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Keeping Warm in the Great Outdoors

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Each Layer Has a Function

Maximizing your comfort in the outdoors is all about layering correctly. If you get this simple concept right, you will be able to make quick adjustments based on your activity level and changes in the weather.

By adding and subtracting layers, managing warmth is much easier. The base layer should be closest to your skin and it manages moisture; the middle layer is insulating for warmth and protects you from the cold; and the outer shell shields you from wind, snow and rain.

Base layer

The base layer is your next-to-skin layer. Its function is moisture management to help you feel dry and comfortable. It is particularly important in cold conditions that the fabric should wick perspiration away from your skin so you feel cosy, rather than cold and clammy. The base layer regulates body temperature in cold conditions. A snug-fitting base layer will trap body heat in and keep you warm, while in warmer conditions a loose-fitting base layer will allow air to freely circulate and keep you cool.

The best performing base layers for outdoor adventures are generally made from merino wool or synthetic.

Polypropylene (synthetics) trap heat in but allow moisture to escape out. They offer an excellent warmth to weight ratio, are breathable, incredibly fast drying and are generally more robust and do not require special care when washing.

Merino wool is more expensive and takes longer to dry. Some people occasionally report it can make them itchy but wool will keep you smelling fresher due to its antibacterial properties. Caution should be taken when washing these items according to the garments care instructions.

Mid layer

Fabrics like wool and fleece are great for trapping body heat in their fibres and have an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio which makes them perfect for mid-layer garments. They also have the added bonus of being highly breathable and moisture-wicking (again, moving moisture away from your base layer).

Outer layer

The outer layer is generally a lightweight jacket that provides excellent protection from wind, rain and snow. The best outer-shell options are made from durable, waterproof and windproof fabrics.

If you’re heading out on a winter adventure check out the Scout Shop's base layer thermals for $22.95 for children, and $29.95 for adults. South Australian customers can also check out the range of thermals at the Scout Outdoor Centre.