Preparing and dealing with hot weather is practically a sport in Singapore. When the temperature can be as stifling as 81 degrees Fahrenheit, keeping cool is a necessary skill.
Knowing how to keep warm, however, is a bit more unfamiliar for Singaporeans. This is because the coldest temperatures the typical Singaporean citizen has to struggle against probably comes from an air conditioner on full blast in the office.
In temperate countries like Singapore and neighboring Malaysia, no one has to bother with layering clothing to stay warm. Even in the midst of Singapore’s numerous reservoirs and forests, an insulated down jacket will usually be enough to keep you warm.
So how does one prepare for true cold? If you’re traveling abroad to a country during their Fall or Winter season, it’s important to pack proper gear. Chilly in Singapore registers at 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures in Japan, a popular year-end destination for Singaporeans, can go as low as 35 degrees Fahrenheit. Being prepared might spell the difference between an unforgettable holiday, and an uncomfortable trip that can either get you sick, or stuck in your hotel room.
You probably already have a basic idea of what to bring on a trip to somewhere cold. Jackets, long-sleeved shirts, and hats. Earmuffs, gloves, and scarves are probably low on the list of clothing to buy for most Singaporeans. However, when going to cold countries, these little peripheral accessories go a long way in protecting you from conditions like frostbite or chilblain, a type of skin irritation and inflammation caused by exposure to the cold.
The type of footwear you choose is also critical. Choose socks that are made of material that can trap heat but is breathable at the same time. Wool socks are comfortable, and are great for insulation. As for footwear, choose shoes that have traction and are waterproof, like winter boots. All terrain, heavy-duty boots with snow grips probably won’t be necessary unless you plan to hike on your trip.
Layering properly is crucial to staying warm in cold weather. People from tropical and temperate countries might not know how to layer properly. Back home, the question is how to best wearlessdue to the heat, not more.
The purpose of layering actually isn’t to get you to sweat. On the contrary, the objective is to stay dry, as sweating and moisture will increase your chances of getting hypothermia, or just plain uncomfortable.
The trick is to know what to wear for each layer. There are usually three layers of clothing involved, and people take off or wear more to maintain a stable body temperature.
- Layer 1: The first layer is generally made of the thinnest, lightest material. Called baselayer, these are usually long-sleeved pieces of clothing that dry fast and wick sweat away. Montane’s Primino Zip Neck protects up to your neck, and is made of Merino wool, making it soft and comfortable against the skin. Pair it up with Montane’s Primo Long Johns or Long Janes and you’re good to go.
- Layer 2: The midlayer is responsible for keeping you insulated and warm using your own body heat. Midlayer clothing is usually made of wool or polyester--materials that are great at trapping heat. Softshell fleece jackets work well as a middle layer option.
- Layer 3: The third layer and outer layer is usually an insulation jacket or a thick down jacket, designed to keep you warm even in the most frigid temperatures. Outer layer jackets release moisture and sweat vapour, and at the same time are great at keeping rain and water from entering. These are recommended when visiting cities that get really cold, like Toronto, where the temperature can dip below zero degrees.
- A water bottle: You may not be sweating, but you need water as much as you do in the cold as when you do during summer. A thermos that can keep your soup or drink hot for hours. A good water bottle will help you stay out in the cold for much longer.
- Lip balm: Cold air can wreak havoc on your lips, causing them to crack and bleed. Pack some lip balm and apply regularly to keep them moisturized.
- Sunscreen: The sun is closer to the Earth in the months of December through February. A good UVA/UVB blocking sunscreen is as invaluable in cool climates as it is on the beach.
- Lotion and moisturizer: Cold temperatures can dry out your skin quick, and result in painful rashes or irritations. Pack a tube of your favorite moisturizer to keep your skin healthy and hydrated.
- Sunglasses: The sun may not feel as harsh, but the glare from snow can be just as blinding and harmful to your eyes. A pair of sunglasses is good for any climate.
- Packing cubes: Dressing for the cold means packing more clothes to layer yourself with. Packing cubes can help keep your layers and accessories neat and organized.
Luggage for cold weather isn’t terribly different from your usual adventure backpacks. They should be durable, water-resistant (waterproof if climbing up snowy slopes is a part of your itinerary), and just the right size for the duration of your trip. You may also want to bring a smaller backpack where you can keep your essentials. There’s no fun in lugging around all your stuff when out on a day trip in the city! We have a great selection of compact and durable day packs that you can just stuff into your bigger pack when you’re done.
Travelling to colder countries can be a refreshing reprieve from the heat. Just make sure you’re properly packed, dressed, and prepared for it so you can fully enjoy your holiday without worrying about losing a digit to frostbite, or going home with terrible flu. Check out our Winter Sale for some great discounts on jackets, long-sleeved shirts, and winter accessories.