Master the art of layering clothes
Whether you're heading to the snow in the southern parts of Australia or getting ready for the milder winter weather in our northern states, when it comes to what you wear in the colder months, mastering the art of layering is critical.
The purpose of layering is to make sure your body can operate at its best no matter what activity you're engaged in - even while sitting around a campfire doing nothing.
Keeping warm enough, but allowing your body to breathe without dangerously lowering your core temperature and compromising your physical wellbeing, is the outcome you're after.
There are three main layer categories: a base or wicking layer, middle or insulating layer and the outer or wind and water-insulating layer. Each of these layers serves a dedicated purpose in keeping you warm, dry and comfortable while you're out and about enjoying the great outdoors in the cooler months.
Base or wicking layer
Good base or wicking layer clothing keep you dry and stop body moisture from making you feel cold by drawing sweat away from your skin. This layer can also prevent chafing and blisters - an essential part of enjoying a winter hike.
Polypropylene - as well as materials like merino wool, Thinsulate and DryFit - are the most effective options as your base layer because they're purpose-designed to wick away moisture and help regulate your body temperature. Most clothing categorised as thermals will work in this way.
In terms of fit, base layer clothing should sit close to your skin, enabling it to draw away moisture and trap the heat. Make sure you never use cotton as a base layer. Once cotton becomes wet, it stays wet.
Middle or insulating layer
The next layer of clothing is your middle layer. The colder the weather you're weathering, the more likely you'll benefit from adding an insulating layer before you head out.
Just like base layers, your insulating layers - pullovers, shirts, fleece vests and tops - also need to have moisture-wicking properties. As well as being comfortable to wear, good insulating layer clothing should strike a balance between being breathable enough to allow moisture to escape (to avoid you overheating) yet trap enough body heat to keep you warm.
Materials like Polartec, microfleece and polyester do an excellent job of keeping you warm and dry while still enabling the range of motion you'll need during a hike or a run, day on the slopes or even something more sedentary like an afternoon of leisurely fishing.
Outer or wind and water-insulating layer
The final layer very much depends on weather conditions. The colder the climate, the more benefit you'll get from an outer layer such as a rain jacket, ski jacket or down jacket. As with your insulating layer, the outer layer also needs to strike a balance between allowing moisture to escape, yet retaining body heat, and to directly protect you from some harsh winter elements like wind, rain and snow.
When considering outer layer clothing, look for garments that are waterproof and windproof. Outer layer items with fully taped seams to prevent water seeping in through the stitching holes are exactly what you need to maximise your comfort while walking, running or hitting the slopes.
Headwear and footwear
A certain percentage of your body's temperature escapes from your head, so taking steps to prevent excessive heat loss by wearing a fleece or woollen hat or beanie is an important accessory in keeping your body temperature regulated when the weather is colder.
As well as items like neck gaiters - if you're experiencing some really cold temperatures - consider equipping yourself with balaclavas and bandanas made from moisture-wicking materials that can help protect your face against wind, rain and snow.
When it comes to socks and shoes, forget about cotton socks - they won't keep your feet dry enough and damp feet can lead to some nasty health issues. Instead, look for socks made from materials like merino wool or microfibre.
In terms of footwear, make sure you're matching the appropriate shoes for the type of exercise. The shoes you select should offer you the right kind of arch support and overall stability for helping avoid joint and soft-tissue injuries. Always try your footwear on for size with the socks you intend to wear with those shoes.
The cooler months of the year shouldn't mean a decrease in your activity and exercise levels. You just need to choose the right clothes to get the most enjoyment out of your activity and to avoid unnecessary injury or some of the more serious health issues like dehydration or hypothermia.
Anaconda has a huge range of functional, comfortable and fashionable clothes across every category of layering to keep you dry, warm and enjoying the great outdoors throughout winter.