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Air is a good insulator and it is a good basic principle to use clothing that will trap pockets of air.

Underwear. A woollen or string vest under a long woollen shirt and two medium-weight long-sleeved woollen jerseys will probably be found most satisfactory. Between the different layers of clothing, pockets of air will be trapped and so act as insulation from the cold outside.

Trousers. Ordinary or woollen trousers are quite adequate. Jeans are unsuitable as there is little warmth in them and when wet, have the disadvantage of taking an extremely long time to dry out. Many people wear shorts but trousers or breeches are preferable. If shorts are worn, you should also carry a spare pair of light over-trousers. Trousers give much better protection if the weather turns bad or if you are out after dark. In bad weather conditions, waterproof over-trousers worn over the other pair give excellent protection. Eventually you may wish to buy specially made climbing breeches but these are not essential. Snow gaiters are a useful addition in either Summer of Winter while walking in snow is involved. Zip up gaiters are the easiest to put on and take off.

Windproof. This is an essential piece of equipment to keep out the wind and prevent it from removing the pockets of stale warm air and continuously replacing them with cold air that drains away heat energy. It should have a hood, a large zipped map pocket, good long sleeves and be long enough in the body to sit on. In wet/ cold climate which you may encounter on mountains, the material should be windproof and as water-proof as possible. Remember that plastic material in particular have little friction in the event of a slip on steep wet grass or on snow.

Gloves. Gloves with only one compartment for the four fingers may be found warmer than the ordinary kind. They should also have long wrists. Windproof outer mittens are essential in winter conditions.

Headgear. Warm headgear is essential in winter and can be either the traditional woollen Balaclava or a simple woollen cap worn with a scarf to keep the neck and ears warm.

Spare emergency clothing. Most people with a will to live will be able to survive an unexpected night out in winter if they have with them the following spares: a pair of woollen gloves, a pair of woollen socks, a woollen jersey, a pair of windproof light trousers of and a polythene bag or ground-sheet. This is the bare minimum and for mountaineering in snow or bad weather conditions it is worthwhile precaution to take a sleeping bag and/ or down jacket.


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Published on: 2005-05-10 (1879 reads)

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