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Cold Weather Wear - Principal of Layering

The Layering system simply means wearing several layers of clothing which can be adjusted to suit the conditions and activity. Conditions refers to wind, rain or clear skies. Activity refers to walking, running, sleeping or just being stationary.

A typical layering system consist of a first layer of thin thermal wear under your usual T-shirt and pants, followed by a thin sweater or thicker fleece. The last layer would be the windproof jacket. As far as possible, windproof jacket should be breatheable which allows perspiration to pass through. To counter rains, I use the umbrella extensively instead of rainjackets. Additional layers can be used for more insulation.

Synthetic thermals are very lightweight with excellent insulation

The usual wear for walking or trekking, even in snow would be normal or quick-dry T-shirt and pants with fleece and/or windjacket. You'll be surprised how warm it gets while walking in snow or ice conditions. By layering, one can easily take off 1 or 2 layers of jacket to feel more comfortable.

Polartec fleece sweater / Breathable rain and wind jacket

When purchasing cold weather gear, read carefully at the type of fabric used. There are many fabrics which are a mix of the various types I have listed below.

Wool - has good insulating properties but dries very slowly, has strong odour, feels prickly on direct contact with skin. Recommended used for sweater.

Polyester - repels water and has low wicking (carries moisture from the skin) ability - not ideal for thermal underwear but great for fleece.

Polypropylene - lightest and thinnest of the synthetics. Repels water with excellent wicking properties. Probably the best material for thermals.

Down - are the underside feathers of the goose which provides the lightest and warmest insulation. However it must be kept dry always. When wet, it loses its insulation properties and will also be very heavy.

Mircofibers - are a mix of the various synthetic materials available at different proportions.

Nylons or PVC - are very common but are usually non-breathable, which makes the user very clammy and damp on the inside. On the other hand, such garments are cheap. The motorcycle raingear which consist of a pants and jacket are a good inexpensive way to keep dry in wet weather.

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