The outdoors are a wonderful place to spend time exercising. The fresh air, the scenery and the sun add so much to our well-being. We’ve had a previous article on the benefits of working out in the outdoors, however, mother nature can take its toll on you.
Here are some of our favorite functional outdoor apparel to keep you fit and happy, from outdoor recreation facilities to national parks and beyond:
1) Breathable Layers: Depending on the weather, you’ll want different layers. Breathable layers come in handy, during the summer months, but they can also be great as a base layer in the winter. The best type of base layer has a combination of breathability with insulation. It might seem counterintuitive but, when your body heat rises, you’ll be glad your insulation isn’t overly severe. You’ll know what we mean, if you’ve ever tried working out wearing a rubber raincoat.
2) Waterproofing: There are different levels of “waterproof” that are measured in mm. 0-5000 mm would be able to withstand light rain, dry snow, and no pressure, whereas 20,000 mm and higher would withstand heavy rain, wet snow and high pressure. If you’re looking for an extremely high level of waterproofness, make sure your seams are sealed. This is especially helpful in oceanside parks, particularly in the Pacific Northwest.
3) Warmth: When it’s cold, you’ll want to make sure you’re utilizing a good layering system. The typical system involves a breathable base layer, which is in direct contact with your skin, which will wick away sweat. The mid-layer needs to keep the heat generated by your body; wool and synthetics are preferable, as their fibre structures are great at trapping heat.
"Proper apparel can make or break your outdoor activities. Plan ahead for the season, to start dry and comfortable." (Photo by True New Zealand Adventure Tours, used under CC)
4) Undergarment Essentials: Socks and underwear are part of your base layer. This means that, for high performance or extreme weather conditions, you will want to make sure these layers aren’t skimped on. One fabric that is gaining popularity is merino wool specifically designed for athletic use. It has natural bacteria killing properties, it’s extremely breathable, and it’s very comfortable.
5) Footwear: Never underestimate the importance of proper footwear. A good quality shoe or boot will give you structure and support, keeping you safe and comfortable. On top of that, uncomfortable shoes or overly heavy boots are draining, especially on long treks. High quality footwear built for outdoor activities should last years, with minor repairs and good maintenance. In the long run, it will also save on purchasing multiple pairs and is more environmentally sustainable.
What’s one piece of apparel that you couldn’t live without?