Chapter 7: SAR Clothing



        List at least three characteristics in the various natural and synthetic materials used in the construction of clothing as used in SAR. (p. 86-92)

        List three of the factors concerning heat transfer due to clothing construction and/or design. (p. 92-93)

        Describe the function of each of the following layers of clothing:

o        Underneath layer (p. 94-95)

o        Wicking layer (p. 95)

o        Clothing layer (p. 95-96)

o        Insulation layer (p. 96)

o        Shell layer (p. 96-98)

        Describe the proper SAR clothing to be used in various environmental conditions.

        Describe some advantages and disadvantages of various types of outdoor footwear.


I. Resources

PowerPoint slides, Chapter 7

Photos of fabrics, clothing layers, and environmental suggestions


II. Teaching Points

A. Clothing materials (p. 87)

1.      Natural (derived from plants or animals)

a.       Cotton

                                                                                                                                       i.      Quickly absorbs perspiration but dries slowly

                                                                                                                                     ii.      Heavyweight, tightly woven cottons are durable and abrasion resistant.

                                                                                                                                    iii.      Burns easily but does not melt

                                                                                                                                   iv.      Highly breathable

                                                                                                                                     v.      Freezes solid when wet in extreme cold

                                                                                                                                   vi.      When cut or torn into strips, can be used as a bandages, sling, fire starter

b.      Wool

                                                                                                                                       i.      Insulates even when wet

                                                                                                                                     ii.      Absorbs less moisture than any other natural fabric

                                                                                                                                    iii.      Burns very slowly

                                                                                                                                   iv.      Breathable and durable

c.       Silk

                                                                                                                                       i.      Absorbs and transports moisture away from the skin

                                                                                                                                     ii.      Good insulator

                                                                                                                                    iii.      Very comfortable against the skin

                                                                                                                                   iv.      Traps air well

                                                                                                                                     v.      Damaged by sunlight and perspiration

d.      Down

                                                                                                                                       i.      Excellent insulator when dry

                                                                                                                                     ii.      Lightweight and comfortable

                                                                                                                                    iii.      Some people are allergic to down.

                                                                                                                                   iv.      Will mildew when damp


2.      Synthetic (manmade) (p. 89)

a.       Nylon

                                                                                                                                       i.      High strength when wet

                                                                                                                                     ii.      Resistant to alkali, mildew, and insect damage.

                                                                                                                                    iii.      Excellent abrasion resistance

                                                                                                                                   iv.      Easy to wash and dry

                                                                                                                                     v.      Low moisture absorption

b.      Polypropylene

                                                                                                                                       i.      Dries rapidly and repels water

                                                                                                                                     ii.      Highest insulation power of any fiber

                                                                                                                                    iii.      Great wicking properties

                                                                                                                                   iv.      Lowest density of any fiber and even floats

                                                                                                                                     v.      Easy to care for and high abrasion resistance

                                                                                                                                   vi.      Melts and shrinks at relatively low temperatures; retains body odor

c.       Polyester

                                                                                                                                       i.      Second only to nylon in use for outdoor clothing and equipment

                                                                                                                                     ii.      Strong, durable, and inexpensive

                                                                                                                                    iii.      Comfortable; repels water

d.      Polartec

                                                                                                                                       i.      Fluffy, soft, and warm

                                                                                                                                     ii.      Popular insulation layer resistant to stretching and shrinking

                                                                                                                                    iii.      Strong and quick drying

                                                                                                                                   iv.      Abrasion, mildew, and wrinkle resistant

                                                                                                                                     v.      High melting point and chemical resistant

                                                                                                                                   vi.      Prolonged exposure to sunlight reduces strength.

e.       PolarGuard

                                                                                                                                       i.      Good insulator

                                                                                                                                     ii.      Moisture and rot resistant

                                                                                                                                    iii.      Non-allergenic, easily laundered, and less expensive than down

f.        Primaloft

                                                                                                                                       i.      Insulates well, even when wet

                                                                                                                                     ii.      Durable and easy to care for

g.       Dacron Hollofil I

                                                                                                                                       i.      Not as warm or compressible as PolarGuard or Quallofil but still a good insulator

                                                                                                                                     ii.      Lightweight; non-allergenic; fast drying; easily compacted; virtually nonabsorbent

h.       Quallofil

                                                                                                                                       i.      Made of polyester and dries about 10 times faster than down

                                                                                                                                     ii.      Good heat retention and better compressibility than Hollofil

i.         Thinsulate

                                                                                                                                       i.      Extremely efficient insulator per unit of thickness

                                                                                                                                     ii.      Does not absorb water

                                                                                                                                    iii.      Ideal garment insulators for pants and other clothing articles (thin, wonít interfere with function like high loft products can)

j.        Sontique

                                                                                                                                       i.      Softer feel than Thinsulate

                                                                                                                                     ii.      Does not absorb water

                                                                                                                                    iii.      Ideal garment insulators for pants and other clothing articles (thin, wonít interfere with function like high loft products can)


B. Heat loss and garment features† (p. 92)

  1. The rate of heat transfer through clothing depends on three factors:
    1. Quantity and thickness of dead air spaces trapped within the clothing and its layers

                                                               i.      For cold, still air conditions, thick layers of dead air spaces such as those found in dry down or other fluff-filled clothing are needed for warmth.

    1. Amount of air that passes through a material

                                                               i.      The more air that passes through the clothing, the greater the heat loss through convection and evaporation.

    1. Water and moisture

                                                               i.      Heat loss through wet clothing is generally very rapid because thermal conductivity of water is 24 times greater than still air.


C. The layer system (p. 93)

1.              Multiple, adjustable layers of garments that can easily be added or removed to suit the environment, weather conditions, and desired level of heat loss.

a.       Underneath layer

                                                               i.      For hygiene, discretion, and sometimes comfort

                                                             ii.      Briefs, boxers, bra, panties, undershirt, socks

b.      Wicking layer

                                                               i.      For moisture control and comfort against the skin

                                                             ii.      Long-johns, long underwear

c.       Clothing layer

                                                               i.      For insulation and moisture absorption

                                                             ii.      Shirt, pants, sweater, gloves, hat

d.      Insulation layer

                                                               i.      For trapping air between the wicking and shell layers

                                                             ii.      Sweater, jacket, parka, coveralls, mittens, face masks

e.       Shell layer

                                                               i.      For protection against wind, sun, sand, rain and snow

                                                             ii.      Waterproof shell, coat with hood


D. The BUBU criteria

  1. Big
  2. Unconstricting
  3. Baggy
  4. Ugly


E. Cold weather clothing

  1. Insulation fibers such as fleece or wool
  2. Hydrophobic
  3. Fibers that wick away moisture from head and face
  4. Protect entire face and head
  5. When your feet are cold, put on a hat.
  6. Wear darker clothing in winter to absorb the sunís heat.
  7. Overlap adjacent garments to prevent exposure of bare skin (e.g., gloves and jacket, jacket and trousers, jacket and headwear)
  8. Hat to protect from heat loss
  9. Close-weave, windproof shell is essential.
  10. Silk is useful as inside layer in cold weather.


F. Hot weather clothing

  1. Hat to reflect sun away from head, provide shade, and promote circulation of air
  2. Sunglasses
  3. Wear fibers that promote circulation of air beneath layers.
  4. Cotton fabrics
  5. Light colors


G. SAR footwear (p. 100)

1. Important factors

    1. Fit/comfort
    2. Stability/support
    3. Durability
    4. Traction
    5. Protection from the elements

2.              For most SAR operations, high-top, mid-height hiking shoes or light mountaineering boots should be adequate.†

3.              Technical terrain requires specialized footwearĺconsult a professional.