In cold weather appropriate clothing is necessary to maintain the proper heat balance. In winter sports such as skiing, biathlon and orienteering heat production is high, and the main emphasis should be placed on the protection of fingers, feet, ears and nose against local cooling and frostbite. An additional problem due to the unavoidable sweating is the transport of the moisture away from the skin and through the clothing. New synthetic fibers allow sweat to pass through the textile, but they are not suitable in events in which heat production is smaller, such as mountaineering or trekking. In cross-country skiing competitions the metabolic rate exceeds 1500 W; in this situation clothing with an insulation value of 1-1.5 clo units is sufficient at the temperature of -20 °C. At the same temperature a resting subject needs an insulation of 5-6 clo units. (The clo unit is defined by the insulation value of traditional indoor clothing; 1 clo = 0.155 m2-°C/W. See also [9].) This great variation in required insulation between rest and activity is a problem for people who have accidents or get tired during outdoor activities in cold climates. Furthermore, clothing soaked by rain loses its thermal insulation properties and presents a serious thermoregulatory problem in cold and windy conditions [10]. Enough (and dry) clothing must be brought along! The IREQindex [11] makes it possible to calculate the cold protective clothing needed for any combination of activity level and climatic variables.

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