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Clothes for all weathers

At Woolpower in Östersund we have plenty of experience of the cold, of cold winters, and most of all, of how to dress to avoid getting cold. We’re very happy to share our knowledge of how the body functions when it gets cold, and how you can best keep yourself lovely and warm.

27 degrees is perfect

Human beings are tropical animals that have evolved over thousands of years to survive without clothes at a temperature of 27 °C.  That’s when our own heating system works best and our body can maintain a constant body temperature of 37 °C.

For the body to function, it needs energy in the form of food and water so that the heart can pump, the muscles can work and the brain can function. Most of the energy, about 70 per cent, is used for maintaining the body’s internal temperature.

Body heat is created by burning food – fat, carbohydrates and protein. Heat production happens mostly in the muscle tissue, and heat increases the more the muscles work, and the more muscles that do work. When we spend time in the cold, our body needs our help to maintain its body heat balance. We need to give it energy in the form of food and drink, keep moving and dress appropriately so we don’t start getting cold.

WHEN THE BODY GETS COLD

When your body gets cold it tries to create heat by shivering, i.e. involuntary muscle movement to create heat. The body can increase its own heat production by 4-5 times just by shivering. When you get cold, the blood flow out to your hands and feet decreases to prioritise heat for the heart, brain and other life-critical organs. That’s why you first feel the cold in your hands and feet, even if the rest of your body feels warm.

Sweat cools you down

Sweating is a natural reaction when the body gets too warm and the skin needs to cool down. Your skin cools through moisture – sweat – evaporating. This is perfect in a warm climate, but in the cold, when you’re wearing a lot of clothes, uncontrolled sweating can be devastating as moisture cools.

Between 0,5 to l litre of moisture evaporates from the skin daily. During strenuous activity evaporation can increase to several litres an hour. It’s worth knowing that Woolpower’s undergarments keep you warm even if they get damp. And, they don’t smell if you’ve been sweating.  

Clothes don’t keep you warm

Clothes help you retain the heat that you generate. So, think about how you dress, small details can make a huge difference when the weather is bitter and energy levels run low.

Woolpower’s multi-layered approach

Our Woolpower clothes help the human body to retain and support the heat it generates, and also remove the moisture and excess heat that the body doesn’t need.

One effective way to dress in a cold climate is to follow the multi-layering approach. It gives flexible and simple protection against the cold, wind and wet, while also making it easy for you to air out body moisture and lighten up your clothes if the body gets too warm.

Woolpower’s product range works as a system where you can combine and match the various clothing items freely; depending on the activity you plan to do. A thicker layer can be worn next to the skin, just as a base layer can be doubled up. The most important thing is that you have Woolpower next to your skin to insulate the heat you generate. A cotton garment inside your Woolpower undergarment will reduce the effect significantly and you will get cold. The multi-layering approach consists of four layers. Below you’ll see a suggestion for how you can dress to keep yourself really warm.

 Layer 1

Nearest your body you need a heat insulating and moisture wicking undergarment. It’s important to remove the body’s moisture away from the skin as water is 25 times more heat conductive than air is. A first layer made of synthetic fibres or wool is superior to cotton, which retains moisture and is ineffective at drying.

Woolpower LITE has all the qualities needed to keep you warm. But it can also be used during the summer as the garment also cools when it’s warm. LITE can also be worn as a base layer under our thicker layers. Ullfrotté Original 200 gram is a slightly warmer undergarment that can be worn next to your skin. It has the same functionality as Woolpower LITE but works better in colder conditions.

Layer 2

A middle layer of clothes that provides extra insulation and insulates body heat. If it’s cold, or if the activity level is low, a thicker layer is needed. The aim is to create a layer of air that insulates; the more air there is in the clothes the better the insulation. Woolpower’s thicker middle layer garments are made of Ullfrotté Original, 400-600 gram. The temperature and activity level determine how thick the middle layer needs to be.

Layer 3

A wind and water-repellent outer shell that protects against outside cooling and retains the heat generated between the layers. Modern shell garments let a small amount of moisture out through the material. During strenuous activity, the garment should allow for ventilation at the neck, cuffs or other openings. 

And maybe a layer 4

An extra layer to put on during breaks or when it’s time to make camp. Choose an insulating, windproof garment made of down or synthetic filling that’s easy to pull on over your shell layer.  Keep it easily accessible so that the all important break times don’t turn into a shivering adventure.

How to keep your feet warm

We all know what having cold feet feels like.  We try jumping up and down, wiggling our toes frantically or even kicking one foot against the other. But nothing works. Here are 12 tips for keeping your feet, your lifelong shock absorbers, comfortably warm and dry.

 

Put on a hat

To keep your feet warm, you have to consider your whole body.  When your body gets cold it prioritises getting heat to the heart, brain and other life-critical organs, and reduces the blood flow out to the hands and feet instead. That’s why you usually feel the cold first in your hands and feet, even if the rest of your body feels warm. And, a head without a hat works like a chimney, letting large portions of your body heat escape through it.

Stay dry

Keeping your feet dry is the most important thing for avoiding getting cold. A foot releases about 3 ml of moisture per hour at low activity levels, and between 15-30 ml during strenuous activity. Use moisture-wicking material in your socks, just like in our woollen socks. Wool absorbs moisture into its fibres really well, and can absorb up to 30 per cent of its own weight in moisture, without feeling damp. Wool even gives off a little heat when damp, something known as absorption heat.    

Double socks

Wearing layers also works on your feet, hands and head. Go for a thinner, well-fitting sock nearest your foot and a thicker sock over that, one that can absorb moisture from the foot and that traps the maximum amount of air. That’s how you avoid blisters on your feet too, as the friction occurs between the socks instead of against your skin.

Transport

Oftentimes, the problem of cold feet can be linked to poor ventilation. When moisture levels get too high, wool works actively to absorb the moisture from the foot and transport it away through the fabric, until moisture levels are equal on both sides. Socks containing too much cotton prevent the foot’s sweat from evaporating. So the foot gets moist and cold.

Rest your feet

Take your shoes off when you have a break so that the moisture inside the shoe can evaporate through the opening. It’s also nice to rest the soles of your feet if you’ve walked a long way during the day. Make sure you eat and drink to keep warm.

Dry your socks

Use your body heat to warm up and dry out damp socks. Put them inside your trousers (waistband) when you move around and your body heat will help dry them. Another tip is to pull damps socks over a warm water bottle, perfect for heating up your sleeping bag at night!

Care for your feet

It’s important to take care of your feet. Clean and dry feet help you to keep the blood flowing and manage the cold better. It also prevents you getting blisters. Don’t use water-based creams on your feet as the water in the cream can freeze at low temperatures and cause chilblains.

Get away from the ground

A cold surface can draw away much of the foot’s warmth. So, getting your feet as far as possible from the cold ground is really important. Make sure to have an insulating inner sole in your shoes, preferably Woolpower’s felt inner sole, and stand on a sitting pad, a bit of polystyrene or some branches so heat doesn’t get sucked away by a cold surface.

Plenty of space

If the blood flow to the feet is hindered for any reason your feet will quickly get cold. Make sure your shoes are big enough and don’t tighten your laces too hard – that can slow circulation to your feet. You need enough space to wiggle your toes.

Change your socks

Change your socks just before you step out into the cold so that they don’t get too damp from the heat indoors. Change your socks several times a day, preferably alternating between two pairs.  

Eat and drink for energy

The body needs energy to maintain the right heat balance, so don’t forget to eat and drink. It’s not primarily a warm drink you need to stay warm, rather food and drinks that are full of energy.

Wiggle your toes

When you move both your toes and your feet you stimulate the blood flow, increase the temperature and reduce the risk of local chilblains.