To understand cold weather layering for outdoor work, you need to know how each layer works to keep you warm.
Layer 1) Dry Layer: Moisture Management
The next-to-skin layer’s job is to move moisture away from the skin. In cold conditions, staying dry is essential to staying warm. Choose shirts and pants made with fabrics that wick moisture away from the skin and allow moisture to evaporate.
Layer 2) Thermal Layer: Insulation
The middle, insulating layer helps you retain the heat produced by your body, traps warm air close to your body, and keeps it warm.
Layer 3) Shielding Layer: Precipitation and Wind Protection
The shielding, outermost layer, (or shell layer) protects you from wind, rain, and snow. Choose flame-resistant outerwear made with fabric that traps heat, blocks wind, allows perspiration to escape, and is treated with a durable water repellent (DWR) finish to make water bead up and roll off the fabric. It is important that your outer shell does not allow wind and water to penetrate to inner layers where they will cause heat loss. Wind that gets past your outer layer will cool the warm air insulating the body and wet inner layers will cause body temperature to drop.
FR Insulated Outerwear & Accessories
Choosing Layers for Safety & Functionality
Be sure to select FR outerwear that is designed to meet or exceed all relevant safety standards, such as NFPA 2112 and NFPA 70E.
Select garments that offer the appropriate level of warmth. Some FR outerwear comes with a temperature rating, or CLO, to help you choose the best winter wear for your work environment.
Ease of movement
Ease of movement is vital to comfort and job performance. For example, garments designed with bi-swing backs support a wide range of motion. FR outerwear should provide adequate warmth and insulation without being overly stiff or bulky.
Attention to detail in the design of winter garments can make a big difference in comfort & performance. Features such as water-resistant finishes, adjustable cuffs, detachable hoods, elastic or adjustable waistbands and beyond can improve the ease of use & functionality of FR outerwear.
Wearing the correct garments for cold weather layering is much easier when you understand each layer's purpose and how it protects you from the cold.