Woman in thick padded parka with hood up

How to dress for the cold

Multi-layer principle

One excellent method for dressing in cold conditions is the multi-layer principle. This principle makes it possible to adapt to the cold, wind and rain.  The multi-layer principle divides clothing into four layers, each with its own purpose:

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1. Base Layer

Wicks moisture away from the skin

The base layer, or first layer, is there to transport moisture away from your skin, keeping you dry and warm. Wool and its synthetic alternatives are the way to go here. Cotton is a no-no when it comes to base layers and underwear. The no-cotton rule also applies to underwear, socks and bras.
Closeup of product sleeve stitching

2. Middle layer

Absorbs moisture and provides insulation

The purpose of the middle layer is to absorb moisture from the base layer and provide insulation. If it’s really cold, or you’re not moving about very much, two middle layers or a thicker layer is needed. Again, wool or synthetics are best here, and it is a good idea to have zippers or other openings that can be opened to release excess heat.
Closeup of jacket zipper

3. Outer layer

Protects against wind, rain and wear

This layer should be highly adjustable with zippers and vents to help you control heat and minimise sweating. Its purpose is to resist wind and water as well as keeping the cold out and the warmth from the inner layers in. It also integrates with other layers by releasing moisture. It should protect sensitive areas like your head, throat, wrists, waist and ankles.
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4. Reinforcement Layer

Gives added protection when being still

The reinforcement layer is for those times when you’re less active, specifically in the mornings and evenings when you’re not on the sled. This layer should be large enough to pull over your clothes but should squash down into your pack, ready for you to pull out when you need it. Down garments are ideal here.
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