures), but above all, it must be a barrier layer used in modern raincoats. The most popular and common fabric for outerwear is Gortex.
In terms of thermal insulation properties, quilted outerwear is considered a very good choice. The major drawback, however, is that they instantly lose this property when they get wet. Therefore, if you are wearing a down jacket or coat, it is also advisable to have an extra waterproof / repellent barrier layer.
The new synthetic materials are already sufficiently sophisticated and, in milder winter conditions, can provide sufficient temperature and humidity resistance on their own.