The right clothing for sub-zero temps

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The right clothing for sub-zero temps

By Jesse Ritka. CREATED Dec 10, 2013 - UPDATED: Dec 10, 2013

GLENDALE – When wind chills are in the 20s below zero, you can get frost bite in just 30 minutes.  And with this bitter blast of arctic air Julie Scheibel has to bundle up even more when she goes outside, “It's a little bit colder than Alaska weather right now!” she tells TODAY’S TMJ4’s Jesse Ritka.

“From out of the car, out on the street and into the job, one big bulky jacket will do you fine,” Erehwon Mountain Outfitters Supervisor Joel Smith explains.  But if you stay out longer or plan to do any outdoor activities like skiing, snowboarding or snow-shoeing your winter weather wear needs to change Smith says, “Now you're going to be working up a sweat and you need something that's going to take that moisture away from your body and bring it out into the clothing so it can evaporate outside.”

Evaporation cools you down so you need a base layer that has wicking abilities, Scheibel uses one when she goes running outside, “For sweating yup, it wicks away the sweat.”

And staying dry is imperative Smith says, “As soon as your skin is wet and you get a chill, your body temperature is going to go down substantially.”

On top of the wicking layer you need an insulating layer Smith continues, “A good mid-layer and that can be anything from fleece to a synthetic to down.  When it comes to synthetics, there's a shelf life when it comes to that kind of stuff, I mean man can only do so much, but when it comes to nature you can have a down piece that will last for 40 years.”

Top the whole outfit off with a weather-proof layer Smith concludes, “Something to block the wind.  Whether that’s a wind jacket or waterproof shell.”

And you can’t forget about your face, even when you are running Julie adds, “I wear a face-mask in this weather, it's a mask that goes over the nose and the mouth so I can still breathe.”

Mittens, boots, scarf and hat are additional accessories to keep extremities warm but the body’s core is the place to pack on several layers Smith suggests, “It's all about layer-layer!  Trapped air is insulation and the more trapped air you have meaning in between those layers that you're wearing, the warmer you're going to be.”

It can be different when dressing children for the wintry weather Joel explains, “Kids tend to be very active in the snow, so it's actually more important for them to layer than even the adults to.  They tend to go out and play and sweat and layers are what are going to save them from that.”

As a mother of three, Ellen Janquart-Fullerton knows how to dress her family for the winter, “Takes a little extra, Avery needed to be bundled up, she needed her head gear, her face gear, she needed everything today.  We're in Wisconsin, you've gotta be warm!”

Not only warm, but dry.  Smith says choosing the right fabric for layering the little ones is essential, “Stay away from cotton. Cotton is one of those things that once it gets soaked, it stops breathing and it freezes.  The best things to do are polypropylene, any kind of synthetic base layer and or wool, it's hard to beat nature.  Wool pretty much will always win as far as wet when warm.”

Many children's coats and pants now have the insulation layer and weather-proof layer all in one garment.

Up to 60 percent of body heat can escape from the head, so adding just a hat won’t be as beneficial to kids.  “The most important thing is to protect the parts that you don't think about, probably the face, a scarf, balaclava, something over the face because  kids are having fun outside and while they're having fun they kind of forget about well they're cold.” Smith says.

So when it comes to kids, it’s better to keep them covered up completely.  “I do like the marshmallow look, it makes you feel like they’re really warm.  As a mother, you like (them) to look like a marshmallow,” Janquart-Fullerton says.

Jesse Ritka

Jesse Ritka

Jesse Ritka joined TODAY’S TMJ4 and Storm Team 4 in February 2011 as the “Live at Daybreak” weekend meteorologist. Growing up in Prior Lake, Minnesota, Jesse has always been fascinated by storms.