Layering for warmth

One of my readers here asked me to talk a little about layering. The idea behind layering for warmth is to trap dead air between your body and the outside world. This provides insulation and keeps you warm.

Layering your clothing also gives you a better ability to regulate your comfort. If all you have is a flannel shirt and a heavy parka, you won’t have a lot of “middle ground.” The parka might cause you to get overheated if you’re working outside, but removing it exposes you to dangerous cold, especially if you’ve been sweating as you work.

Where I live and work, winter temps of well below zero are the norm. Seeing wind chills of -20 or more aren’t all that uncommon. Here’s what I typically wear during those cold snaps.

–Long johns
–Cargo pants
–Flannel shirt
–Thick socks
–Hooded, fleece lined sweatshirt
–Knit hat
–Thick coat/parka

If it gets really frigid, I’ll replace the knit hat with a fleece balaclava. Then, while I’m working outside and start to get too warm, I’ll remove the coat. The hat might come off as well, depending on the weather. These different layers keep me much warmer than would just a pair of snow pants and a parka.

Incidentally, this principle works just as well with your home. If you have drafty windows like I do, but can’t afford to replace them like I can’t, first cover them with plastic. You know, those little packages you can buy at hardware stores where you put double sided tape along the window frame, then use a hair dryer to shrink the plastic once it is applied. During the day, leave the curtains open to allow sunlight in, which will not only help warm the room but it warms that dead air between the glass window and the plastic sheet. When applied properly, these do work pretty well.

You might also crawl up into your attic and check the insulation. If critters get into your attic from time to time, you might find out they’ve moved the insulation around, leaving large gaps. You want the insulation to cover all of the attic floor for best results.

Do what you can now to be prepared for the winter chill. I’ve been saying for a while now that I think it is going to be a brutal season this year.

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Jim Cobb

Jim Cobb has been a student of survivalism and emergency preparedness for almost thirty years. As a young child, he drove his parents nuts with stockpiling supplies in the basement every time he heard there was a tornado watch in his area. Of course, being a child, those supplies consisted of his teddy bear, a few blankets and pillows, and random canned goods he grabbed from the kitchen cabinets. Later, he was the first (and likely only) child in his fifth grade class to have bought his very own copy of Life After Doomsday by Bruce Clayton. Today, he is a freelance writer whose work has been published in national magazines such as Boy’s Life and Complete Survivalist Magazine. He is a voracious reader with a keen interest in all stories with post-apocalyptic settings. He maintains the Library at the End of the World blog and is also the Content Director for He currently resides in a fortified bunker in the upper Midwest, accompanied by his lovely wife and their three adolescent Weapons of Mass Destruction. Jim's first book, Prepper's Home Defense, was published late 2012 and his second book, tentatively titled The Prepper's Complete Guide to Disaster Readiness, will be out in mid-2013, both coming from Ulysses Press.

One thought on “Layering for warmth”

  1. For some reason most people I talk to think bad times are ahead I just go with be prepared for the worst and maybe it won’t bother you so much.

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