I am once again in the Northern portion of the US and thus once again in a state where the ‘cold weather’ is actually cold. Now when I see someone in a down jacket, I don’t laugh. After all, I’m not in shorts at the same time.
Going from 60 to 90 degree weather back into a winter where it dropped down into the teens today brought to mind the topic for today. Having spent years in scouting, I sometimes forget that not everyone knows the same things I do. Thus, we are going to talk a little about staying warm.
Ignoring vacuum insulation, which tends not to be involved with clothing, you have two basic things to focus on. First is understanding what creates the insulation. For that, you need air. Some people find this very odd, but think about it for a bit. The foam used to insulate coolers is filled with air. The super warm down cover you love only stays warm so long as the down is dry. If it is wet, it presses together and all of the air that insulates it is gone.
That’s a really important thing to remember when picking what you are going to wear. Synthetics and wool can retain their air-filled loft when wet. Others like cotton tend to spread water around where the air was and cool you off when damp. It’s also going to influence how effective your clothing are when worn. Too many items pressed together are less effective than fewer items with better loft.
The second part is layers. Most people toss on a heavy jacket and head out the door. When you are going to be out in the weather for a bit though, it is wiser to put on several layers of less thick clothing. As a bonus, layers allow you to control your temperature more effectively. When you are going to be active, you can remove a layer or two to keep from sweating. When you are going to just be standing in the cold, you can add a few back to improve your comfort.
This is just a crash course. There are other aspects of cold weather clothing worth discussing, but we’ll save that for another time. This is old news to some of my readers, but to those of you who haven’t heard it before, I hope you find it helps you staying warm this winter. For now, I’m off again to go enjoy the novel ability to feel cold. Of course everyone here would probably be much happier in the South Texas weather. It’s all about your perspective I suppose.