Clothing, the key principal
here is layering. It is better to have several layers that way you can put on
or take off to suit the prevailing weather conditions and level of activity.
This layering system is also warmer than a single thick piece of clothing
because it traps more air than the single garment. And it is the trapped
warm air that keeps you insulated from the cold. Bear in mind though that
you will need a wind proof layer to prevent all that warm air from being
blown away and that's where your waterproofs come in. The other thing to
consider is which parts of the body lose the most heat, The head loses 40%
of the bodies heat, the thighs lose 20% during activity and the trunk loses
up to 20%. So by simply warring a warm hat and scarf you can keep your self
a lot warmer. Also, psychologically if you have warm feet you will feel
warm all over.
Next to the skin have a wicking layer that draws sweat away
from the body so that when you stop or slow the level of activity down you
don't get that cold and clammy feeling that will rapidly cool you down.
On top of this wear a thin to medium layer such as a shirt which helps to pass the
moisture to the outer layer. Finally a fleece or similar to trap warm air.
Trousers, manmade or cotton trousers, salopettes, breeches or track suit
bottoms are fine. Definitely not jeans because they don't offer much warmth, and once wet they stay
wet and restrict movement.
Materials, wool is a natural fiber that stays warm when wet
but it is difficult to find a fleece made from wool with a zip that isn't
expensive and designed for use on the mountains. Also wool is difficult
to care for. Down, is a natural material and is still the best insulating
material around and is very light. So weight for weight you can't beat it
until it becomes wet and then its performance drops drastically. So if you
use down you must keep it dry. Down comes in various grades from relatively
cheap factory farmed chicken down to expensive snow goose down. It is used
in sleeping bags, duvet jackets and salopettes.