Dressing for Winter is like Making a Sandwich!

Winter survival


How do you dress when it's -20 outside and +20 in your classroom? 

Add clothes to your body one layer at a time.  By doing this you can add or remove layers, depending on the weather and your activity.

In general, there are three main layers for men and women: 

  • Wicking
  • Insulating
  • Weather protection

Wicking (inner) Layer

This layer is worn next to your skin, usually consisting of long underwear. The wicking layer should fit snugly (not tight) next to the skin in order to effectively take moisture away from your skin. Look for thermal long underwear made of a synthetic — usually polyester — fiber that has "wicking" power. This means the fibers will wick (move) moisture away from the skin and pass it through the fabric so it will evaporate. Silk is also a good, natural fabric that has wicking abilities.

Tip: Cotton is a not for winter. Cotton absorbs moisture (sweat and snow), and retains it. When the wind blows, the result is very, very cold.

Insulating (middle) Layer

This middle layer includes sweaters, sweatshirts, vests, pullovers and pants. The purpose of this layer is to keep heat in and cold out. Comfort is important for the insulating layer. It should be loose enough to trap air between layers, but not so bulky that it restricts movement. Popular insulation materials include: Fleece and wool.

Protection (outer) layer

A winter coat, hat, mittens, scarf and boots serve as your guard against the elements of winter. Look for items that repel water from snow, sleet or rain and block the wind. The protection layer should fit comfortably, offering you maximum range of motion.

Up to 60% of your body heat can escape from your head – cover up!  A winter hat is essential in cold weather since it will cover your whole head and ears. This is not possible with the hat on the left. Chose a thick fleece hat so it protects your head from the cold wind.

In extreme cold you may want to wear a face mask or scarf over your face to cover your mouth and nose. 

Sunglasses are also good in wintertime since the sun reflects off the snow and can make it difficult to see. Sunglasses also help to prevent your eyes from getting dry in high winds.

Not all winter coats are made equally. Make sure you spend money wisely on a coat that will protect you from the wind, snow and cold weather. If you are going to participate in winter sports – such as skiing, snowshoeing, etc then you may want to buy insulated winter pants for extra warmth and protection against the wind.

Look for gloves and mittens that use waterproof, breathable fabrics. In general, mittens are warmer than gloves since they keep your finger close together.

Long socks are better in cold weather since they will cover your lower leg and keep it warm.

Tip: Resist the temptation of putting on too many pairs of socks. You'll restrict circulation and actually cause your feet to get colder.

Winter boots are essential for traction (so you don't slip on the ice), warmth, and to protect your feet from getting wet.

Other accessories that you will need for wintertime:

Body Lotion --- to moisture your skin

Chapstick ---- to moisturize your lips

Hot Water Bottle ---- to keep your feet warm at night

Final Tips

  • Eat regularly and keep well-hydrated.
  • When you're moving, remove a layer of clothing before you start to sweat. When you stop, add a layer before you start to cool off.
  • If your fingers feel like blocks of ice, swing your arms in wide circles as fast as possible. After a few minutes enough blood is pushed into your fingertips to
    warm them.