Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Winter Plein Air Painter’s Gear III–Clothing (Outer layers)

This is the third post in a series that will take on clothing as well as painting gear for winter.
In my last post I focused on the middle layers. Here we will focus on the outer layers:


Clothing: Outer layers.


We finally get to the outer layers. The whole point of the outer layers is to block wind, water and cold from making it to the middle and inner layers. I use two zippered layers here. One is a heavy windbreaker that cuts wind and the outer most layer is a sky jacket that I have had for over 10 years. In researching the company that made this jacket, it seems to be out of business now but the name is Board Dokter ( the link is dead. It is a great jacket. Thin but very well insulated and has served me very well. The outer skin is water and wind proof and it has many pockets and bells and whistles such as arm pit zippers and waist and bottom adjustable pulls to keep the wind and cold out. The hood from this jacket is the last thing that goes on top of my hats. If needed the hood closes very well allowing for only the eyes to be exposed. A good thing to have although I wouldn’t be out painting if the weather is that bad. You can use down jackets here and many people do, but I don’t like the bulky thickness that comes with them. I would recommend more modern material than down for this outer layer.

For my head cover I use either a woollen Tooke that covers my ears or a rabbit fur hat that also has flaps to cover the ears. This fur hat is the best buy I made. It keeps so much heat in that inevitably I have to remove it from time to time just to regulate by body heat. I would highly recommend it. Since most of the zippered layers that I have zip all the way up to the chin, I don’t add another scarf to the gear. You may want to think about that though if your layers don’t provide enough neck and chest protection.

For my hands I use two sets of mittens one closed and the other cut at the finger tips. I also use woollen socks over these and thread brushes through the wool to feel them inside the sock. (This is a trick the Group of Seven used when they went out painting in winter).


I use a thin nylon shell as a bottom outer layer. It serves two purposes: It keeps the wind out and keeps all moisture out too. I often kneel to adjust my gear and you don’t want a wet knee when you are out in the snow.

Last but not least are thinsulate high boots good to –45c.

Again shingle the layers to avoid wind and cold seeping in. I place all the zippered middle layers under the nylon bottom shell and place the legs in the boots. Tighten the pulls on the outer jackets and velcro the sleeves tight over the mittens. (the sleeves from the middle and inner layers go under the mittens).

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