Comfort is an abstract concept, but it depends on something very physical: your microclimate. A thin layer of protective air that surrounds you, your microclimate is as delicate as it is crucial. To preserve your microclimate – and therefore your comfort – we have spent years working to understand and overcome the processes that threaten it.
You feel convective cooling – better known as the wind chill effect – when cold wind blows through your garment, robbing your body of the warmth trapped in your microclimate. This is why being windproof is essential for a clothing system to be comfortable.
When water evaporates off your skin, it cools you down. That's why your body sweats during exercise – to prevent you from overheating. But if your clothes aren't breathable, moisture vapor can't escape, causing your sweat to stay on your skin.
Conduction is the transfer of heat from a warm object to a colder one. Just hold a snowball in your bare hand for a minute, and you quickly feel how the snowball draws heat from your warm hand. Wet clothing quickly conducts heat away from your warm, dry body. And it happens very fast – in fact, water transfers heat up to 23 times faster than air. This moisture can come from rain and snow on the outside or perspiration on the inside. In either case it can lead to rapid heat loss and explains why a fabric's ability to let sweat evaporate is as important as its waterproof protection.
Layering for Comfort:
Garments that can manage moisture, control heat transfer and protect you from the weather must work together. Wearing the proper clothing system will ensure the optimal combination of comfort and protection.
THE BASE LAYER – Worn next to the skin, this layer is made of non-absorbent fibers that "wick" liquid away from the skin.
THE INSULATING LAYER – Worn over the base layer, this layer keeps you warm. Synthetic insulators work better than natura fibers and retain some of their insulating ability even when wet.
THE WEATHER PROTECTION LAYER – This layer protects you against the elements while keeping the insulating layers dry. And it must be breathable to keep moisture from accumulating in the other layers.
© 2015 W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc. GORE-TEX®, GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY®, GORE®, WINDSTOPPER®, and designs are trademarks of W.L. Gore & Associates