Deciding What To Wear In The Wilderness | Survival Clothing

Survival Clothing

When it comes to body temperature, your body needs to keep the body temperature between 97 to 88 degrees constantly.

Your clothing plays a vital role in accomplishing this, and having clothing ready for the wilderness will help you protect against the surrounding environment.

While in the wilderness, their loose-fitting layers will be your protection against the heat and cold.

What do you wear to the wilderness? You need a layer for your inside to insulate yourself, like down fabric and polyester fabrics that can help you pull moisture out. Get some wool fabrics to protect you from the wind and outdoor elements found in the wilderness.

Learn some tips on the proper survival clothing if you find yourself wild in this article. It is essential to be aware of all of these to help your body protect against outside forces of nature.


What makes clothing successful is its effectiveness in protecting the wearer from the elements outside and insulating the body by trapping body heat.

There are countless variations on these themes, and many brands offer to be the most effective but clearly, not all of them pass during their test in the wild.

For starters, if you are considered adequate survival clothing, you need to break down what parts of the body you need to cover up.

Then you can decide what conditions you will be dealing with in your expedition. Here are some of the major areas you should be protecting.

It includes your core, hands, feet, legs, head, and neck, and each of these areas needs to be considered both together and in separate scenarios.

Also, it would help if you considered what scenarios and environment you will be facing as context is a large part of what will work.

It is because wearing a thick silk shirt in the arctic weather would be as ineffective as wearing thick wool in a deserted place. It is handy to know the clothing appropriation and what specific layers need to be broken down.

Base layers are usually worn directly next to your skin, and outer layers are generally exposed to the elements. Layering is essential and effective in dealing with cold and climates that fluctuate rapidly.

Here are a few pointers that you should be considering when you are out in the wilderness:

  1. Wear one layer to insulate yourself from the heat or cold, as this first layer will be the one responsible for trapping the heat.

  2. Wear another layer to pull moisture away from your body, and this is also known as the wicking layer. You need to know that usually wet clothes create more heat compared to dry ones.

  3. Wear another layer known as the outer layer as this layer will be responsible for protecting you from the outside elements. It can be in the form of rain, snow, wind, and the sun’s harmful UV rays.

  4. When you wear multiple layers, you need to understand that you also need to remove layers and put them back on. It is to help your body maintain an average body temperature in case there is a sudden change in the climate.

Choosing Appropriate Fabrics

Fabrics can be categorized into two, the first one is the natural fabric and the second one is the synthetic ones. These fabrics are the best for cold or hot climates, and some fabrics are better in wet or dry climates. 

For instance, wool is the best fabric to use as an outer layer in many cold climates. Here are among the natural and synthetic fabrics that you should get familiarized with on how and when to wear them:

  • Cotton – Cotton is not ideal for wearing when it comes to the wilderness, as when it gets wet, it loses all of its insulating capabilities. It also does a little to pull away all the moisture from your body, and when it gets wet, it will only take forever to get dry. Cotton is considered a natural fabric but having cotton get wet can be a little heavy for some time, so do not wear it.

  • Down – Down is considered lightweight, and it is a perfect example of a good fabric that can be a good insulator. With that being said, it is a lot like cotton in that it is no good to you when it becomes wet.

    When certain feathers become wet, they usually clump together, and they can no longer trap dead air. If you are planning to use down as your fabric, only use it in many dry climates as this is a natural fabric like cotton as well.

  • Wool – Compared to cotton and down, wool is still a good insulator regardless if it’s wet or not, and it is also a natural fabric. The only problem is that it can also retain its moisture, and it can be heavy when it is wet. Wool is the perfect fabric for an outer layer because it can protect you from the wind.

  • Polyester And Polypropylene – Polyester and polypropylene are good examples of synthetic fabrics, and they work best as either a wicking or insulating layer. When they become wet, it gets quickly dry, and they are considered to make good insulators. It is not good to use these fabrics as an outer shell because they are not the best kind of protecting yourself from the wind.

  • Quallofil, Polarguard, And Hollofi – Another excellent example of synthetic fabrics are Quallofil, Polarguard, and Hollofi, and they are commonly used in many sleeping bags.

    These materials are also being used in making heavy parkas because they can trap dead air and provide good insulation. If these materials get wet, they tend to dry up quickly, but they will keep most of their insulation properties while being wet.

  • Primaloft, Thinsulate, And Microloft – These are other kinds of synthetic fabrics and are very lightweight, and as a matter of fact, they are excellent insulators. Microlift and Primaloft are mainly used in sleeping bags as alternatives to down. On the other hand, Thinsulate is commonly used in many clothing lines, but all three remain good insulators when wet.

  • Nylon – Nylon is a popular material most commonly used in rain, wind garments, mittens, and even parkas. It is used primarily on shirts to make them lightweight and even breathable, but with that being said, it is not considered waterproof.

    If you buy a waterproof nylon garment, you can know that the manufacturer has added some waterproof coating. It includes polyurethane, and with that said, you need to be careful when buying shorts with this compound because they do not allow moisture to escape.

About Breathable Fabrics

When buying breathable fabrics, you need to remember that they are only breathable if the pores of these are kept clean and free of dirt. You must follow the instructions on each tag to clean most of these fabrics.

Additionally, moisture cannot escape even if there is a breathable fabric in your clothing if you sweat a lot. It is why it is essential to wear multiple layers of fabrics depending on the environment or surrounding you are in.

Deciding What To Wear In The Outdoors

When deciding what to wear while you are to embark in the wilderness, you need always to remember the loose and layered rule.

The first layer will always go against your skin, and it should be made out of fabric that can pull moisture out. The second layer will be insulating, and the third one will be responsible for shielding you from precipitation and the wind.

This will allow you to determine what type of clothing you will be wearing, but it will not cover the articles of clothing. Here are among the articles of clothing that you may be needed in case you are up for an adventure:

Parka And Rain Pants

Parka and rain pants will be the ones responsible for protecting you from precipitation and wind, and they are typically made from nylon with polyurethane coating.

These types of coating are laminated waterproof membrane that makes it still breathable. Parkas can also come with some insulating garments like zips inside and even blankets.

You need to make sure that your parka is big enough for an additional layer to fit in. If the parka has some zippers, ensure the zipper also has some polyester teeth and backing behind the zipper to help it insulate.

Openings in most parka should be at your wrists, under your arms, your wait, and in the front.

Rain pants should also have some openings on the outside of the lower legs and in the font. Seams in both parkas and rain pants are needed to be well bonded or taped correctly so that the moisture cannot get through. 


Footwear is generally essential as they are the one that will protect your feet and whenever you purchase a new pair of boots, ensure to break them in before you leave.

The boots will also vary depending on your destination and the purpose of travel. Leather boots are known to be all-purpose boots, and you may want to treat them with some waterproofing material.

But usually, leather boots will come in handy as they can protect your feet in many conditions.

If you’re going to a place with a hotter climate, you might consider wearing a lightweight leather and fabric boot. These are much lighter than regular boots, and they can also dry fast enough if they get wet.

The only possible problem with these types of boots is that moisture soaks through the fabric.

Some boots also typically do not offer as much stability for your ankles, so you might want to consider it carefully. Rubber boots, on the other hand, are often used for extreme cold or extreme wet climates.

These boots have nylon uppers along with molded rubber bottoms. They typically have some removable felt inner boot for your convenience.


Gaiters, if you are not familiar with it, are worn over your shoes, and they cover the shoe and your lower pants leg.

As a result, they added more protection in keeping you safe from all the outdoor elements like insects, underbrush, and even moisture. You can find ones in the market, but the most common materials used for this one are Gore-Tex.


Socks are another essential clothing, and it serves as an additional layer to your clothing. When selecting socks, you need to consider the type that can absorb moisture and pull it away from your skin.

Also, you will want to pick socks that will give you proper insulation and reduce friction at the same time. The ideal fabric for socks is polyester, nylon, wool, or even acrylic, and just as with clothing. You want to avoid cotton socks.

It is excellent to layer your socks the same way you layer your clothing, and the first layer should pull all the moisture away. Polyester or silk is probably suitable for this, and the second layer should insulate your feet like wool or synthetic blend.

Gloves And Mittens

In a cold climate, you can lose a lot of heat through your hands. This is why it is crucial to make sure you are taking care of it. Having to wear gloves or a mitten in colder climates is probably your best solution.

Gloves allow you to use your fingers so you won’t have to do whatever you need to do with your bare hands.

Mittens, on the other hand, will keep your hands warmer by using your body heat. Choose gloves or mittens based on the task that you will probably do in the wilderness.

You need to consider the climate and the weather, and just as with clothing, you can select different fabrics to help you meet your needs.

Rain Hats

Rain hats are made from either nylon fabrics or another insulating material with nylon outer covering. Having insulated ear flaps on the rain hat can make it even better for colder climates and even wet weather.

For most cold weather, select a rain hat made from polypropylene, polyester fleece, or wool. A watch cap or a balaclava usually is your best option. It is because balaclava will protect your head, ears, and even neck from all the elements.

For warmer climates, you need to get a rain hat made from lightweight nylon. There are plenty of examples of this, like

Sahara, which basically drapes your neck and the wide-brimmed bush hat. These hats will protect you from harmful UV rays and will reduce the amount of heat you lose from your head.

Improvising For Articles Of Clothing

Having suitable proper clothing will help you survive in the wild, and having all the things mentioned above will elevate your overall experience.

If you find yourself in the wilderness and discover that you are missing items you need, you can always improvise. It might not be the best choice, but you can find things using resources found in nature:

Improvised Shoes

If your shoes become wet, you can dry them by fire, but you still need to protect your feet while drying out your shoes. You can achieve this by using your socks as well as feathers or some dry grass.

To do this, you need to put on a clean pair of socks on your feet as the inner layer. Place your dried grass or feathers between the inner layer of socks and add another layer of socks.

The grass of feathers will act as your insulator, and using nylon or rubber material will be the best choice for the outer layer. Secure them by placing cords around the feet and your ankles.

Improvised Gaiters

If you do not have any gaiters, you can improvise using some of the canvas, nylon, or poncho material around your lower leg.

This material will be able to cover you from below the ankle to the top of your calf. Then using a cord, you can hold it in place, and then you have your improvised gaiters.

Improvised Sunglasses And Goggles

If you lose your sunglasses or goggles, you can still use bark, webbing, or leather to make one pair. Just cut a strip as long and wide as you need to cover both of your eyes, then cut horizontal slits on the places where the material is over your eyes.

Use the line to attach to the side of the goggles. In this way, you can secure them on your face by tying them around your head.


Overall, you need to prepare many pieces of clothing when you are planning to have an adventure in the wild. Proper layering is the key to protecting yourself from all the outside elements found in the surrounding.

Make sure you have at least three layers to protect you and find the correct fabric so you get the best out of them.