Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Layering for Winter

Post contributed by Pat, Conservation Corps crew leader:

Winter is here and and without the proper clothes it can become difficult to enjoy the outdoors or even go to the grocery store. With the right clothes and layering them correctly you'll be able do all this and build a snowman after. You will have the carrot after-all. 

Example of a base-layer
Layering is a way to use your clothes to keep you warm for any activity. There are three main parts of layering. The base layer (on your skin), mid-layer (over base layer), and outer layer (what the wind hits). Putting these three parts together is simple and can insure a great time outside.

The base layer is the first thing you put on. This layer is to get moisture away from you. Fabrics such as merino wool, silk, or a synthetic blend will take the moisture away from your body to keep you dry. Avoid fabrics that will absorb moisture. Cotton is one of these fabrics to avoid as it will keep the moisture which cools fast in cold weather. 

Example of mid-layer
The mid-layer is there help retain warmth. Wool and fleece are great for mid-layers. They both have there pros and cons. Fleece is lighter but only keeps heat if dry as wool is a bit heaver but keeps you warm if wet. 

Outer layer is what protects you from the elements. There is a huge variety in outer layers. Waterproof, wind breaker (don't vent as well), and softshell are all considerations for this layer. For winter you're likely to go with something that protect you from the wind and is water resistant. Different weather conditions will change what outer layer you choose. There are links below to help you make the right decision about outer layers for weather conditions. 

Example of outer-layer
That's the basics of layering. Play around with different combinations in different weather conditions to optimize comfort and warmth. Enjoy the views around parks and lakes in St. Paul with the sound of snow crunching under your boots. Stay safe!

P.S. Layering if for your both torso and legs. Don't forget mittens and a hat!