April 5th, 2017
Shipping Process Upgrade
Here at Sub Zero Store we are always looking at ways to improve our service to our customers. As with all good etailers it is an ongoing process and evolves over time. For the past few months we have been concentrating on integrating Royal Mails new 2D barcode system in to our dispatch operation. Not only does it give us tracking and delivery information, it also checks delivery addresses to make sure they are correct. This has now been completed and has been rolled out from the start of this month.
If any of you have ordered from us in April then you would have noticed a change to the parcel label. The image to the left show the new design with the delivery address blurred for data protection reasons.
All parcels now have a unique 2D barcode generated during the label generation process, allowing them to be scanned through Royal Mails sorting and delivery systems. This will allows us to track individual parcels sent by the UK 48 and 24 services, and locate them should the delivery be delayed. It will also provide us with confirmation when they have been delivered.
At the moment, only parcels can be tracked online at Royal Mail. Orders that qualify as large letters will not have any tracking information updated to Royal Mails website, but we can still trace them. We just need to send the barcode number to our Royal Mail account manager who can trace them on a different system.
Non UK Orders
Any orders with delivery addresses outside of the UK will now be sent by Royal Mails Tracked and Signed service. This aims to deliver worldwide in 3-5 working days. As with the UK 24 and 48 hours service, these parcels also have a unique 2D barcode for tracking.
For further information, please visit our Delivery Information page
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April 4th, 2017
Many backpackers and hikers swear by gaiters and use them year-round.
Despite offering essential protection, gaiters are often overlooked and get confused in a long list of outdoor equipment.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide so you know what exactly gaiters are and when you should be wearing them.
What are Gaiters?
Gaiters are lightweight, breathable and waterproof pieces of fabric that cover the upper boot and lower part of your legs.
Working with your boots, gaiters protect all the tiny nooks and crannies that are vulnerable in certain weather or environment conditions, such as the top of the boot.
In wet, muddy or snowy conditions, gaiters are essential for keeping your feet dry and can also provide an extra layer of insulation.
In drier weather, gaiters will also protect you from debris such as rocks and sand that can uncomfortably lodge themselves inside your footwear.
Gaiters provide great protection across a diverse range of conditions. Whether you are facing thorny bushes, marsh land or even snake bites, the gaiters will provide you an extra layer of defence to stop anything from getting into your boots or trouser legs.
Made from mostly synthetic materials, gaiters are breathable, lightweight and quick drying. Gaiters are designed to be comfortable for walking and hiking long distances in a variety of conditions, making them an essential item for your pack.
From puddles to thunderstorms, gaiters will keep you waterproof, insulated and protected.
Generally, gaiters come in one of two heights: ankle-height and full-length.
Full-length gaiters are a perfect fit for extreme weather conditions such as deep snow or heavy rain.
Covering the tops of your boots and most of your lower leg, full-length gaiters offer the most protection.
If you’re in terrains covered in snow, long wet grass, thick bush or you need to cross streams, full-length gaiters are essential for you.
Ankle-height gaiters are made to simply cover the top of your footwear and bottom of your trousers.
They don’t have the same level of protection as the full-length ones, and are best used for less extreme conditions.
This type of gaiter is ideal for outdoor wear, with a good chance of rain and mud. It’s also perfect for offering protection from bits of debris such as stones, sand or bits of twig entering your footwear.
This type of gaiter can also be a great fit for off-road and fell runners to provide protection from debris.
For runners that want a more lightweight and fuller protection, our padded running gaiters may be the perfect fit for you.
Snow, water and debris can find a way into the most waterproof of boots and trousers. Gaiters are lightweight, waterproof and breathable, covering the ends of your boots and trousers, providing you with extra protection from the elements.
Gaiters protect you from a range of outdoor conditions, including muddy puddles, debris, deep snow, streams and thick bush. Small and lightweight enough to stash in your pack, gaiters can be used year-round for almost every condition.
Ready to unlock the benefits of gaiters? Browse our range today.
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Tags: backpacking, climbing, hiking, hill walking, trekking, walking, winter walking
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April 3rd, 2017
Staying warm is incredibly important. Whether you are skiing in the Alps, enjoying the outdoors or just getting through the winter months, staying warm is essential.The key to warmth starts with a good base layer. But with all the different types available, it’s hard to understand what is right for you. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to choosing your perfect base layer.
What are base layers?
Base layers are the foundation layer of clothing, designed to provide temperature regulation. They should move moisture away from your skin, keeping you dry as you sweat and cool down while you rest. It’s important to understand that base layers are not insulation. They help regulate your temperature, but the clothes you layer on top will keep you warm.
Choosing the right base layer
When choosing the right base layer for you, there are many different factors to consider.
Firstly, base layers can be made from different materials. The typical materials you can choose from are:
- Cotton: Cotton is affordable, but is a bad base layer material. It can add a bit of warmth, but only if it’s heavy and thick. Cotton will also soak up any sweat or moisture, making it cold, clammy and uncomfortable to wear.
- Silk: Feeling great on your skin, silk is great for layering under your clothes. Silk also works great when you need to squeeze into pieces of form-fitting clothing, such as shoes or a helmet. Unfortunately, silk is not great at regulating temperatures. In warm conditions, silk can be too hot or uncomfortable to wear.
- Synthetic: There is a big range of synthetic materials used in base layers. In general, synthetic materials are breathable, dry incredibly fast and can add warmth. Most synthetics are not resistant to bacteria and can build odours.
- Merino wool: This type of wool is very soft, great at regulating your temperature and resists odour. Coming from the New Zealand Merino sheep, this wool is a pricey option for some.
Your base layer needs to be comfortable, but tight-fitting. Having a tight-fitting base layer traps air next to the skin, helping insulate and regulate your body temperature. It’s also a great idea for the shirts to be long enough to tuck into your trousers. This will avoid any cold spells while bending over, and help retain the trapped layer of air. Generally, most base layers are made to be tight-fitting. So, stick to your normal clothes size when ordering your base layer.
Base layers can come in different styles, with short- and long-sleeve variations. The perfect style depends on your activity, climate and personal preferences. Generally, if you are exposed to colder conditions, long-sleeved based layers will be right for you. On the other hand, more active or warmer conditions will prefer shorter sleeves.
Choosing your perfect base layer depends ultimately on your unique needs, activity and weather conditions. Need more information on choosing your base layer? Our experts can help you choose your perfect option based on your unique requirements.
Ready to choose your perfect base layer? Browse our selection today:
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April 3rd, 2017
Thermal jackets are your outer layer protection. Protecting you from the elements, thermal jackets are key to fully enjoying your favourite outdoor activity.
Whether you are a hiker, climber, snowboarder, skier or biker, your thermal jacket is an important piece of your kit.
There is a huge variety of jackets to choose from. The main three are fleeces, softshell and down-insulated jackets.
So, what are the differences between these jackets and which one is perfect for you?
Fleeces are made from a soft, lightweight and warm polyester material that mimics wool.
Available in a variety of weights, fleeces are great at keeping you warm. The jackets can maintain their warmth when wet, and dry very quickly.
The fabric is highly-breathable, is comfortable, doesn’t itch and can be produced in a variety of colours and styles.
Some fleeces are even windproof and water-repellent, protecting you from the elements. However, being water-resistant makes them more prone to odours.
Soft, lightweight and warm, fleeces are most commonly worn as layering pieces.
Softshell jackets are perhaps the most versatile of all jackets.
Although a fleece is great for warmth, a softshell jacket has the best of both worlds. Not only will it provide warmth, it also offers more protection from the elements. Highly comfortable, these jackets are a popular choice for everyday wear.
Softshell jackets were initially created for activities like climbing and mountaineering. The fabric is incredibly breathable and has a great deal of stretch, made to keep you moving, dry and warm.
Soft and flexible, softshell jackets are best for keeping active. They also work great as a mid-layer in severe weather or as an outer layer in moderate conditions, and are great to protect you from windy conditions.
Down insulated jackets are filled with the best insulator in the world.
Made from feather by-products of geese, ducks, or other waterfowl, the down insulation will keep you warm without weighing you down.
Insulated down jackets and body warmers are ideal pieces of technical clothing for adding an extra layer of insulation without adding much weight. The lightweight jackets have a small pack size so they can fit easily into walking trouser pockets or the smallest of free spaces in your backpack.
However, down-insulated jackets are weak to moisture and provide less protection against the elements. Although some jackets use water-resistant treated down, the jacket is best suited to drier conditions.
Choosing the right jacket for you will depend on your activities and weather conditions.
If you are going to be active, the flexible softshell jackets are the best. The lightweight down-insulated jacket is great to carry to keep you warm in cold and dry conditions. In wet conditions, the fleece will keep you warm and dry quickly.
All the jackets work best when worn in layers.
Ready to choose your perfect jacket? Browse our range today.
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January 4th, 2017
What is down?
Down is the fluffy plumage that waterfowl grow next to their skin to help insulate and aide buoyancy. It is not a true feather as we understand them, but a much simpler form that has soft and fluffy filament shafts growing in all directions. These down ‘clusters’ are extremely lightweight and provide a large surface area to trap air and warmth from the body. True feathers grow over the top of the down and help shield the birds from wind and water penetration, as well as aiding flight due to increased aerodynamics.
Why use goose down?
All waterfowl produce down, but geese and duck down are the most popular as it is a by-product of commercial farming practices. The most sought after down comes from adult geese as they have a very fine cluster construction, providing more loft than juvenile goose down or duck down.
Advantages of down insulation
One of the major advantages of down is its warmth-to-weight ratio. No synthetic insulation even comes close to matching it. So producing a like-for-like jacket, the down insulated one is going to be much lighter than the synthetic insulated one. Combined with this is the compression advantage of down. You can scrunch up down jackets in to very small shapes without damaging the clusters. If you want to wear one that has been jammed in to an awkward shape in yor backpack, just like a duvet, all you need to do is waft it a little bit to increase the loft.
Negatives of down insulation
Downs Achilles heal is moisture. If it gets too damp or is waterlogged, then the clusters stick together, drastically reducing the surface area and thus the insulation properties. Drying down takes a very long time unless you have a tumble dryer, so if it gets wet when you are outside, then it is going to stay wet and offer little protection from the cold. Fortunately, new hydrophobic treatments have started to be applied to down clusters to help repel water for longer. Using this treated down produces an insulated jacket that is not waterproof, but it will function a lot better in damp and wet weather, will dry quicker, and will retain the loft of the down even when wet.
For more information on down and its properties then please visit the EDFA European Down and Feather Association
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Tags: down insulation, down jackets, extreme cold clothing, winter jackets
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December 17th, 2016
With todays hectic lifestyles, many people just want a quick and simple way to pay for items purchased online. Providing a guest checkout simplifies the ordering process and removes the requirement for personnel details to be held. It also reassures first time customers that their privacy is respected.
Here at Sub Zero Store we are constantly updating our website to improve our customers buying experience. Over the past few days we have been making background changes to our site and part of that process has been the implementation of a guest checkout. You now have the option when checking out of registering an account with us or just paying as a guest. Both have their advantages as is discussed below.
Benefits Of A Guest Checkout
If you are only going to buy from Sub Zero Store once and don’t want to receive any marketing material, then the guest checkout provides a quick and efficient way to pay for goods. Just one page needs completing with your delivery details, and if you use an auto-fill app, then this can be done in a matter of seconds.
The downside of using the guest checkout is that you loose all the benefits of registering an account with Sub Zero Store. This includes order history and parcel tracking information.
Benefits Of Registering An Account
Registering for an account with Sub Zero Store may take longer than using the guest checkout but it does have its benefits. Not only does it let you logon to your own account page to view past orders and shipping information, it also allows us to send you information on special offers and discount codes – we are not one of these companies who bombard our customers with marketing material as we dislike this ourselves. On average, we probably send out a newsletter email once a month, that’s it. If you would like to leave a product review, whether negative or positive, then this is only possible if you are registered with us.
It is simple to register an account with Sub Zero Store. Just go to the top of any page and click on the grey ‘Register‘ text
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December 15th, 2016
Synthetic Base Layers
As the name implies, synthetic base layers are those that are manufactured from any man-made fibres. These will usually be fabrics knitted from yarns of polyamide, polyester or polypropylene, and sometimes a combination of two or more. Sometimes a bit of acrylic is also used but these are usually on cheap products that probably will not make it past a few washes anyway. If you have a base layer that is a blended yarn of both natural and man made fibres then you need to take extra care and follow the care label precisely.
Follow The Manufacturers Instructions
Care labels on base layers are there for a reason, to be followed. They are not rough guidelines for you to interpret how you wish. They provide instructions for the maximum levels of certain processes such as wash temperature, and processes that shouldn’t be used, such as ironing and dry cleaning. Below are three scans of care labels for different synthetic base layer fabrics. As you can see they all look similar but the washing instructions and care instructions are slightly different:
For a handy guide to wash care symbols please visit the Love Your Clothes website
A big no no when it comes to synthetic base layers. The harsh chemicals used in the cleaning process will strip out any treatments on the yarn such as softeners and hydrophilics, and the drying process can lead to shrinking and melt spots.
Detergents And Fabric Softeners
Using detergents are a bit of a grey area as it depends on the yarn content of your synthetic base layers:
Polyamide base layers, such as Sub Zero Factor 1, have a hydrophilic chemical treatment pressure injected directly in to the yarn during the dyeing and finishing process. It is not everlasting but it takes a very long time for the treatment to be washed out, even when using fabric detergents.
Polypropylene base layers very rarely have any treatments applied to them due to the yarns properties so washing machine detergents can be happily used on them.
Polyester base layers often have softeners and hydrophilic treatments applied to the outside of the yarn. These are easily stripped out by washing detergents so you may need to treat them every few washes with a dedicated base layer treatment wash.
Fabric softeners on the other hand shouldn’t be used on any synthetic base layers. They coat the fibres with a waxy finish that affects their moisture transportation capabilities. If you should use a fabric softener by mistake, then just rewash the base layer with a normal detergent.
It is always a good idea to separate light colours from dark colours in any wash if you want your whites to stay bright. Some clothing colours will leach in a wash leading to colouration of lighter garments if mixed together, especially base layers manufactured from polyamide yarn. Polypropylene base layers are usually resilient as they do not absorb any moisture, so can be mixed with different colours. If you are in any doubt, then use a colour absorbing sheet in your wash.
If you are intending to mix garment styles in a single wash then be aware of the possible consequences. Any jacket or trousers with either a zip or Velcro fastenings could potentially damage your base layer during the washing process. The hooked harsh face of Velcro can be especially damaging as it catches the base layers fine filaments and can lead to pulls and ladders. It is always a good idea to wash Velcro and zip containing clothing separately.
Most dedicated synthetic base layer washes and general detergents will work perfectly well on a low temperature setting such as 30ºC. Even if the care label states a higher wash temperature tolerance, it is not a requirement to get synthetic base layers clean these days.
Some people advocate washing synthetic base layers by hand in cold water, but this is time consuming and unnecessary for most garments. If in doubt, check the neck label.
The beauty of synthetic base layers is that they absorb very little moisture. If the wash has been put on a spin cycle then the base layers are going to dry very quickly on the clothesline in decent weather. If you need to hang the washing up inside the house, then please avoid hanging the base layers directly on radiators. Use a collapsible clothes horse to hang your base layers on and position near to the radiator. In our house we do this but place the horse near to our wood burner without any problems.
Using a tumble dryer to dry synthetic base layers is best avoided as they can be unpredictable and untrustworthy. Most base layers that shrink in tumble dryers are not down to the heat, but the length of time they are left in the dryer. If you do need a base layer quickly out of the wash, then set the tumble dryer to the coolest setting, remove any collected lint from the collection screen, and keep an eye on it. It is better to underestimate the time and keep on adding small increments after checking the dryness. Shrinking your synthetic base layers in a tumble dryer is not reversible.
Again, ironing synthetic base layers is best avoided. It is very easy to use the wrong temperature setting when ironing a pile of clothes, and an iron on a high setting will glaze some synthetic fabrics and will melt others. If you hang them up tidily for drying and then fold them neatly when dry then creases will be avoided. In any case, who is going to see your base layers when you are outside anyway.
Word Of Warning
If you do wash and launder your synthetic base layers incorrectly and not according to the instructions, and something does happen to them such as a shrinkage or a deformity, the manufacturers will know it is your fault. Fabrics are so stable these days and manufactured in such high quantities that one bad item out of a batch of thousands is going to stick out like a sore thumb. The best tactic is to stick your hands up and admit you made a mistake, and if the manufacturer is half decent, they may give you discount off a new set or exchange the base layer in exchange for some PR material.
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Tags: base layers, synthetic underwear, washing instructions, winter thermals
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December 13th, 2016
Walkers Top 10 Kit
If you are struggling to come up with ideas for the walker in your family then we have picked our top ten products that will keep them happy when outside in all weathers.
A cold walker is a miserable walker. Treat them to some good quality base layers this Christmas and watch them transform from a prickly plodder to a happy hiker.
2. Bottle Flask
If you are rather partial to a brew when walking and do not want to carry a stove, then taking an insulated vacuum flask with the tea or coffee already made is a great way of grabbing a quick cuppa when outdoors. Thermos flasks come in all shape and sizes these days, from wide mouth lunch jugs to robust stainless steel bottle flasks.
3. Waterpoof Hat
Keeping your head dry in wet weather can be achieved either by pulling up your waterproof jacket hood or by wearing a waterproof hat. The advantages of using a waterproof hat rather than a hood is that they are more insulating, give you a better field of vision, and can be stored easily in a pocket or backpack.
4. First Aid Kit
Everybody has an accident at some point when walking, whether that be from stumbling on uneven ground, cutting a finger on map edges, or wearing poorly fitted walking boots that lead to blisters. If left untreated for any length of time, these wounds may hinder your progress or become infected. The solution is to carry a first aid kit in your backpack or pocket, allowing you to treat any minor injuries sustained by yourself or your walking group.
5. Survival Bag
Like all good boy scouts you should be prepared when stepping out in to the great outdoors. Lightweight and compact, these survival bags and blankets are manufactured form space age materials to keep you warm and dry until help arrives. They can also double up as a large visual aid should you get lost when walking.
6. Insulated Down Jacket
The ultimate in walking comfort, insulated down jackets are like wearing a duvet on the hills. Being lightweight and compact, they can easily fit in to odd spaces in a backpack, and just need a good shake before being worn to activate the down insulation.
7. Outdoor Compasses
If the walker in your family is always getting lost then invest in a field compass to keep them on the straight and narrow. These compact lightweight navigational devices easily fit in to your jacket or trouser pocket, and come in a variety of styles with different features.
8. Solid Fuel Camping Stoves
Not the smallest of stoves we must confess but they eliminate the need for fuel to be carried. When you want a brew, just forage around for twigs, fir cones and leaves, and these Ghille Kettles will light with ease and boil water in a matter of minutes. Pan sets can be suspended above the top exhaust, allowing for a meal to be cooked at the same time. Manufactured in the UK from lightweight anodised aluminium, these solid fuel camping stoves are a very useful gadget for the survival enthusiast and minimalist walker.
9. Walking Socks
Blisters and sores on walkers feet usually occur due to poor quality socks and bad fitting boots. Wearing a constructed walking socks will help to manage moisture, cushion your heel and sole, and help to prevent internal slipping and rubbing.
10. Waterproof Gloves
Wet hands quickly start to feel cold in the cooler months. Being able to keep them dry and also functional means that good fitting waterproof gloves are required.
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Tags: base layers, christmas gifts, first aid, top ten ideas, walking
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December 8th, 2016
Small businesses like Sub Zero Store are the backbone of the local community. We employ local people. We support local business. We are more flexible than large city centre and outlet stores . We provide superior customer service. We are helpful and caring. We contribute billions to the national economy. But often we are overlooked, marginalised and unappreciated. So when somebody comes along to help, like Amex Shop Small, we all should be shouting it from the roof.
Money Back Offer
From 3-18th December 2016, American Express are running their annual Shop Small campaign. This national campaign by Amex aims to promote the uniqueness of small businesses and encourages American Express card holders to purchase goods from them. All that Amex customers have to do is spend £10 or more in a single transaction at a participating small business to receive a £5 statement credit. This offer not only applies to high street stores, but also online retailers like Sub Zero Store.
What To Purchase
At Sub Zero Store, we stock a wide range of functional outdoor products to keep you warm, safe, and secure. Not only do we stock the award winning Sub Zero brand of outdoor clothing, we also have a wide range of technical brands that have been tried and tested by our dedicated sourcing team. When researching new product lines, we do try to buy kit that is made in Great Britain, but this is sometimes difficult due to the nature of the product.
So why not save some money with the Amex Shop Smart campaign and treat yourself this Christmas to a nice snug base layer to keep out the winter chill.
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September 9th, 2015
What is the best lightweight thermal underwear for changeable Autumn weather?
Autumn can be an unpredictable month as one day it can be scorching hot whilst the next day you can get out of your tent and find ground frost. This swing in the weather cycle is not ideal if you are out on the hills for a prolonged period of time as you have to pack for all eventualities. But how do you fine the best lightweight thermal underwear for the job? Researching the following four properties when buying thermal underwear should help you get the best from your purchase.
To lighten your load it is a good idea to wear thermal underwear that will adapt to both hot and cold conditions. This is not an endorsement for thermal brands that claim they will keep you cool in summer and hot in winter. Anyone with a simple grasp of physics or textiles knows this is an impossibility. The best you can hope to achieve is a lightweight thermal base layer that will insulate you in the cooler weather, but not be so insulating that you start to cook when the sun comes out.
But how do you know how insulating/warm a thermal underwear brand is going to be? A simple but underused test is the TOG, which measures the thermal resistance of a fabric. You have probably seen it used on duvets, mattresses and pillows, and the lower the figure, the less insulating it is. In the Autumn you need a lightweight thermal underwear brand that has a TOG rating of between 0.35-0.50. Anything higher and you are going to be too warm, anything lower and you will chill.
What this means is basically how quick perspiration is moved from the skins surface to the outside surface of the fabric, so it can evaporate or be moved on to the next clothing layer. The best lightweight thermal underwear garments will have a hydrophilic treatment applied to them. These chemicals actively aid the movement of moisture – hydrophilic means water loving – so vastly improve the fabrics own moisture transportation system. In the cooler Autumnal weather this process keeps a dry layer of air next to the skin (air being the insulator) helping you to keep warm. In warmer weather you will probably wear the lightweight thermal underwear on its own. A quick wicking rate will pump moisture out to the surface of the thermal and allow evaporation. This will help to cool you as water has a high heat capacity and needs a lot of energy to phase change i.e. transform from a liquid to a gas. In layman’s term, your excess body heat is absorbed by the water on the fabrics surface to change to a gas, or evaporate as us mere mortals know the process.
Construction and Fit
Thirdly, the lightweight thermal underwear must be snug fitting. By snug I do not mean restricting blood to an appendage so it goes purple with loss of circulation. The base layer must be close fitting so no air can be wafted when you move. For someone who has not got the body of David Beckham this is not going to be a pretty sight as a good fitting thermal will contour to all your lumps and bumps. However, this close fit ensures that air is trapped next to the skin, insulating the wearer. It also aids hydrophilic treatments as they only work efficiently when there is a heat gradient. The best way to achieve this is by having the fabric in close contact to the skin.
The best lightweight thermal underwear garments will also be constructed sympathetically to your activity. Look for thermal underwear that has a long body length so when you bend over to pick something up or tie your shoe laces your lower back does not become exposed. The sleeves should also be of a significant length that when you lift your arms they do not ride up and expose much your skin.
Finally, your choice in colour will also play an important part in how cool and hot you feel. Black is a good absorber of light wavelengths and will attract more energy from the sun than a lighter colour. However, black is also a good radiator of heat so in overcast weather it will loose heat quicker than a lighter colour. White is obviously the best colour for reflecting heat as it absorbs very little light. If you need thermal underwear in the autumn and are not sure on what weather conditions you are going to be subjected to then choose a colour between the extremes of white and black.
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Tags: autumn weather, baselayers, best lightweight thermal underwear, mountaineering, walking, winter clothing
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