It’s coooold out there campers, and that means you have to layer up before heading out the door to work, the grocery store or anywhere else you might have to go.
Layering is a pretty straightforward idea, but there are good ways of doing it and there is the ideal way. To get the most out of layering your clothes, you should use three layers: a base layer, an insulation layer and an outer layer.
As the layer that’s closest to skin, a base layer should pull away perspiration, a function known as ‘wicking’. In cold environments, long underwear that wicks away moisture keeps skin dry, helping to minimize chilling or potential for hypothermia.
Ideal materials for a base layer include synthetics, such as polyester and nylon, or natural fibers like silk. Although there are subtle related to wicking, odor retention and durability, most people are perfectly fine with their personal preference.
There are also considerations for fabric weight: lightweight, midweight and heavyweight. Typically, heavier fabrics are warmer; although that’s not the principal reason for a base layer.
The insulating layer helps to keep heat that is radiated from your body. The better this layer traps that warmth, the warmer you’ll be.
As with the base layer, there are a wide variety of choices when it comes to fabrics, which includes those made from synthetic and natural fibers. Generally speaking, the thicker the layer, the warmer it is. The quality of the insulating material is also a factor. Some typical insulating layers include polyester fleeces, down-insulated jackets and synthetic-insulated jackets.
The outer, or shell layer, shields you from wind, rain and wintery precipitation. Shell layers cover anything from expensive mountaineering jackets to basic wind-resistant jackets. Most permit at least some amount of moisture to escape. Nearly all are treated with a resilient water-repellent finish that causes water to bead up and roll off.
The outer layer is an essential piece of clothing in stormy weather. If wind and water are able to get into inner layers, it can have a significant chilling effect.
Outer layers can be grouped into the following types: waterproof/breathable, water-resistant/breathable, waterproof/nonbreathable and soft.
Waterproof/breathable layers tend to be the most functional choice. In general, more expensive outer layers are better at repelling moisture and more durable.
Water-resistant/breathable layers are able to handle a high level of activity, like running, during drizzling, breezy conditions. These outer layers tend to be more affordable than waterproof/breathable shells, and they’re normally made of tightly-woven synthetic fabrics.
Waterproof/nonbreathable layers made from coated nylon, which is water- and wind-proof. These shells are not effective at releasing moisture and a high level of exertion can result in getting wet with perspiration.
Above all else, soft shells are breathable. These layers offer light wind and rain protection, as well as light insulation.
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