Sunday, February 3, 2013

Keep Warm by Layering

I'm sure that everyone has heard the recommendation of dressing in layers to stay warm during the winter. As I was dressing to go outside a few days ago, I decided that I should do my own post on the topic. This isn't because I have come upon some secret to staying warm, but because my approach to layering has taken quite a bit of experimentation, so I thought it might be worth sharing.

When dressing in layers my goal is to not only apply multiple layers, but to do so in a way that results in each layer overlapping another. I begin with a pair of socks that are long enough to extend at least a few inches above my ankles. Next I add my bottom base layer, which is usually a pair of thermal underwear, or "long johns", but could also be a pair flannel pants or similar. Next I put on another pair of socks, which overlap the the bottom base layer by several inches. My next layer is my top base layer, which is often just a t-shirt, but could also be a long sleeve shirt for colder weather. Next I put on my pants, making sure to tuck the t-shirt into them. I finish by adding a sweatshirt or other long-sleeve shirt as the final top layer.

At this point I have multiple layers which are overlapped in such a way as to prevent wind from getting in between layers. I usually add a thick coat, gloves, boots and toboggan before I go out. I have found that a hood is actually warmer than a toboggan, but I often have trouble keeping hoods position correctly. Sometimes I'll put the hood on over my toboggan, which seems to work out well.

You may have noticed that this arrangement leave my lower body with one less layer than my torso. This usually isn't a problem, but on occasion I have found that my legs get cold before the rest of my body. I'm not sure if the solution is simply to add a third layer or to switch to thicker, warmer, layers.

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