Keeping Dry and Staying Warm: Content:

Book Cover

Book Cover

Introductory video for Keeping Dry and Staying Warm. All modules are supported by introductory videos (these will be added to contents progressively), commissioned diagrams and training posters.

Our approach.

Our book is based on very carefully researched ‘first principles’ and ‘core’ and ‘emerging’ technologies, plus layering best practices.

First principles in garments include:  moisture management principles based on surface tension and capillary action,which apply to all layers and all garment types and all brands; human physiology, how our bodies work; thermal conductivity of all materials.

Core technologies are those which are tried and trusted and include garment construction methods plus the materials; polymers, fibres, coatings, laminates, textiles, finishes.

Emerging technologies  sometimes look as though they will succeed, but might then slip and fail or be repositioned in performance claims from real world reactions and testing. With global warming, an increasing proportion of innovations are about sustainability. The fibre and textile chapters have insights into the sustainability aspects of the processes used. Outdoor product consumers have a high expectation of their favourite brands.  We make understanding the sustainability product launches a little clearer, and highlight their relative importance

7 pillars

7 pillars

Above, in graphic form are all the elements behind our analysis. We demonstrate the way innovation in fibres, fabrics and garment construction are synergised and combined into functional, high performance products by the garment makers’ design function.


Climbing jacket

Climbing jacket

1.1 Garment size, grade and fit.  Fit matters. It is more complex than on the label and affects fitness for purpose. Introductory video
1.2 Tailoring for Function.
‘Tailoring’ is vital to the way a garment is shaped, and personal needs vary between sports. Introductory video
1.3 Hoods.  Is this hood suitable for my chosen activity? This is a key question to ask when purchasing a jacket. But how to distinguish between hoods? Introductory video


2.1 Garment Types.  How to recognise each type amongst the sea of garments on display, what it does, what it doesn’t do, and what you get for your money. Introductory video
2.2 Garment Construction. Understanding how garments function and perform is easier with some knowledge of stitching and seams. These affect the garment’s ability to keep you dry and warm.
2.3 Repair, Reuse, Recycle.  You may need to fix/mend an item on the go. This module shows you what you can use. It updates you on initiatives encouraging reuse, recycling and repair and some reactions.


Layering choices for TGO Challenge

Layering choices for TGO Challenge

We look well beyond the 3 layer system and explain how your active layering choices help control your mobile environment. We engage you in a ‘battle of understanding’ for moisture management.


Polymer maze

Polymer maze

4.1 Introducing the key polymers and fibres. This module is about finding your way through the polymer maze to better appreciate how your gear functions, as fibres are the key building blocks of all gear.The textile information in Chapters 4 and 5 is applicable to all textile equipment, including sleeping bags, tents and packs. Sustainability is also dealt with here.

4.2 Clever Fibre Combinations and Some Technical Stuff. Combinations of fibres can make better garments. By looking more closely at such mysteries as denier gradient fabrics and what fibre weights mean, and bi-component fabrics, we help you better understand garment performance.

Chapter 5: Textiles

5.1 Textile Recognition and Function.

There are only 4 different fabric types: woven, knitted, non-woven and braided.The inner fibre label won’t tell you the fabric type, so visual recognition is crucial to understanding function.
5.2  Coatings and Laminates. This module is all about making garments waterproof. We distinguish between coatings and laminates and we explain the changing approaches through time and with different materials.
5.3  Air Permeability. This module clarifies the meaning of windproof in waterproofs, insulated garments, windproof shells and softshell. This is to ensure the user chooses correctly. With so many garment types, making the wrong choice has never been easier!
5.4  Insulation Materials. Air is the key insulator in our layering; the so called ‘insulation’ materials are simply methods of holding multiple small pockets of air and also removing sweat as water.

Chapter 6: Staying Dry Inside and Out: Moisture management in garment layers.

Keeping warm is often about keeping dry. Keeping dry is all about moisture management, of the rain outside and sweat inside through pro-actively managing your layers.

Keeping dry inside and out

Keeping warm and dry inside and out

Chapter 7: Technical Overview : Softshell, Insulated Garments, Hardshell.

7.1 Softshell.  This module looks at the origins of softshell, what it was conceived to do, how it has developed, how to recognise it and use it.


7.2 Insulated Garments. This module examines the variety of insulated garments including those using down, non woven and knitted insulation materials, exploring their differing performance and functionality.


7.3 Waterproof Garments Overview. There are now hundreds of different waterproof/mvtr jacket systems but only 6 different types involving differing processes, price points and performance. How to navigate through the mysterious words to make informed choices?

Chapter 8: Human Physiology: How our Bodies react to Heat and Cold.

This chapter explores how our bodies work when reacting to heat and cold and how we can help ourselves when we recognise what is happening or about to happen.


Chapter 9:  How we Gain or Lose Heat from Our Garments and Surroundings.

We explain the 5 mechanisms of heat loss or gain:  Conduction, Convection, Radiation, Evaporation and Respiration.

Chapters 10/11/12 Layering for Life.

Alan Hinkes

Alan Hinkes, High Altitude layering

How you layer for all key outdoor activities, the differences and why. This includes: high altitude and polar usage; layering for going to the toilet; layering for bivouacking and group shelters.




Find out how this book supports our training course. 

Find out more about the history of the waterproof jacket

Return to Publications