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Wet weather gear and layering – how to stay dry and warm without discomfort

The key to staying comfortable in wet, cold or windy conditions is not always about what you’re wearing on the outside. Of course, it’s crucial to have wet weather gear that is 100% waterproof to keep the rain out, and to wear clothing that has the right qualities to keep you warm enough.

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However, what many people forget when buying wet weather gear is the importance of layering. Get it right, and your crew will be comfortable, warm and dry all day long – able to get on with their workload without complaints about their gear or the conditions. Get it wrong, and your team can overheat and complain that their clothing causes itchiness, discomfort and excessive sweating. Needless to say, the second outcome means that not much will get done.

So, what is the secret to layering properly with wet weather gear? Here are our top tips:

Follow the layering system

There’s a simple system you can follow when teaching your team about layering for optimum comfort at work. It involves these three principle layers:

  1. The base layer – this is worn right next to the skin to create a thin layer of warm air, which helps to regulate body temperature and divert moisture away. Cotton should be avoided as a base layer as it absorbs sweat and stays moist, which is not only uncomfortable but can also draw the heat away and make you feel cold. Man-made fibres or wool will work well instead, although be careful not to choose anything too heavy.
  2. The mid layer – this traps the warmth generating by your body and can also be an outer layer if the weather is dry. Fleece, softshells and lighter jackets are all good mid layers.
  3. The outer layer – also known as the shell, this is the waterproof layer that protects you against the elements.


Choose breathable materials every time

With all of the layers above, it’s absolutely essential to choose materials that are breathable. These ventilate the wearer and stop them from becoming too hot or perspiring too much, as well as preventing condensation inside the wet weather gear. Breathable wet weather gear lets the air circulate and regulates temperature, which keeps your team comfortable all day.

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Adjust layers to the conditions

The beauty of having three layers on is that your crew are prepared for any weather. You don’t need to buy separate sets of gear for different weather conditions or seasons. If the weather is warm and dry, the base layer only can be worn. In colder conditions without any rain, the base and mid layer will be perfectly adequate. If the heavens open or you’re working in extreme conditions, all three layers with the waterproof outer shell on top should protect you from the worst of the wind, rain and cold.

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