Action Line: Dressing smart for cold weather
BY PHIL MULKINS World Action Line Editor
Monday, January 21, 2013
1/21/13 at 2:43 AM
"Dress for the cold," is good advice this time of year but not many people can tell you exactly how that's done. The Emergency Medical Services Authority website says if you can't stay indoors where it's warm to "dress in three layers."
Essential cold-weather gear for everyone includes: a knit hat or insulated cap with ear flaps; a scarf or knit mask to cover the face and mouth, sleeves that are snug at the wrists, mittens (so you can keep your fingers together for shared warmth), a water-resistant coat and shoes and several layers of loose-fitting clothing.
The perfect winter outfit starts with a "balaclava," a Crimean word meaning "tight-weave, knit cap for head, face and neck leaving only the eyes and nose exposed."
Academy Sports & Outdoors has them for $20 to $30. They are usually worn as part of a ski outfit with polyurethane goggles to protect the eyes from stinging wind and flying ice crystals.
Layering is essential as it enables you to peel off outer layers when you start to overheat. The layers include the coat, the outer layer (or "insulating layer") and the "base layer," the one touching your body.
The base layer's job is to hold more body heat than cotton and to "wick moisture away from the body," rather than holding it next to the skin. Synthetic fibers such as polypropylene are most commonly used for base layers but wool and silk are also used as they can both wick moisture and hold heat.
Stay dry. When your clothing gets wet, it chills your body rapidly. Excess perspiration increases heat loss, so remove clothing layer by layer whenever you feel too warm and before your perspiration has soaked your innermost garments.
The insulating layer should be tightly woven, preferably wind resistant, to reduce body heat loss to wind. Typical fibers used for this include wool, silk, goose down, fleece, artificial fleece, cashmere and angora.
"The coat." You can buy a great big, heavily insulated coat that tries to be all three layers but this defeats the layering approach. Burlington Coat Factory has a $70 Famous Maker "multi-pocket coat" with "shell, lining and fill of 100 percent polyester - wind and water resistant, that maintains body heat, is machine washable, has two cargo pockets on the chest, two cargo pockets at the waist and a hidden bungee draw-cord at the waist."
The coat's purpose is protecting the insulating and base layers from the elements but it should be "moisture resistant" not "waterproof." It must breathe enough to let perspiration moisture out.
Academy Sports & Outdoors has lots of outer (insulation) and inner (base) layer clothing. The Columbia Sportswear Omni-wick fabric, four-way stretch, 86 percent polyester and 14 percent Elastane men's base layer, long-sleeve tops for $55. It wicks moisture away for dry comfort and its "antimicrobial fabric technology resists odors."
Original Print Headline: Dressing smart for cold weather
Phil Mulkins 918-699-8888
Tulsa Community College employee Ildelisa Recinos of Tulsa walks to work downtown. Essential cold-weather gear includes a hat, a scarf and a water-resistant coat. CHRISTOPHER SMITH / Tulsa World file