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Cold weather

To counter the cold you need to think about the insulation layer you have between your base layer and the waterproof outer you may have to put on.

Insulation comes in many forms. It could be a traditional woollen jumper, a more modern fleece or a down or synthetic jacket. A lot of people like to have an insulation layer that zips and unzips so you can regulate your temperature without taking it off.

Technical fleeces can also incorporate an element of wind-proofing and shower-proofing. Given the significant effect of the wind on the temperature experienced by your body (wind-chill), a level of wind-proofing can be very effective. It can mean that you can delay putting on an outer waterproof layer, perhaps while climbing a hill on a cold, blustery but dry day.

Glencoe in winterDown jackets can be very warm indeed but they should not be got wet - in which case the down soaks up the moisture, sticks together and ceases to be effective. For most hill-walking activities a down jacket or 'gilet' (a jacket without sleeves) lacks flexibility. However some synthetically filled jackets with a similar ability to trap air to keep you warm continue to work when wet. Clothing specialist Paramo, for instance, sell an insulating vest which is designed to be worn over your waterproof layer, giving you additional warmth without having to take your outer layer off.

Finally hats and gloves can have a disproportionate effect on your warmth. In winter and wet conditions you should consider having a waterproof hat and waterproof gloves. Many hats are available made from breathable waterproof fabrics. In very cold conditions you may find that a pair of mittens is better than ordinary gloves, even if they are well padded and waterproof. With mittens your fingers are much more able to keep themselves warm. 

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