To layer or not to layer? Keeping warm in the winter when riding out and working on the yard can be a complicated business. With modern winter temperatures often changing from day to day, and less and less â€˜seasonal averageâ€™ temperatures that allow you to plan what to wear, you have to decide whether to go for just a single all purpose coat or to layer up, so you can take clothes off if you get too warm.
Looking at all the variables, layering is probably the most practical and versatile option.
In an ideal world, the first layer should be close fitting and comfortable without being restrictive. The idea is to trap warm air close to your body, so it needs to be breathable to keep you at a comfortable temperature. For this layer it is best to avoid cotton which soaks up moisture thereby possibly leaving you open to a chill if you remove outer layers.
This next layer should also provide warmth and insulation and again should be lightweight and breathable. Gilets are a popular choice for this layer, with a down or synthetic filling. Whatever you choose, again make sure it fits well but doesn't restrict your movement. If you remove your outer layer it is this garment which will have to take over, so it has to be the most versatile of your choices.
This final layer is the one that does the heavy lifting, keeping out the wind and the rain, whilst keeping you warm and allowing freedom of movement. For this you need to choose a good quality coat or jacket thatâ€™s waterproof (as opposed to water repelling), windproof and breathable. Make sure you can fit it over all your other layers comfortably, so when you first try the jacket on wear the other layers as well so you can check it doesn't restrict your movement.
When choosing the perfect outer jacket, look for practical features such as a removable hood and riding vents for that added versatility.
When you have made your final decision, why not apply a similar layering system to your bottom half too, starting with a pair of tights, then long johns before you finish with the riding breeches.
Whatever you decide, modern materials allow you to choose equestrian clothing that is all the things you need. Modern developments have spawned a generation of clothing that is waterproof, breathable, antibacterial and easy care â€“ a great combination of attributes for practical working clothes.
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