Connected To The Land 04-2018-Fall-718-PM96 - Page 23

WHAT KEEPS YOU WARM THINGS SURE HAVE CHANGED SINCE DOWN JACKETS I n a country known as the Great White North, where temperatures can drop to freezing about two-thirds of the year, we should know more than a little about how to stay warm in winter. Much of what we wear in the cold mimics the centuries-old layering style of Inuit Winter clothing styles. Inuit also used grasses to absorb the body’s moisture, for example in footwear. “Layering has become more of a system, more formalized,” in recent years, notes Cheryl Smith, Director of Merchandising for Canadian clothing icon Stanfield’s. While the Inuit often used two layers of clothing, today’s winter warrior may don three layers – often a close-fitting inner layer, a bulkier mid layer to allow air circulation, and a windproof or waterproof outer layer. Fall 2018 Story by Alan Flowers. So, what kind of materials should you choose for your layers? You may think of cotton as the ideal material, for your inner winter clothing layer, but it is not, at least for most of us. Cotton will absorb moisture from your body – sweat from the exercise of getting through a snow drift. Wetness next to your skin is not only uncomfortable, but will make you cold. This is why ‘wicking’ is the buzzword for any clothing. Wicking, or whisking away, is the term used to describe how moisture passes through material. A material that wicks effectively will leave you feeling dry. Thermal underwear offered tech fabrics long ago, says Cheryl Smith, incorporating some poly materials for durability. A small percentage of spandex or a similar stretchy material may be added to the weave, not only to provide stretching flexibility, but also to keep the layer fitted to the body, so the ‘wicking’ materials can do their intended job. Fleece has become a popular material over the past generation. Made from polyester which is derived from plastic, even a plastic beverage bottle, fleece is lightweight and has a superior ability to withstand moisture. Engineers named it after the ’fleece’ coat on a sheep, and mimicked the fibre profile of wool, ensuring space between the threads to create air pockets and keep the user warm. As well, fleece has a pile surface like a carpet of cut fibres, providing more space for air amongst the pile, and more warmth. It can wick away moisture well, and is an ideal inner layer for many. 23