The Wilderness Enlightenment School

Clothing with the wind in mind

 

 

 The wind blows constantly and in some areas is more of a concern than rain or cold. It should be noted that the wind is always a factor and that even when you can not feel it on your skin, it is still moving. Because wind removes our heat, we must dress in a manner that allows us to retain as much of our generated heat as possible. To accomplish this we must direct our efforts to the shell layer of our clothing which is the layer that resist the wind and allows the insulation layer to maintain our body heat within its fibers. A basic understanding of layers is described below.

Layers

  • Base Layer - made of a thin, breathable layer that wicks moisture away from the body. Can be synthetic or natural material like wool that has traditionally been used.
  • Insulation Layer - made of cloth with fibers that traps air and thereby traps heat. Traditionally natural materials like wool or alpaca have been used, but many people prefer synthetic.
  • Insulation Layer - depending on the environment, there will be a need for more than one insulation layer
  • Shell Layer - made of wind and/or water resistant material. Traditionally this includes animal hide, fur, seal skin, etc...

Note: Some environments have little concern for water resistant clothing, as there is little to no rain, or the snow is of a dry powdery nature that does not melt while the wearer is outdoors.

The shell design that I prefer as a wind breaker is a parka or anorak made from heavy, tight woven cotton. This traditional design is long, covers the buttocks, has a hood and has a drawstring at the waist. The drawstring is a very important design feature because it stops cold air from moving up the lower back. I have noticed that once a woodsman's lower back gets cold it becomes stiff, painful and his moral drops. This is why very few of the jackets sold at big box stores are useful, as they stop at the waist line in an effort to reduce material and maintain a fashionable look. Some woodsmen like to spray a water resistant coating onto their cotton/canvas shells, but it should be noted that if washed the parka will lose its water resistant property. The parka/anorak should fit loose like a small tent, with the sleeves being spacious enough to repeatedly bend your arms. The idea is to have on a shell that slows us to perform work outdoors that involves bending, lifting, turning and carrying. If our wind proof shell does not allow us to do all of these thing, then we have on a poorly designed parka. The shell design for the lower body does not receive as much attention, as the concept of wind resistance is based on keeping the "Core" warm. In colder climates however, the layering system is implemented, and wind resistance/water resistant pants are utilized.

It is vital to maintaining optimum health that we obey the natural laws and follow the ancient wisdom concerning cold & wind! We must drink warm healthy fluids that are organic based in an effort to maintain core temperature and prevent the thick, stick substance that develops in such environments. These warm teas promote the useful and wanted thin, slippery substances that our body needs. Sipping hot organic tea that we or the local farmers grew in the spring and summer is the preferred beverage of Fall and Winter. We should make every attempt to consume foods and herbs that were grown locally, as they contain the natural elements needed to boost our immune system. If we can not sip a hot organic tea with honey, then our second choice is to sip hot water with honey and our third choice is to sip water. We do not concern ourselves with designer bottles of water with pretty labels, as our water of choice in a perfect world would be spring water. Not the kind that we are sold, but they kind that comes from an actual spring on our property. Since most of the worlds spring water has been polluted in some way, shape or form, our second best choice is distilled water!

In summery, we must remember that nature is affecting us just as we have an affect on nature. With this in mind, we must strive to maintain a balance within ourselves and this must be done in accordance with the seasons and environment. Just as we adjust our balance to match walking up hill or downhill, we must adjust our balance to be in synchronization with the natural around us.

 

Our motto "Get Out and Stay Out"!