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    The right clothes for the winter adventure

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    The right clothes for the winter adventure

    In the first part of the Series of articles about outdoor winter we have laid the foundations for an adventure in snow and ice. Topics were discussed that are important for planning such a tour. In the second part, proven tips and tricks for the right clothing in the cold are presented to make you winter-proof for tours.

    Set for cold from head to toe

    The basis of a clothing concept for the winter is on the one hand the well-known onion principle, On the other hand also plays the tour for the choice of the right and functional outdoor clothing a big role. First of all, you should know what kind of weather, rainfall and temperatures are to be expected in order to react quickly and efficiently to changes. 

    In the following I assume a standard scenario: a long snowshoe hike in the snow-covered mountains with temperatures between -10 and 0 degrees Celsius - possibly with an overnight stay in the bivouac or in the winter room of a hut.

    The head

    The most heat is lost over the head, that is a general wisdom. Whether this is actually so, can be questioned, nevertheless, a suitable head protection for the heat retention is important. Because no matter how much heat is actually lost over the head, with a cap or even a balaclava, it is of course much more pleasant in the cold than with cold ears. The cap should therefore be good enough in any case over the ears and above all - if necessary - also fit under a helmet. Wind repellent materials are of course also in a cap of advantage. Also a tubular cloth - such as a BUFF - worn around the neck, protects sensitive areas of skin on the neck and neck. When the nose gets cold, you can pull the cloth up a bit to cover your mouth and nose. 

    The unprotected face is best protected by high-fat cream such as one Wind and weather creams for babies, Long distance swimmers lubricate the entire body with such a fatty cream. It ensures that a protective layer is built up between the skin and its surroundings. Fat is a bad conductor of heat, therefore should be contained in the cream little to no water and, so to speak, really only fat is applied.

    The hull

    In my opinion, the hull is the most important part of the body, which should be kept warm in winter. If the trunk, and therefore the internal organs, are protected from the cold, it becomes a natural, physiological protective mechanism counteracted.

    Namely, as soon as the vital organs are affected by severe cooling (ie when the body core temperature begins to decline), the blood flow into the extremities is regulated down to be able to use more blood and energy to maintain the basic life function. On "dispensable" extremities such as fingers, toes, arms and legs, the body then takes no more consideration, after all, you can survive well without toes.

    The best protection against cold feet and hands, or even frostbite, is therefore a functional and warm layering system made up of different layers of clothing adapted to each other Onion principle.

    The underwear (in technical jargon Base layer or "next-to-skin") should be the first humidity derive to the next layer and be more or less warming as needed. For this to work well, it should be tight fitting and, in fact, mostly in contact with the skin.

    Baselayer made of synthetics have the advantage that they can not store moisture in their fibers. So you are just recommended for high-pulse sports or for people who sweat fast or a lot. The disadvantage of such a synthetic fiber, despite all the technical innovations such as the treatment of the substance with silver salts or similar techniques, that the shirt begins to smell very strict within a very short time. The fabric acts like a filter: the water is transported through the material, the dissolved parts, salts and bacteria but stay stuck in the fabric. This, in combination with heat and moisture, provides the bacteria with an excellent breeding ground and then produces unpleasant odors relatively quickly.

    Less odor-intensive are natural fibers such as Wool. Merino wool in particular works very well, as the fibers of the wool have an extremely thin cross-section, are particularly soft and so do not itch the skin either. The wool fibers retain some moisture, so they can feel damp and damp, but still warm. For that smell natural fibers due to a natural protective layer of wool fat not so fast. This wool grease is also washed out relatively quickly, so you should rarely wash Merino and air rather good.

    Absolutely taboo, on the other hand cotton, It sucks fully and does not pass the moisture on, so acts like a dam. In addition, the fibers collapse, the surface texture becomes smoother and the moist fiber clings to the skin. The contained moisture cools down the body further and further because water is a very good conductor of heat.

    to isolation Depending on the sensation of coldness, from fleece to power stretch to thin synthetic or down jacket, everything can be used. It is important, above all, that the moisture from the base layer can be transported to the outside via the insulation layer. In this second layer, the midlayer, you have the most leeway, which is what you need insulation performance As. Proven on multi-day tours, a thin Powerstretch or Grid fleece and a thicker synthetic fiber insulation to take along. This should be prepared for most temperature fluctuations and can adjust the insulation. Just put on the fleece when you go out, or you can pull the synthetic fiber insulation over during breaks or in the cold.

    Down is very comfortable to wear, weighs less and feels warmer and fluffier, but has one major drawback: down feather is sensitive to moisture. When you sweat into the down jacket, it hardly gives up the absorbed moisture or does not pass it on to the next layer and the insulation performance drops more and more.

    The ones advertised as "warm when wet" Synthetic fiber materials When they are wet, they still lose their insulation performance and still feel disgusting when wet, and in spite of everything, they also cause them to cool down. Only if you pay close attention to the fact that the insulation layer remains as dry as possible, you can avoid chilling as much as possible.

    The outer shell layer is mainly intended to keep out wind and weather. In winter, the high-tech membranes generally work pretty well anyway, so a cheap one is enough hardshell completely out. If it is well below 0 degrees, then soft Shells to recommend: these breathe significantly better than hardshells, are more comfortable and sufficiently keep the dew from the outside. The important thing is that they have one as possible smooth surface so that the snow does not stick.

    The legs

    Very well proven with me long underpants or tights made of either Merino or Powerstretch when it gets really cold. I mostly wear softshell pants that keep the wind out. The Hardshell is used more for ice climbing or more extreme winter tours. For example, if there is no way to dry my clothes again, I will use synthetic fiber and hardshell completely. Otherwise, legs are right easy to clean and insensitive to cold, The old scouts already knew that, after all, they spent half the winter in short shorts plodding through the pampas.

    Hand and foot

    The hands are best packed in Mittensthat should be water repellent or even tight. Mittens have two advantages: a smaller surface area, less contact surface and the fingers can warm each other. As an extra layer of insulation you should have a removable inner glove, which can also dry quickly. But thin underwear gloves, for example made of silk or synthetic fiber, also fulfill this purpose. If you prefer finger gloves, you should definitely pay attention to good fit: as soon as they are too tight, the blood circulation is disturbed, resulting in cold fingers.

    Both feet The ghosts argue, but I prefer well-fitting ones Schur socks, possibly with a so-called liner underneath. Many generations of miners used these, and at the moment natural fibers also seem to be back in fashion. Virgin wool, like merino wool, has the advantage of barely and very late accepting odors. The heat output is very good, a good fit, so neither too far nor too narrow, provided.

    ImportantWhen wool is really wet, it gets hard to dry again, so always carry a pair of spare socks (and gloves) in a waterproof pack.

    General and tips

    The most important principle: Water is a very good conductor of heat. Therefore, you should pay attention on the way not to get wet. Wet protection from the outside takes over the shell layer, from the inside (as a sweat) takes over the coordinated stratification of clothing.

    When walking or moving you should make sure that you do not get into a sweat too much by taking off the warm insulating layer. A light baselayer, a thin fleece and a breathable jacket should "capture" and retain enough body heat to prevent freezing.

    The luggage for a winter tour is significantly heavier, because you need much thicker, thus heavier and voluminous clothing and equipment, and also because sufficiently waterproof packaged spare clothes (at least shirt, socks, gloves) must be taken. If the clothes get wet, drying is quite time consuming - rather impossible.

    In addition, the calorie requirement is significantly increased in the winter, you use more fuel because you may be forced to melt snow. One should pay attention to the amount of drink, especially in the cold. The feeling of thirst changes, it can not hurt to set a drinking alarm.

    These are all factors that lead to a heavier backpack. If you are on the way with snowshoes or skis, you should plan for about six kilograms of backpack (multi) weight when choosing snowshoes.

    This article is part 1 of the series Outdoor winter:

    More on the subject: Clothing: the optimized onion principle // winter bivouac // Daypack in winter // Shopping guide for winter gear

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