Finding warm clothes to wear outside during the winter doesn’t seem like such a hard task. Just throw on the heaviest coat you can find, right? There’s a little more to it than that. In addition to picking the right kinds of pieces, you need to pick winter clothes made of the right material. In this guide, we’ve put together a list of the best materials to keep you warm during winter activity. Read on to learn more about each, as well as some tips on how to properly dress for the outdoors in winter weather.
Best Fabrics To Wear in Winter
One of the most popular natural materials for winter clothing, wool will keep you warm in the coldest of weather. There’s a reason so many sweaters are made of wool—it’s both toasty and comfortable. For winter activewear, wool is a great choice. Merino wool is especially popular, as it’s very warm and softer than other types of wool. It also wicks sweat and is particularly resistant to wear and odor, making it a good long-term option.
Silk is another natural material that can help you stay warm in the cold. It’s best for use as a base layer rather than an outer one, as it wicks moisture and helps you to retain heat. It’s smooth and comfortable, but on the downside, it can be a bit more expensive than other material options.
If you have a puffy winter coat or a fluffy comforter on your bed, it’s likely that it’s filled with down. Down is a natural material—the down, or feathers, of ducks and geese. The more down that’s stuffed in your coat, the warmer it will be. Typically, a down coat will have a waterproof outer layer into which the insulation is placed. Like silk, down winter clothing can be on the pricier side, as it’s a natural material.
Polyester is a synthetic material made mainly from woven plastic. It’s commonly used for base layers since it provides such good insulation. Polyester clothing also repels water and keeps out the wind, so it’s great as an outer layer as well. In addition to wicking moisture, polyester clothing dries quickly, which is an especially important quality to have in winter gear. The material is also used to make fleece, a warm, soft, synthetic material that is designed to imitate wool. Polyester isn’t quite as odor-resistant as natural materials like wool, but it is usually less expensive and more durable. Our Micro-Elite Chamois is made of a polyester-spandex blend and will keep you warm and comfortable on your chilliest active days.
Though nylon is not a particularly absorbent or warm material, it does wonders at keeping you dry. This synthetic material was designed to imitate silk, and it’s quite durable and perfect for use in both rain or snow. Wear nylon as your outer layer, and you’re guaranteed to stay dry.
Polypropylene is a durable, hydrophobic material that is good for intense physical activity due to its excellent moisture-wicking abilities. It’s not terribly warm, but if you’ll be sweating a lot during your winter activity, a polypropylene base layer might be right for you. One thing to note is that it is not resistant to heat, so you’ll need to be careful around fire or when drying gear made of this material.
Gore-Tex is a waterproof, windproof material made of expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE). This material is very strong, yet warm and breathable. It’s commonly used as an outer layer for winter coats or snow pants because of its ability to keep you dry in the wettest of weather. Gore-Tex can also be used in footwear like winter boots—if you’re tramping through the snow in boots that aren’t waterproof, your feet will undoubtedly become wet and cold quite quickly, so durable, waterproof material is important.
Many base layers and other winter clothes are actually a blend of natural and synthetic materials or several types of synthetic material. Synthetic blends are good choices for winter gear, as they combine the best of both worlds. For example, a blend of merino wool and polyester will be soft, warm, durable, moisture-wicking, and resistant to odors, whereas pure wool or polyester might just have a few of these features. Blends of material also give you the benefits of natural materials without the higher price tag.
Tips for Dressing Warmly in Winter
Now that you know which are the best materials to keep you warm during winter activity, let’s talk about the most effective way to wear this gear. Below are a few tips for dressing warmly in winter.
This is the golden rule of dressing for winter weather: always wear layers! Layering your winter clothing will help you to stay warm and dry, whether you’re out for a hike in the snow or sailing down the ski slopes. Start with a moisture-wicking, insulating base layer, then add a warm mid-layer for extra insulation. Finally, choose a warm, waterproof, windproof outer layer to keep out the chill. If you get too hot during the day, you can simply remove one layer and put it back on when you need it again.
Get the Proper Fit
Finding the proper fit for your winter clothing will also help you to stay comfortable during winter activities. Fit is especially important to consider for base layers. Choose a base layer that fits snuggly but isn’t so tight that it’s constricting. You’ll also want to make sure the material you choose is comfortable against your skin—your clothing shouldn’t be scratchy or have seams in uncomfortable places.
Avoid Getting Wet
When you’re outside in the cold, getting wet leads to the downfall of your warmth. That’s why it’s so essential to choose base layers that wick moisture and outer layers that repel external water. Try to avoid getting wet unnecessarily while outdoors in winter. If you begin to feel too hot, take off one of your layers right away to cool off—better to eliminate that sweat before it begins than to be soaked in it later.
Choose the Right Accessories
It’s easy to get so caught up in layering that you completely forget about one of the most important parts of winter gear—your accessories. Choose hats, gloves, socks, and other winter accessories made of one of the above materials to keep you warm and dry.
If you choose the right materials for your winter activewear and follow these tips for dressing warmly, your clothing will protect you from the elements no matter the temperature. Hot Chillys specializes in creating warm, comfortable, and durable winter clothing and accessories for men, women, and children alike. Shop our collection to prepare yourself for the next winter season.