The Best Outdoor Clothing in the World!
As I often remind folks, the #1 killer in the great outdoors is not grizzly bear attacks, falling off cliffs, and all the dramatic scenarios that end up in movies and magazines. Rather, hypothermia is the elusive, silent predator that claims the lives of so many. It’s estimated that in the United States alone, an average of 1,300 people die each year from this condition. And, very importantly, it’s not strictly a cold weather danger. Hypothermia can set in and ultimately kill even when it’s as warm as 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Choosing and wearing the proper clothing is a very serious issue, and can truly be a matter of life and death.
A common saying in Alaska is, “Cotton kills!” While comfortable, cotton clothing is fine for traveling, doing light work, lounging around camp on a nice day, or wearing during the dog days of summer in hot locations, 100% cotton is not suitable for serious use while in the wilderness, or working outside for long periods of time in damp, cool/cold climates. 100% cotton clothing is very absorbent, and when one works up a sweat or gets wet from rain, cotton clothing holds the moisture in, close to the body, which combined with a drop in temperature or high winds, greatly accelerates a major drop in one’s core body temperature, resulting in hypothermia and possibly death. As an example, I know of a woman in southeast Alaska who went out for a jog on a warm, sunny day, and just hours after she began her run, she was found dead. Shortly after heading down the trail on her jog, a brief, though substantial rain shower blew through the area…accompanied by strong wind gusts. She got soaking wet, blasted by cool (not cold) winds, and lost body heat so fast that her hands numbed up to the point that she couldn’t get the keys out of her pocket to unlock her vehicle. Unable to get in and warm up, she died right there outside her car. A sad, tragic story, but also a graphic reminder of how fast hypothermia can kill!
Of course, along with providing proper thermoregulation and keeping your body warm and dry, clothing is also your essential barrier from the damaging effects of the sun, from rash inducing-plants, insect bites, abrasions from thick, thorny brush, and everything else you come into contact with that could potentially harm you.
Dress for Success – Use the Layer System
When it comes to outdoor gear, your clothing is the most important equipment of all! And, when planning what to purchase or pack, in regard to clothing for serious use in the outdoors, I highly recommend using the layering system as a guiding reference. Dressing in layers allows you to properly regulate your body’s temperature (thermoregulation) by putting on extra clothes when you get too cold, in order to stay warm (but not too warm) and shed layers when you get too hot. The goal is to keep both you and your clothing comfortable and free from excessive moisture/perspiration.
Find out more about the importance of each layer, and shop for some of the best outdoor clothing on the market today by clicking on the images below…