14 Best Fabrics You’d Better Choose to Wear in Cold Weather09.11.2021
You don’t have to be a Goodyear Blimp in order to keep warm during winter. Layering fabrics that are specially designed to protect you from the cold can help you stay warm. These insulating fabrics can enhance natural products or be completely synthetic. Some are very affordable while others are extremely costly.
This list includes winter fabrics that combine nature and technology, so you can be stylish and comfortable.
UNDER LAYERS/ INSULATION/ OUTER LAYERS
Certain fabrics are best suited for certain types of clothing. A wool under layer, for example, should be placed close to your body. It needs to touch your skin in order to wick moisture away. A insulating material such as down cannot be woven into fabric and must be used instead. Down long johns are not available for this reason.
Water resistance is a common goal of outer layers. It would be difficult to find a raincoat or shell made of merino wool. You should instead finish your outer layers with waterproof fabrics such as Gore-Tex and Polartec.
We will go in depth about each of these fabrics. Keep in mind, however, that some fabrics are better suited for specific layers.
The 14 BEST COLD WEATHER FABRICS
Let’s take a closer look at the top winter fabrics, beginning with lightweight inner layers fabrics and moving on to insulation and outer layers.
Merino wool makes a great under-layer. It traps heat between the fibers, making it more warm than synthetics and cottons. Smartwool is made when it has been specially treated to resist bacteria, shrinkage and odor.
This treatment also enhances natural moisture wicking capabilities and odor-reducing abilities. Some people react to the wool’s lanolin. There are also concerns that the chemical finish could be dangerous to their health.
Smartwool can be quite expensive but it is not unreasonable.
- ICEBREAKER BODYFIT ZONE
Icebreaker’s BodyFit zone is another merino-wool blend. Lycra is a stretch polyurethane fiber that’s combined with the wool.
Combining both gives wool warmth and better shape retention. Icebreaker uses body mapping for determining where warmth and stretch are most needed and places more fabric accordingly.
It is slightly more expensive than other products but it has good thermal regulation, mobility, moisture wicking, and antimicrobial properties.
- UNIQLO HEATTECH
Uniqlo HeatTech fabric is lightweight and soft. It uses hollow fibers to trap warm rays. HeatTech is made from milk proteins and amino acid. It allows fabric to trap heat, wick moisture and reduce odors.
Its low price is one of its best features, as can be said about any Uniqlo product.
- UNDER ARMOUR COLDGEAR
ColdGear is a combination of micro-fleece, ceramic and rubber. It was developed by Under Armour. According to the company, the coating is “thermoconductive”, meaning it will absorb and retain body heat.
The micro-fleece lining is brushed and provides warmth and comfort. A strip of ceramic between the layers heats the body. Under Armour’s infrared imaging helps to increase design efficiency. They pinpoint the areas with the highest heat loss and base their designs around this.
ColdGear, like most high-tech synthetics is light, soft, antimicrobial, and moisture wicking.
- CHAMPION DUOFOLD
Champion makes Duofold, a stretch polyester blend fabric. It has two layers of lightweight fabric which can trap heat and act as insulation.
Champion’s “Champion Vapor Technology”, which makes Duofold very moisture wicking, is included. This results in warm vapor being trapped but keeping you dry. It is also extremely affordable.
- COLDPRUF THERMACHOICE
ColdPruf Thermachoice, another merino blend, is also available. The wool is mixed with synthetic fibers, and polyester. This technology is similar in design to Champion’s Duofold, as it uses two layers to trap heat.
Silvadur, a polyester technical fiber made from polyester, is anti-bacterial and anti odor chemically treated.
- EASTERN MOUNTAIN SPORTS TECHWICK
Another active-oriented fabric is Eastern Mountain Sports Techwick. The fabric combines 90% hydrophilic (water resistant) and 10% hydrophilic fibers to wick moisture away from the skin. It also dries four times faster than cotton.
This technology was called drirelease. It is paired with cotton/polyester blend fabric to make affordable clothing. The antimicrobial feature doesn’t use any harmful chemicals and is UV protected.
Down is made from the stomach plumage of ducks or geese and is the original insulation material. Clusters of thousands of fibers are interwoven during production to form air pockets that trap heat. These clusters resist permanent compaction. High end parkas are made of real down insulation material. There are many factors that influence how efficient down insulation is.
The fill rating refers to the quality and volume of down. This should be at least 555. It can go up to 900. Greater compaction equals less heat retention and air pockets. The fluffier feathers of mature birds are more efficient at insulating and take up more volume. The fill weight refers to the quantity of feathers used.
The final factor is the down to feather ratio. The first number represents the amount of feathers, while the second refers to the down. The normal ranges for insulation are 70/30 to 80/20 to 90/10. Higher quality insulation will have a higher first number (down).
These three numbers are important in determining the effectiveness of insulation. A 70/30 ratio coat with a higher fill weight and lower down content means that more feathers have been used.
Although the coat is heavier and more bulky, there are far fewer heat trapping air pockets. You can have a lighter coat with a higher fill rate and 90/10 ratio. This will make it warmer and more compact.
Although down is an excellent insulation material, there are some drawbacks. It is also expensive and poses humane and environmental issues. It doesn’t lend itself to active wear, where moisture evaporation can be crucial. When it gets wet, down becomes compressed and loses its insulation properties. You will need to dry clean it.
- 3M THINSULATE
Many manufacturers use Thinsulate 3M synthetic fabric as an insulating material. This product is made up of extremely thin polyester fibers (15 micrometers) woven with high-density to trap heat and allow moisture to escape.
3M offers several versions that are flame resistant, stretchable, and other features. To describe the anti-odor and warmth inherent in their products, they use the term “precious metallic technology”.
- NORTH FACE THERMOBALL
Thermoball from North Face uses PrimaLoft’s synthetic down as insulation. It was created for the US military during the 1980s. It is made up of small, round fibers that are tightly twisted together. This traps heat in small air pockets. Natural down has the advantage of maintaining its loft (airiness) even in wet conditions.
It is lightweight and impervious to rain, snow, and damp.
- ARC’TERYX CORELOFT
Arc’teryx Coreloft insulation fabric is made from multi-sized, crimped Polyester fibers. It traps heat in air pockets. Because the fibers are larger, it’s possible to weave a looser weave. This makes it more breathable. It resists compaction in damp conditions because it uses different sizes of fibers.
Hydrophobic fibers repel moisture and dry quickly in wet conditions. It is quite expensive when compared to similar products. Coreloft’s lightweight and compressibility makes it easy to pack.
Other than North Face, garments contain Primaloft. This is another type of polyester insulation, but it uses microfibers in a sheet format to retain heat, air permeable, lofty, and soft.
It is also water-resistant and retains up to 98% heat even when wet. It is lightweight and compressible.
Polartec was one of the first manufacturers of synthetic fleece. Polartec fleece was developed by this company. Thermal Pro is one of the latest innovations from the company. The thermal pro’s inner lining is smooth and soft against the skin.
Thermal Pro has been used by companies like Patagonia, Moreno and others.
- GORE-TEX INFINIUM
Gore-Tex is still one of the most popular fabrics for outer layers. Gore-Tex was originally known for its flagship fabric, but they recently created Infinium. The membrane pores of this fabric are 700 times bigger than water vapor and provide superior waterproof protection.
It is made from a stretched porous form of polytetrafluoroethylene that is waterproof, windproof and durable. Gore-Tex Infinium’s effectiveness is so great that it is used in shoes, gloves and camping equipment as well as medical implants.
USE THESE FABRICS TO STAY WARM
No matter how warm your clothing choices may be, if they aren’t layered correctly, they won’t work. Silk, for instance, can act as an insulator due to its lightweight and breathability. However, it should only be worn as an inner layer and not as a top layer.
- The first layer of your skin should be able to wick moisture away from your skin and into the top layers, where it can evaporate. You’ll feel clammy and cold otherwise. Merino wool can also be used as a base layer. Pure cotton, however, retains moisture so it may not be the best choice for your base layer.
- The middle layer acts like an insulator. It traps heat but is breathable enough to keep you from overheating. Both wool and cotton have solid middle layers.
- The top layer must also be resistant to wind and moisture. It must be exposed to the elements. Your outer and middle layers are made up of a parka or down coat. The down insulation and Goretex or nylon exterior repel water and wind.
These fabrics are lightweight and portable, making it easier to move around. The fabrics are now even more efficient thanks to new technology. No matter if you’re running errands, or climbing mountains there’s no reason to not be comfortable, warm, and stylish.