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Clothing is a form of shelter.

Clothing is needed for protection from the elements and protection for the body.

The most important areas to keep warm are the hands, feet, and especially the head.

The hands and feet are the parts of the body that get cold the quickest, but most warmth from the body is lost from the head.

A good hat is a very important aspect of keeping warm.

When dealing with cold and wet weather, wearing two or more layers of clothing is the most effective method for keeping warm. Layers of clothing trap what is known as "dead air" between them.

Dead air is air that is not moving, and as such, able to remain heated by the body. Using multiple layers as opposed to one heavy garment traps more of this dead air and keeps one warmer.

Another benefit of wearing layered clothing is the ability to take them on or off according to changes in temperature.

These guidelines are for optimum outdoor warmth and water resistance.

The first layer of clothing, the one touching the skin, is very important and needs to have certain properties. One of the properties is known as "wicking".

Wicking is the ability of a material to pull moisture away from the body just as a candle wick pulls melted wax to the flame as it burns. A cloth with wicking properties will keep one dryer, warmer, and feeling more comfortable. Common materials with good wicking capability are wool and various synthetics such as polyester.

The second layer of clothing needs to keep you warm. Wool is a very good choice for this as it is quite warm and it retains warmth even when wet. There are also a wide variety of synthetic materials that retain their warmth when wet.

Cotton is a comfortable material but cotton completely loses its warmth when wet.


The outer layer of clothing, the third layer, works best with water resistant qualities. Synthetic materials such as nylon are good at repelling water and keeping the other layers dry. The main drawback of wearing a plastic outer layer is that it is typically noisy during movement.

If you find yourself in a cold situation without anything warm to wear, you can make your own layers by stuffing anything insulating into your clothes. Dry leaves in the woods can trap heat very well and keep you very warm. Try sleeping in a leaf pile sometime!

Another good emergency insulator is crumpled paper. Just stuff balls of paper into your clothing.

Having needles, thread, and patching materials handy is vital to keeping your clothes in good shape.

It is also important to keep your clothing clean. My favorite soap is Dr. Bronner's

Having a decent pair of boots is also very important. Boots can be fairly expensive but they are worth it. Be sure to try and get a pair that is waterproof and durable.

My favorite boots are made by Danner.

Authored by Andrew Vavrek

You are free to copy, distribute, and alter this information as long as you allow everyone else to do the same.

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