Wellness & Education

Adapt to cold weather with layered clothing

There is an old saying to the effect that, there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. If Indiana weather were more extreme, all Hoosiers would be forced to invest in heavy duty winter clothing. However, even in Indiana, being properly dressed can give us the freedom to enjoy the outdoors even on the dreariest of days.

The best way to adapt to bad weather is to dress in layers. Three layers allows for maximum flexibility. An outer, water and wind proof layer, keeps us dry and protects against wind chill. Waterproof jackets with fitted wrists and slits for ventilation provide maximum comfort. Waterproof, breathable fabrics such as Goretex are particularly comfortable. An inner base layer, worn next to the skin, helps preserve body heat. If you don’t want to invest in a wool base layer, this can be as simple as a pair of long johns or some tights and a t shirt.  A middle layer of thicker, insulating material, completes our layers.

Don’t forget the extremities. When buying gloves and socks, it isn’t just the thickness that matters, it’s also the material used. Wool is much more insulating than nylon, cotton or polyester. In truly arctic temperatures, adding thin glove and sock liners can make all the difference.

The head can lose heat faster than any other part of the body. A warm hat or balaclava (a tight-fitting ski mask that slips over the head and face) can cover both the head, face and neck. A balaclava is less likely to slip out of place than a scarf wound around the mouth and nose.

When we can get outdoors without discomfort from the cold and damp, winter can become a new experience to explore. Whether winter hiking at the Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary in Connersville, watching a Colts game or tobogganing at Pokagon State Park, warm, dry, clothes set the stage for outdoor winter fun.