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The Science Behind Staying Warm Outside

After learning the science behind winter layering, you’ll never be cold again.

We all know it’s important to dress warm in the winter, but sometimes adding an extra layer or opting for that certain sweater can actually make you colder outdoors. As any outdoorsman or woman will tell you, not all winter clothing is created equal—different fabrics work with your natural body heat in different ways. Some trap heat and others transfer it—and let’s not forget about sweat, which can make you colder by sticking around under your clothes. So before you begin layering for the winter walk ahead, remember this simple formula that will help you maximize your winter clothing’s potential:


Base layer + insulating layer + shell = optimal coziness while outdoors. 


Keep Yourself Dry—The Base Layer

The base layer (against your skin) manages moisture. This layer is important because it regulates your body temperature by moving moisture away from your skin and helping it evaporate through the right fabrics. Some good fabrics to keep you dry are merino wool, synthetic fabrics (like polyesters) or silk. Instead of absorbing your moisture these materials do a great job transporting the moisture away from your skin! A good example of a base layer can be anything from your sports bra to long underwear!  



 Insulate—The Thermal Layer

The insulating layer protects you from the cold and helps trap your body heat. If you’re looking for a good insulating layer, look for natural fibres like wool and goose down to keep you toasty. A classic fleece is also a good option since they dry faster than wool. You want the insulating layer to be loose enough to fit your base layer but also snug to help retain your heat. 



Protect From the Elements—The Outer Layer

The final touch to your perfectly layered look is your shell. This layer is your main protection from all of winter’s elements. These can range from wind proof jackets, to rain coats. When your shopping make sure you check that your coat has durable water repellent (DWR) in it. This chemical makes sure any moisture rolls of your coat instead of absorbing into it. Make sure this layer isn’t too tight and lets you move freely. Depending on the day, you can add or subtract any layer you need!



Myth: You only lose body heat through your head. 

Truth: You lose body heat from any part of your body that is exposed, so covering up your head, arms and neck will make a noticeable difference. Make sure to include hats, scarfs or neck warmers, sunglasses, and shell mittens to your perfectly bundled look!  



 By: Amanda Havey


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