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What to wear in the cold ?

What to wear in the cold ?

Understanding the Importance of Layering

When it comes to dressing for the deep cold, a proven approach is to use layering, the "onion technique". This technique employs multiple layers of clothing, each serving a specific role, to create effective protection against the cold.

The Base Layer: Temperature Regulation and Moisture Wicking

The first layer, or base layer, is vitally important. It's the layer of clothing in direct contact with your skin. Its primary role is to regulate your body temperature and wick moisture away from your skin. This helps you stay dry and warm, which is essential to avoid problems like hypothermia in winter.

The Importance of Breathability in the Base Layer

The breathability of the base layer is of utmost importance. Breathable materials allow sweat to evaporate instead of staying trapped against your skin. This helps keep your skin dry, thus reducing the risk of rapid cooling that could occur if your skin remained moist in cold weather.

How to Choose a Good Base Layer for the Deep Cold

To choose a base layer for the deep cold, opt for clothing made from materials that are both breathable and moisture-wicking. Materials like polyester or merino wool are excellent options. The key is to look for clothing that can help manage sweat while retaining body heat.

The Mid-Layer: Thermal Insulation

Beyond the base layer is the mid-layer. This layer acts as an insulator, trapping the heat produced by your body to keep you warm. It essentially serves as a barrier that retains body heat and prevents cold from penetrating.

The Key Role of Insulation in Protection Against the Cold

Insulation plays a key role in protection against the cold. Thermal insulation clothing works by trapping a layer of warm air around your body. The thicker the air layer, the more insulated you are and the warmer you will stay.

Characteristics of an Effective Mid-Layer

An effective mid-layer should be both insulating and breathable. It must be capable of retaining body heat, but also allow moisture to evaporate. This prevents the buildup of sweat, which could cool your body. Sweaters, vests, and jackets made of wool, down, or synthetic fleece are excellent options for this layer.

clothing layer

The Outer Layer: Protection Against the Elements

The last layer, or outer layer, is your first line of defense against external elements. This layer is designed to be resistant to wind, rain, and snow, while allowing moisture to escape.

How an Outer Layer Protects Against Wind and Moisture

An effective outer layer should be both wind-resistant and water-resistant. This means it must be capable of blocking the wind (which can quickly cool your body) and repelling water (rain, snow), thus preventing moisture from penetrating and cooling your body.

Criteria for Choosing an Outer Layer for the Deep Cold

When choosing an outer layer for the deep cold, look for clothing that is both waterproof and breathable. Additionally, they should be robust enough to withstand the rigors of winter conditions, while being comfortable enough to wear for extended periods. Common materials used for outer layers include Gore-Tex and other similar synthetic fabrics.

Choosing the Right Materials for Dressing in the Deep Cold

When dressing to withstand the deep cold, the choice of clothing materials is crucial. Some materials are more insulating and resistant to the elements than others. Here, we'll examine some popular options: synthetic materials, wool, and down.

Synthetic Materials

Synthetic materials are artificially produced fibers, often used for winter clothing due to their insulation and water-resistant properties.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Synthetic Fibers

Synthetic fibers have many advantages. They are generally lightweight, breathable, and good at wicking moisture. Moreover, they dry quickly and are more water-resistant than many other materials. However, they are sometimes less effective than other materials, like wool or down, at insulating from the cold.

Innovations in Synthetic Materials for the Cold

There have been numerous innovations in synthetic materials for the cold over the years. For example, some brands have developed synthetic fibers that mimic the structure of down, offering excellent insulation with less weight. Others have created clothing from recycled fibers, making these products more sustainable and eco-friendly.


Wool is another very common material for winter clothing. Coming mainly from sheep, wool is highly valued for its natural ability to insulate and manage moisture.

merino wool

Why Wool is a Good Thermal Insulator

Wool is an excellent thermal insulator due to its unique structure. Wool fibers create small air pockets that retain heat, while allowing the skin to breathe and wicking away moisture. Moreover, wool has the unique ability to provide warmth even when wet.

The Different Types of Wool and Their Properties

There are several types of wool, each with its own properties. For example, merino wool is known for being softer and finer than traditional wool, making it more comfortable to wear against the skin. It is also excellent at regulating temperature and wicking moisture.


Down is the layer of feathers found under the outer feathers of many birds. It is extremely effective for thermal insulation, making it a popular choice for winter clothing.

Exceptional Characteristics of Down for Insulation

Down is one of the best natural insulators available. Down feathers are very light and create numerous small air pockets, which trap and retain heat. However, down loses much of its insulating power when wet, which is why it is often paired with water-resistant materials.

How to Choose and Care for Down Clothing


When choosing down clothing, it's important to consider the warmth-to-weight ratio. A higher ratio means the down is warmer for its weight. It's also important to note that down requires special care to maintain its insulating power. It should be dried at low temperature and often accompanied by drying balls to help restore its loftiness.

Essential Accessories for Protecting Against the Cold

Protecting against the deep cold isn't just about choosing a good coat or warm sweater. Choosing the right accessories is equally essential. In this section, we'll review the essentials for optimal protection: gloves, mittens, thermal socks, scarves, beanies, and balaclavas.

Gloves and Mittens

In winter, your hands are often the first to feel the cold. Therefore, it's essential to protect them well.

Choosing Between Gloves and Mittens: Pros and Cons

The choice between gloves and mittens largely depends on your activity. Generally, mittens are warmer than gloves because your fingers share their heat. However, gloves offer more dexterity, which can be useful for certain activities like skiing or driving.

Characteristics of Good Hand Protection

winter mitten

A good pair of gloves or mittens for the deep cold should have adequate insulation and be water-resistant. It's also helpful if they have wrist straps to prevent them from getting lost and padding for comfort.

Thermal Socks

Your feet need special protection against the cold. Thermal socks are therefore a must-have in your winter wardrobe.

The Importance of Thermal Socks for Foot Comfort

Thermal socks play a key role in keeping your feet's warmth. They are generally thicker than normal socks and have specific insulation properties.

The Best Materials for Thermal Socks

Thermal socks can be made from a variety of materials, including wool, synthetic, or a blend of both. Wool, and particularly merino wool, is often considered the best material for thermal socks due to its excellent insulation and moisture management capabilities.

Scarves, Beanies, and Balaclavas

Finally, let's not forget the protection of the head and neck, areas that lose a lot of heat if not properly covered.

Protecting the Head and Neck: Why It's Essential

It's essential to protect the head and neck because these areas are particularly sensitive to cold. Moreover, a significant amount of body heat can be lost through the head if it's not well covered.


Selection Criteria for These Accessories

When choosing a scarf, beanie, or balaclava, look for materials that offer good thermal insulation, such as wool or synthetic. Also, ensure they are comfortable and fit well to prevent heat loss.

Additional Tips for Dressing in the Deep Cold

Now that we've reviewed the basics of dressing for the deep cold, here are some additional tips to maximize your comfort and protection.

Avoid Too Tight Clothing

Too tight clothing can compromise your comfort and warmth.

How the Fit of Clothing Affects Blood Circulation and Insulation

Too tight clothing can restrict your blood circulation, which can make your hands and feet cold. Moreover, if your clothes are too fitted, they can compress your insulation layer, reducing its effectiveness.

Protect Body Extremities

Your body's extremities, like your hands, feet, and head, are particularly sensitive to the cold.

Why Extremities Are Most Exposed to the Cold

The extremities are more exposed to the cold because your body reduces blood flow to them to maintain heat in the body's core. That's why it's crucial to protect them well.

Tips for Optimal Protection of Extremities

Use gloves or mittens to protect your hands, thermal socks for your feet, and a beanie for your head. Shoe covers can also be useful for keeping your feet warm.

Prepare for Temperature Changes

In winter, temperatures can vary significantly throughout the day.

Anticipating Temperature Variations During the Day

It's crucial to anticipate temperature variations by layering your clothing, which allows you to add or remove layers depending on the conditions.

How to Adapt Your Outfit to Changing Conditions

Adaptability is key. Always have an extra layer on hand, and don't hesitate to adjust your outfit as the temperature changes.

Examples of Outfits for Different Activities in the Deep Cold

Each cold-weather activity requires a slightly different approach to clothing. Here are some examples of appropriate outfits for different situations.

Outfit for a Day of Skiing

Skiing requires specialized attire to keep you warm and dry.

Essential Elements of a Ski Outfit for the Deep Cold

A ski outfit for the deep cold would include a thermal base layer, a mid-layer made of wool or synthetic material, and a waterproof and windproof outer layer. Don't forget a beanie, gloves or mittens, and thermal socks.

Mistakes to Avoid When Preparing a Ski Outfit

Avoid cotton clothing, which retains moisture, and make sure your clothes aren't too tight to not hinder your blood circulation or freedom of movement.

Outfit for a Mountain Hike

High mountain hiking can be extremely cold, and you must prepare accordingly.

How to Dress for a High Altitude Hike in the Deep Cold

For a high altitude hike in the deep cold, opt for a thermal base layer, an insulating mid-layer, and a windproof and waterproof outer layer. Good hiking boots, gloves, a beanie, and sunglasses are also essential.

Essential Items for a Winter Mountain Hike

Do not overlook accessories such as scarves and headwear, which can offer additional protection against the cold. Also, consider bringing extra clothing in case the weather conditions change.

Outfit for a Day of Outdoor Work

If you work outdoors in cold weather, your outfit must be both warm and functional.

Specific Work Clothes for the Deep Cold

For working outdoors in the deep cold, consider an insulated work overall, insulated work boots, sturdy work gloves, and a beanie or balaclava to protect your head. There are also heated clothes that work with an external battery like the heated jacket.

Tips for Maintaining Body Heat During Outdoor Physical Work

Don't forget to drink plenty of warm fluids to maintain your body temperature and take regular indoor breaks to warm up if possible.

With these tips and tricks, you should be well-prepared to face the deep cold. Remember, the most important thing is to stay warm and safe, regardless of the activity you plan to do.

Travel Gear for Lapland or Canada


Preparing for a trip to Lapland or Canada requires special attention to clothing. The climate can be extremely cold, and weather conditions can be unpredictable. Here are some essentials to bring with you for dressing warmly in Canada or Lapland.

The Trousers

When travelling to Lapland, you must choose an insulated outdoor trouser that can withstand freezing temperatures. Look for trousers with a water and wind-resistant outer layer and an insulating inner layer, such as down or synthetic padding. A popular option is ski trousers, which are designed to withstand harsh winter conditions.

Characteristics of a Good Trouser for Lapland

The ideal trousers for Lapland should be well-insulated, but also offer some breathability to avoid overheating during physical activities. They should also be flexible enough to allow freedom of movement and feature pockets for storing your essentials.

The Down Jacket

A down jacket is an essential piece for staying warm in Lapland. The down jacket, filled with down or synthetic fibers, is known for its exceptional insulating power.

How to Choose a Good Down Jacket for Lapland

When choosing a down jacket for Lapland, look for a model that offers excellent insulation, water resistance, and a hood to protect your head and neck. Many models also have elastic cuffs and an adjustable hem to prevent cold air from entering.

The Jacket

In addition to the down jacket, an outer jacket for the deep cold is necessary to provide an additional layer of protection against wind and moisture.

Criteria for Choosing a Jacket for Lapland

When choosing a jacket for Lapland, look for a model that is both water and wind-resistant. It's also helpful to choose a jacket with a hood, storage pockets, and underarm zips for additional ventilation if needed.

Additional Gear

Besides trousers, a down jacket, and a jacket, there are a few other pieces of equipment that are essential for a trip to Lapland.

Essential Equipment Items for Lapland

Insulated winter boots are necessary to keep your feet warm and dry. Make sure they are waterproof and offer good grip. Gloves or mittens are also essential to protect your hands from the cold. Don't forget thermal socks, a beanie to protect your head, and a scarf or neck gaiter to protect your neck.

With this gear, you'll be ready to enjoy everything Lapland has to offer while staying comfortable and warm.

In the heart of winter, there's nothing worse than going out and realizing you're not dressed warmly enough to withstand the freezing temperatures. It can ruin your day - it's hard to think about anything other than the cold, and it can also be dangerous. Dressing inadequately for winter can increase the risk of hypothermia and frostbite. Therefore, when you go out in extremely cold weather, it's important to think more about what you're wearing and make sure you're properly covered from head to toe. So, how to dress in winter?


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