Dressing for Cold Weather
Layers of synthetic materials are best for any cold weather activity.
Cotton is NOT a good material to wear outdoors in winter. Cotton gets wet and stays wet and can put you in danger of hypothermia.
Polypropylene long underwear and tops are best in layers. These fabrics come in a variety of brand names such as ‘Polypro’ and ‘Thermax,’ but there are many others. This material wicks moisture away from your body. It is best to wear several thin layers rather than one thick layer.
Take along a backpack where you keep extra cold weather clothing such as the synthetics or a down jacket, extra gloves, hats, vests, pants for times when you are not moving. You can easily peel these off and put them in your backpack when you start exercising.
Wool sweaters are ok because they keep you warm even when you are wet. Wool or polypro socks and hats are good.
Local salespeople in outdoor gear shops are usually very knowledgeable about safe winter clothing.
When it’s raining, have a good rain jacket. Gore-Tex is a brand of breathable rain gear and is very good, but is expensive. There are other brands that are less expensive, but some may be less effective in the rain.
Hats are essential as are gloves. A great deal of heat is lost out of the top of your head, so always wear a hat. Again, polypro, fleece or wool are good choices.
The new fleece tops, gloves, tights, vests, pants, and tights are good for outdoor activities in winter.
When skiing, wear synthetic tights made for skiing that fit close to the body. That way, the moisture is wicked away from you. Loose fitting pants are not a good idea when exercising.
As for outfitting yourself and your children with ski gear-try the ski swaps. There are several ski swaps in our area including Spokane ski swap at the Fairgrounds in Spokane, The Coeur d’Alene Ski Swap at the Fairgrounds in Coeur d’Alene and Fitness Fanatics Ski Swap at Fitness Fanatics in Spokane. You can get clothing as well as skies, boots and goggles. You can outfit a child for cross-country skiing very economically at the swaps.
Be sure, however, that you buy your child layered synthetic clothing and that you buy good synthetic or wool hats and gloves for your child. Layers are better, again, because the child can peel off a layer if he/she gets too hot and therefore avoid sweating and getting his clothing wet.
Children’s long synthetic underwear may be hard to find, but the ski shops or REI do carry these items.
If you want to buy new items, our local stores have a good selection of outdoor gear and the sales people are very knowledgeable about safe outdoor clothing for the winters of Idaho.
Please do NOT send your children out wearing cotton while engaging in outdoor activities.