Prepare for changing seasons - dress in layers with 3-layer systemFor well-being and health at work, it is important to keep the skin and its microclimate dry and at the right temperature. Technical work clothes designed for changing weather conditions protect you from rain, sleet, snow and wind.
Effective layering is based on the 3-layer system. The basic idea is to create thermally insulating and conductive air layers between multiple layers of clothing. Sweat moisture is transferred from the skin surface due to the combined effect of clothing, body movements and air.
The right material choices and adding or removing garment layers enable effective temperature regulation. The body can allocate energy to the work performance itself, when it is not spent on evaporating moisture.
There is no one right solution for layering. Layers should be added and removed according to weather conditions, personal needs and physical activity. You can combine the same clothes in different ways and find the optimal combination for every weather. The job also has an effect: heavy physical work requires lighter and more breathable clothing than physically light work.
Layering in between seasons – fall and spring
3-layer clothing works best in the changing weather between the seasons - sometimes it rains and winds, sometimes the sun is scorching hot. By adding mid layers, you maintain a pleasant working temperature when a cold wind attacks.
The base layer against the skin should transport moisture and sweat vapour from the skin to the next layer of clothing. Synthetic materials such as polypropylene and micropolyester move moisture away better than, for example, cotton. They are also durable, breathable and quick-drying materials. Wool also has a good ability to transfer moisture. If you need warmth in addition to breathability, woollen underwear is a good option for you. See here clothing for base layer.
See here for rain and shell clothing.
How to layer in winter?
Winter weather can vary from bitterly cold to zero degrees and slush. A thick winter jacket can be the right choice for a crisp and windy frosty day, but too hot for sleet. Add or remove insulating mid layers to achieve the ideal working temperature. Don't put on too much at once so you don't sweat. When you rest after sweating, take care not to catch a cold; the evaporation of sweat lowers your body temperature and therefore also your ability to work. See winter clothes here.
When dressing in layers, remember the accessories
When dressing in layers, don't forget the peripheral body parts; feet, hands, wrists and head. A lot of heat evaporates through them, which is why they must be well protected, especially when working in cool and cold conditions. Regular cotton socks get wet when you sweat and your toes get cold. Technical socks are warm and they transfer moisture to the outer surface of the sock. Bamboo socks keep your feet cool in hot and warm in cold. Layering also works on the feet: a thin liner sock under a thicker thermal sock. The liner sock transfers moisture from the skin and prevents chafing by reducing the friction between the foot and the shoe.
The changing weather demands a lot from footwear as well. The soles of winter shoes must provide a great grip on an icy surface. The shoe must be warm in freezing weather, but it must also breathe and keep the foot dry. Speaking of dry feet, winter shoes must also work in slush, i.e. the footwear must also protect the feet from moisture coming from outside. See the footwear here.
Not only feet but also hands get cold easily. Choose gloves that are suitable for both the job and the surrounding conditions. When it's cold, the fingers warm each other, so the mittens are warmer than the gloves. See the gloves here.
Even if you are advised to keep a cool head, it is not related to clothing. Invest in a good headgear. A breathable and heat-insulating headgear is important in freezing weather. The warming and moisture-transferring properties of wool work well in headwear. Wool blends are also an excellent option to keep your head comfortably warm. For example, polyester enhances the moisture transfer away from the skin. In frost and wind, the so-called balaclavas not only protect the head and ears, but also the cheeks, chin and neck. If the headgear alone is not enough, the hood provides additional protection.
BASE LAYER transfers moisture and keeps the skin dry
The most important feature of the base layer against the skin is to keep the surface of the skin dry and warm. To minimize sweat, you need materials that transport moisture away from the skin. Polypropylene and micropolyester are durable, breathable and quick-drying materials.
Among natural materials, wool has a good thermal insulation and moisture transfer ability. Normal wool may irritate sensitive skin. Merino wool is a skin-friendly option. In winter, you should also think about protection in underwear: long sleeves that cover the wrists, a hem that protects the lower back, and leggings that cover the ankles.
It is good for the base layer to be close to the body, so that moisture transfers to the upper layers of clothing and does not condense on the skin. Flat sewn and elastic seams increase comfort. See here the clothes of the lower layer.
MID LAYER regulates the warmth
The most important properties of the mid layer are insulating and moisture transfer. Heat insulation is regulated with the mid layer - layers are added and removed according to the conditions. If necessary, you can add more than one mid layer. The clothes in the middle layer should not be too tight, because tight layers do not retain heat. The more air there is between the layers, the warmer the garment feels. Fleece and wool are excellent options for mid-layer clothing. Fleece is soft, often also elastic, and its porous microstructure insulates heat well and transfers moisture. Of the natural materials, wool warms, breathes and evaporates moisture. It stays warm even when wet. You can easily remove unpleasant odours from wool by airing them.
OUTER LAYER protects against wind, rain and snow
The outer layer protects from rain and sleet as well as wind. A well-functioning shell layer protects against external elements, must be breathable and evaporates the moisture transferred from the lower layers into the air, helps insulate heat and is also easy to clean. Read more about protection from rain and wind here.
Choosing a shell layer is often a compromise – waterproofing means lower breathability, so during heavy work not all sweat has time to evaporate, and the microclimate inside the garment is too humid and warm. However, many waterproof outerwear have vents that can be opened if necessary. See here for rain and shell clothing.
For many work tasks, a shell layer is enough to keep the heat in, but is not particularly windproof or rainproof, because the breathability of the materials is important in heavy work. When purchasing a shell layer, it is good to remember that the size must be large enough. Both the base layer and the middle layer must fit comfortably under the shell jacket and trousers, so that the multiple layers of clothing do not limit your working mobility. See winter clothes here.