By Logan Rokwild
Ah, snow! Winter is a magical time of year in Canada, but for newcomers for whom this may be their first taste of sub-zero temperatures, some tips on how to dress warm may be in order.
Life goes on as normal in winter, so make sure you equip yourself with the proper attire. The trick to staying warm is having the proper clothing layers and knowing how to use them effectively. Here are some tips.
Dress in layers: Our body loses heat through conduction, convection, evaporation, radiation and perspiration. As activity levels increase so does the heat produced in our body and vice-versa. Thus it becomes important to insulate our body to keep warm and this is done by the layering technique.
When we wear our clothes in layers, we ensure that there is enough dead air space, (defined as any enclosed unit of air that is small enough so that natural convection currents would not arise in it), which can be shed off layer by layer, to balance the heat levels of your body. So while you need to dress warmly, you also need to dress in layers so that you can be ready for temperature changes of the body.
As the old adage goes, if your toes are cold, put on a hat... You can lose up to 70% of your body heat from your head, so a good winter hat is essential when you step out of your home. You may even need to get a face mask if you are at risk from high wind conditions and susceptible to frost bite of the face.
Put your hands in gloves: Mittens are considered warmer than gloves as the fingers can keep each other warm rather than being isolated in the glove’s fingers. You can apply the layering principle here as well by using an inner mitten and an outer shell. However, gloves are essential too, especially the water proof variety, as various winter activities require a certain amount of dexterity, which mittens can’t provide.
Layer your feet with socks: Wear multiple layers of socks starting with thin polypropylene liner socks, which will keep the feet dry, followed by one or two layers of wool or wool/nylon blend socks. The outer layer of socks needs to be big enough to accommodate the inner layers.
Wear a waterproof outer layer: While it would be ideal to have a waterproof outer layer, it is essential to make your outermost layer of clothing windproof and at least water resistant. Also the garment needs to be able to be ventilated. So sometimes it’s a trade off between how much ‘waterproofness’ is desired and the ability to ventilate. Ventilation is important because a completely waterproof item will keep the water that is moving through your other layers trapped, adding to weight and causing some heat loss.
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