Before you have time to build that first shelter, before you have the time to make a fire, and even before you have the time to figure out what you’re going to do next, your clothing is already working for you. Your clothing is your first shelter and therefore your primary defense against the elements. Yet despite its importance, most travelers don’t give clothing the attention it deserves. Remember that people have died simply because they wore the wrong clothing. Never underestimate the value of the right clothes.
In choosing clothing for your expedition or adventure, you need to ask yourself this question: “What does my clothing have to do?” It must protect you from wind and rain, from the dry, from the cold and the heat, from poisonous plants and creepy crawlies. It has to get you through the various stages of the day and the night and to be of a construction and weight that allows you to travel without it becoming a hassle.
Researching and planning what clothing you’re going to take with you on an adventure is as vital as any other preparation for your journey, including planning your route and the food required. What could be more important than the clothes on your back?
To figure out the most appropriate clothing to take, spend time talking with the people you know and try to get as much information as you can from people who have firsthand experience with the area you’ll be visiting or the activities you’ll be doing.
What you wear really depends on where you are going, the activity, and the season. But with few exceptions, layering is the best bet. With layering, which means three to five layers of clothing from your skin to your outer shell, you can strip down or dress back up again, depending on the weather and how you are feeling.
Layering is a hassle because it takes time to put on or take off several pieces of clothing to get warmer or cooler, but it could save your life. Perhaps the best thing layering does for you is to help prevent sweating, a factor critical to survival. Peeling off layers allows you to cool yourself down gradually as you work or travel, while still keeping as warm as you need to be.
Petersens Hunting – Les Stroud: How to Dress for Survival.