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The key to staying warm, when the body is generating heat as in working or walking outside is to layer enough lighter clothing (and in the wind and/or rain) to cover the layered clothing with a shell that stops the wind and rain. The following are a few specific thoughts that relate.

  1. The inner layer (underwear) should be of the kind that will "wick" perspiration to the next layer. Normal cotton "long johns" are not a good choice as they retain moisture. I know that EMS carries a very good line of wicking underwear that is light weight and very effective; it is expensive, but well worth obtaining at least a couple of sets. If your underwear is wet from sweat, you'll be cold!
  2. Layers should be such that they will not retain moisture. That means that cotton is out! and wool and some other synthetics are in.
  3. Obviously, as one heats up by working and cools down by resting, the inner layers are adjusted (taken off and put back on) to maintain a comfort zone.
  4. 4. I choose layers that are different sizes. Each layer should be at least 1/2 size larger than the previous, with the outer layers a whole size apart. (That's how I do it and find to be most effective). A good choice for inner layers are light weight sweaters of an open weave. They insulate very well by providing "dead air spaces" and minimize the overall weight you are carrying - important in working or hiking.
  5. Generally, when I plan for cloths that will be used for layering, I choose sizes and material (thickness) based upon my current cloths size. It occurs to me that most of us will be loosing weight, both because of an increased exercise level and a change in diet. Therefore, it may be worth considering planning for clothing that would be too small for us now. A perfect reason for digging in the closet or attic for those old cloths, and for looking at used cloths at yard sells and such. That way, the cloths are inexpensive, can have a few stains and repairable rips etc., and cost very little.
  6. A very good source for inexpensive wool clothing is men's suites. That is what I use exclusively for layered pants.
  7. I've found that, for me, the main problem with layered pants is how to keep then up! I've solved that quite well by using individual suspenders for the outer layers; but the best has been to purchase the wide (2 to 3 inch) suspenders made for holding the weight of a carpenters tool belt (look in the tools section). It will hold them all up at an even height and I don't get all entangled in them like I sometimes do when using multiple "normal" suspenders. And it's much easier to remove and replace layers using the single "heavy duty" one. The clips that attach to the pants open quite wide and the clip is very wide. The straps also being quite wide make carrying the weight of the pants on the shoulders much less tiresome.
  8. With the exception of the underwear, I do/plan to rely exclusively on wool. Not only for the reasons stated above, but because my personal experience indicates so. Wool will not retain moisture, you can douse it with a hose and within a half hour or less, it may be damp but it will have regained almost all of it's insulating ability. If treated properly (washed and dried correctly) the original clothing will last for years before requiring replacement. In addition, it is something that can be easily fabricated (spun and woven; and other techniques like crochet), using well known and proven techniques. In my opinion, it's only drawback is that it is heavy, even when bone dry. Somehow, I expect that we will be healthier and stronger before long, so don't really consider that much of a problem. It is also perfectly adequate for face and head protection; although for really cold places we need to work on the head area as 80% of body heat is lost through the head.
  9. The last area is the most outer shell. When necessary, like snow mobiling, I use a kayaking "dry suit". It is made of a synthetic material that is impervious to wind and water; and is expensive and rather fragile, can be torn or "poked" rather easily, and is very expensive. I don't have any ideas for this for the times after the initial "cache" is too worn to be effective. If there are wild animals, leather can be easily produced and will serve quite well. If we can somehow support the growing of sheep for wool, perhaps leather can be made from their skin as they die for whatever reason. In the short term, the outer shell could be any of the items mentioned by others.
  10. I guess my last comment/opinion is what not to plan for. It can be summed up as non-layered one piece garments, such as ski suites, quilted one piece outfits and single parka type coats. None of these allow for the necessary ability to adjust body heat as one works outside and as conditions vary. Neither do they allow the wearer to remove one or more layers to be removed and allowed to dry the moisture that has built up from strenuous activity.
  11. One last thought. We also need to consider how/if we are are going to heat our shelters. If we are planning on hydroponics and even fish ponds, there is no option. Neither can be allowed to freeze or even get very cool. As for the people, the concept of layering of clothing applies just as much as when outside. It becomes much simpler if we are planning to grow food because we will be keeping the temperature at a level that the special underwear won't be needed; maybe some other material could be used for underwear inside, as not many folks can tolerate wool directly on the skin, especially the more sensitive parts of the body. We need to consider allergies that some folks have to some of these materials.

Offered by Ron.