Do you dress for cold weather the right way?

Published: October 30, 2020

Pile of winter clothes, warm knitted clothing, hat gloves sweaters for cold weather By Daryna Khomyk/Shutterstock

You know what they say, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. But warm-blooded beings like us have the unfortunate ability to experience wind chill, winter weather’s extra kick in the teeth. “Wind chill only affects animate objects with body heat,” says Stephen Cheung, a Canada research chair in environmental ergonomics and an expert on how the human body functions in cold weather. In still air, a body warmer than the ambient environment heats up a layer of air around itself; wind unhelpfully takes this precious heat cushion away. Well, not no more, wind! Follow these steps:

1) Layer up. Multiple layers help with wind protection. “You’ve got three to four layers for the wind to go through, rather than just one,” says Cheung.

2) Overtop, add a windproof exterior. “It’s much more effective than insulation alone.”

3) Finally, cover your bits. While Environment and Climate Change Canada calls a wind chill* of 0 to -9 “low risk,” by -10, your naked fingers and face are not going to be comfortable. At -28, you’re at a high risk of frostbite. And if it’s -55 (holy moly!), stay indoors.

*Expressed without a degree symbol; it’s a feeling of cold, not a temperature.

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