If you read this blog, you know I often post about topics that interest yoga practitioners. But not always.
Staying Dry Off the Mat
Yoga is not something I share with my husband or friends. Instead we bike or go for long walks.
These are activities well suited to the cool, damp fall and winter climate here in the Pacific Northwest.
They also encourage socializing while exercising — good for nurturing relationships and well-being on multiple levels.
Over the years we’ve gotten pretty particular about what we wear for long walks or hikes.
Before venturing outdoors, we check the weather forecast. We pay close attention to the impact a few degrees difference in temperature or humidity might make on our comfort or endurance. We’ve learned to avoid discomfort by ditching outerwear that’s not appropriate for the day’s weather forecast or precipitation.
When it comes to outerwear, we all pursue different strategies.
One friend, who has hiked daily for the past fifteen years, has invested in an assortment of jackets, vests, scarves and base layers. She chooses different sets for each step change in the weather. She has a highly skilled nose for the weather, so she usually picks just the right gear from her large assortment. (She also carries a small daypack with backup gear, in case the weather changes during her two-hour hikes.)
Down Is Not Always the Best Choice
Some of us look for the perfect compromise garment — something that spans a wide range of temperature conditions and humidity.
Despite the popularity of down sweaters and jackets, I’ve learned to avoid wearing them in weather that’s going to by chilly and damp — at least not when engaging in aerobic activities.
They’re a hassle to clean so I don’t like getting sweaty in my down jackets. For me down works best when I have to stand around in the cold weather, or run errands. (You can see why “soccer moms” love it so much!)
A New Love
Like my sisters and brothers I’m cursed with perspiration on long walks. Finding outerwear that keeps me warm and dry has always been a challenge. Over the years I’ve tried a bunch of high-tech performance fabrics, but none have succeeded in keeping me warm and dry while aerobic in chilly weather.
This year I’ve found a new love, at long last — the perfect jacket for aerobic walks on chilly days: Patagonia’s Nano-Air jacket.
Although designed for alpine climbers, this jacket performs exceptionally well during 3–5 mile walks up and down the hills that surround Seattle. It’s amazingly comfortable to wear, like a much-loved hoody, except lighter and much more breathable.
I’m delighted that I stumbled upon Patagonia’s Nano-Air jacket two months ago. It’s made a big difference this winter. This plus my FitBit help get my butt out of my office, out walking on many a chilly afternoon. (I’m dragging my husband along too, so it’s good for both of us!)
Nano-Air is amazingly breathable, so I’m less likely to get sweaty on active walks or hill climbs. And even when my arms or trunk do get wet, Nano-Air’s proprietary insulation is highly effective at wicking away the moisture. Such a new experience for me!
Reviewers have commented that the wind blows right through it, explaining that this is the downside to its extreme breathability. This is not a big issue for me.
I’ve worn it as is on multiple breezy days, but add a lightweight windbreak for windy conditions. Compared to most fleece jackets, I haven’t worried too much about wind stopping. The other day my husband put a windbreak over his fleece, and I was happy as could be in the Nano-Air.
The fabric is wonderful — light as air, stretchy, and soft to the touch. It reminds me of a lightweight silk comforter, despite being 100% synthetic. It’s slim, formfitting, and avoids the puffy look of so many down jackets.
Best of all, it’s easy and safe to clean in my washer. I’ve already washed it half a dozen times.
For me, it’s proven to be the perfect jacket for Pacific Northwest walks and hill climbs.
And yes, it’s expensive — but you can find it on sale right now, if you look carefully.