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  1. What Is Thermal Mid Layer Clothing?

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    Thermal mid layer worn by two cross country skiers in the Alps

    Most outdoors people understand what a base layer is and the function it performs in keeping you warm and dry. However, when it comes to a thermal mid layer there is still a lot of confusion about its purpose and what one exactly is.

    PURPOSE OF A THERMAL MID LAYER

    The primary role of a thermal mid layer is to add extra insulation to your layering system without being overly bulky. It is usually worn over your base layers but some garments, like our Factor 2 mid layer range, can also be worn directly next to the skin.

    Its secondary role is to carry on transporting moisture away from your skin via your base layer to the next layer of clothing. If your mid layer has poor wicking properties then you are going to get damp very quickly when working hard. This can lead to rapid heat loss when you slow down or stop.

    TYPES OF THERMAL MID LAYERS

    Personally i think a lot of companies wrongly label garments as thermal mid layers, such as micro fleece jackets and lightweight down jackets. For a start they are far too baggy to be true mid layers and are often poor at managing moisture. A lot of the time it is a clumsy attempt by a brands marketing team to adhere to the layering system – base layer, mid layer, outer layer – when their range is not complete or when their range is too large.

    Our classification of a mid layer is pretty simple. It should be snug fitting, offer good moisture management, and be insulating. Basically it is a thicker version of a base layer. When we were developing our  award winning Factor 2 mid layer range, we took these parameters and designed a bespoke fabric around them. Nearly three decades later our Factor 2 is still one of the best thermal mid layers you can buy.

    WHEN SHOULD A THERMAL MID LAYER BE WORN?

    Deciding if wearing a thermal mid layer is necessary is dependent on the weather conditions, the activity you are intending to perform, and ultimately your own personnel tolerance to the cold. If in doubt, always err on the side of caution, as you can always remove a layer.

    For a relatively sedentary activity such as fishing where little heat is generated from movement, you are going to want to wear as much insulation as you can to ensure you trap and retain body heat.

    On the other hand, if you are a proficient skier, then you are going to have an aerobic workout even in very cold temperatures, so overheating may be a problem wearing a full layering system. In this situation we would recommend wearing a base layer top and bottom with just a mid layer top to protect your core. If you find you are getting too warm then you can always remove a layer relatively easily.

    For extreme cold conditions, such as polar expeditions, then a good base layer and thermal mid layer are a necessity, and a re just the start of your layering system.

  2. Thermal Clothing For Extreme Cold

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    Two arctic explorers in full Sub Zero thermal clothing for extreme cold weather

     

    Wearing the right layer of thermal clothing for extreme cold situations can be the difference between life and death if you get in trouble. Wear too much insulation and you will overheat, increasing your perspiration, that will rapidly cool your body when your intensity levels drop. Alternatively you may not be wearing enough thermal layers to start with. This can also lead to rapid heat loss unless remedied, forcing your body to shut down to protect its vital organs. As you can see, wearing the correct layers of thermal clothing for extreme cold environments should be taken very seriously.

    BASE LAYER

    Base layers are the first line of defence against the cold. Worn directly next to the skin, they need to be soft to prevent rubbing sores from carrying equipment, offer thermal resistance to trap heat, and be effective at transporting perspiration away from the body. They are one of the most important layers of thermal clothing for extreme cold environments.

    Our Sub Zero Factor 1 Plus base layers are made form super soft polyamide yarn that has lots of in-built stretch. This allows the base layer to fit the body snugly like a second skin. A water loving chemical is also impregnated in to the yarn during the dyeing process that actively transports moisture way from the skin to the outer layers. This keeps you dry and also speeds up the drying process when washed.

    MID LAYER

    Mid layers are very similar to base layers in that they should be worn close fitting, but they contain more fibres to trap warm air – insulation. They are effectively the work horse in your range of thermal clothing for extreme cold.

    Our Sub Zero Factor 2 thermal mid layers are heavily brushed on the inside fabric face to produce an inner fleece layer that insulates your body from excess heat loss. Their very strong flat seam construction helps prevent any pressure points occurring when carrying kit.

    OUTER LAYER

    Once you have your base layer and insulation mid layer sorted then your choice of outer layer is often determined by the elements.

    If you are working hard and still feel a little cool then putting on a lightweight down jacket will help to add extra insulation without adding much extra weight as a burden.

    If you are comfortably warm then you may not even need an outer layer at that point in time but you should keep a close eye on the weather and anticipate changes in conditions. Likewise, if you have to stop or your activity levels decrease then you will need to add further layers to compensate for the reduction in heat generation.

    One mistake that even the professionals sometimes get wrong is underestimating the power of wind chill on your bodies temperature. It may look lovely and sunny outside but any wind can rapidly cool the body. Carrying a lightweight windproof that can quickly be thrown over your under layers should mitigate a lot of the wind chill effects.

    For further information on wind chill visit the Met Office

    HATS & GLOVES

    It is a myth that you loose most of your body heat through your head, at most it is around 10%. Even though the percentage is a lot lower than most people think, it is a good way to fine tune your bodies temperature. If you start to get a bit warm, remove your fleece hat or balaclava. If you are still warm after a few more minutes of doing this then you know you need to remove a larger layer of clothing.

    This also works the other way around. Add a hat if you start to feel cool. If this dosen’t warm you up then you know that a larger item of clothing needs to be worn or that you need to start looking for shelter.

    The other reason for covering your head and hands is to help protect your extremities from wind burn and frost bite.

    THERMAL CLOTHING FOR EXTREME COLD

    Keeping warm and dry in extreme cold weather needn’t be too much of a problem if you listen to what your body is telling you , are aware of your surroundings, and are wearing the correct kit.

    Luckily Sub Zero have over 40 years experience manufacturing thermal clothing for extreme cold conditions, with many polar explorers and mountaineers placing their trust in our products.

  3. Polar Fleece Jackets and Body Warmers 25% Off

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    Sub Zero Polar Thermal Fleece Jackets and Body Warmers are manufactured from super warm 361g/m2 Polar Polyester fleece. These technical jackets and vests have a velour anti-pill finish on the outside and a deep pile lambswool structure on the reverse for added loft.

    These high performance fleece jackets and gilets are ideal for wearing in the winter months either on their own or as part of a layering system.

  4. 30% Discount on Sub Zero Down Jackets And Vests

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    Stay warm during this cold snap with one of Sub Zeros award winning lightweight down jackets or gillets. Only the finest grade of ethically sourced European goose down insulation is used in their manufacture, with a fill power of 800+. These technical down jackets and gilets pack down in to their own compact stuff sack, making them ideal to place in your pocket or small rucksack.

    For January and February only are we offering a 30% discount on these down products, so order today whilst stocks last!

     

    Sub zero

  5. Cold Weather Camping Top 10 Tips

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    10 Top Tips For Camping During The winter Months

    Wild camping can be enjoyed all year round and more campsites are staying open for longer these days opening up opportunities to camp in relative comfort throughout the year. Cold weather camping doesn’t necessarily mean there’s snow on the ground as wind and rain can cause the temperature to drop uncomfortably. Our tips will help you make the most of autumn and winter trips.

    • Layers of thin clothing rather than a heavy jacket allow you to adjust insulation and warmth quickly and easily; try to avoid getting hot and sweaty as damp clothes will soak up body heat.
    • Natural fills like feather and down in sleeping bags will lose their insulation value when wet or even just damp but with a waterproof stuff sack and a decent tent, it’s pretty easy to keep your sleeping bag dry.
    • A ‘mummy’ shaped bag means your body has less space to heat as it hugs your head and shoulders like a cocoon.
    • Try not to sleep with your head inside your bag as your warm breath pumps damp air into the bag reducing the insulation properties and warmth.
    • Whenever you can, air out your bag and tent as body moisture vapour and warm breath condense in the tent at night and the moisture will reduce warmth. It might even freeze on the inside of the tent giving you an unwelcome frosty shower in the morning.
    • A sleeping bag liner not only helps to keep your bag clean, it can make a big difference to how warm you are all night.
    • Cold ground will draw heat away from you so insulating yourself from it is essential. A closed cell foam sleeping pad or self-inflating air/foam mattress offer good protection from the cold and can be boosted by lying on spare clothing, waterproofs or even your rucksack.
    • Change into dry clothing such as a spare base layer top and ‘long johns’ before getting into your sleeping bag. A snug hat such as a beanie will cut down heat loss through your head. Beat the morning chill by pulling the clothes you ‘re going to wear inside your bag to warm them up.
    • Torch batteries are affected by cold but you can coax a dead battery into life by warming it up in your hands; keep them in your sleeping bag overnight.
    • Keep your sleeping bag loosely in a large mesh or cotton bag between trips to ensure  it keeps its loft qualities.

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