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Singaporeans love to travel. After all, life can get pretty stressful at times in our buzzling metropolis, and what better way to wind down than a year-end getaway to somewhere far, far away. And as far as destinations go, any country currently experiencing a chilly weather remains a hot pick for the wanderlusting soul. Indeed, the snowy season of giving can be rather alluring to the average Singapore resident who spends the vast majority of his/her time in a sunny, tropical climate.
But herein lies the issue: After a lifetime of wearing t-shirts and shorts, how does one actually go about procuring the correct winterwear? It may look simple at first glance, and you might be thinking, “how hard is it to throw on a jacket?” But in reality, there are quite a few considerations to take into account when it comes to picking the right winter clothing for yourself. In fact, you could say that there are ‘layers’ to the preparations…Puns aside, we cannot stress enough on just how important the layering is. Layering refers to a systematic way of putting on different layers of clothing to provide the necessary dryness, insulation and water/wind resistance.
There are typically 3 layers to consider:
When it comes to cold climates, remember that Keeping WARM= Keeping DRY. Generally, a light to mid-weight base layer will do great in wicking (absorbing perspiration) away from the body. A great example of a lightweight base layer for upper and lower body is Patagonia's Capilene Thermal Weight Crew Forge. These are guaranteed to keep you warm and dry, has good stretchability and is comfortable to boot.
Tip: When choosing a base layer, try to avoid cotton ones as these do not do well in wicking perspiration away from the skin, and also takes way longer to dry as compared to synthetic/wool base layers.
The primary purpose of a mid layer is to provide insulation by retaining heat created by the body, and are usually worn between the base layer and the outer shell. For the upper body, Patagonia's R2 Jacket is our recommended mid layer, as it is exceptionally light, and provides great warmth with its Polartec® Thermal Fabric. It is also highly breathable, and has improved mobility and comfort thanks to the specialised design in its fitting.
For the lower body, a mid layer is generally not required. But if you feel like it, you can opt to put on an extra pair of base layer pants especially if you are more cold-sensitive, or traveling to areas with a temperature way below subzero.
The outer layer, or outer shell, is meant to provide resistance to water, snow and wind. For the upper body, we recommend Patagonia's Torrentshell Jackets. This series is made from recycled nylon ripstop that provides great water and wind resistance, and DWR (durable water repellent) zippers. They can also be very packable by self-stuffing into the handwarmer pocket!
For pants, a fantastic option to consider is the Voodoo Pants series by Outdoor Research. These feature top-notch water and wind resistance, and are also very durable and breathable.
Remember, picking the correct clothing is crucial to your safety when out and about on a very cold day. They will also determine whether you are going to have a soggy and miserable day, or a dry and comfortable one of enjoying yourself in the wintry outdoors.
Being properly dressed makes all the difference
And that concludes Part 1 of our Beginner's Guide to picking the right Winterwear! Stay tuned for Part 2 where we will be covering some of the other essential gear that you should consider for a trip to temperate or polar climates.