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There was a time when thermals were items of clothing worn by the elderly and not always associated with clean living. Those of you old enough to remember Steptoe and Son will form an unfortunate mental picture of life in thermals. Disgusting!... You dirty old man!
Long Johns have been worn for as long as I can remember and matching vests or indeed all-in-ones with a flap at the back have always been available but never been sold in huge numbers. Thesedays however, you are likely to see adverts for thermals in magazines and catalogues and sold on offer in shops such as Lidl or Aldi. The models for these are not old gits, rather smiling young professionals at ease in their matching thermals, suggesting that the stereotypical user has changed and that the stigma previously associated with the wearing of thermals has gone.
To me, that's a good thing and especially so after the winter we have just had (or are still having!) The fact is that thermals keep you warm and more and more of us are happy to wear them. It is no longer the preserve of outdoor workers, many of whom have been going to work in their wife's tights for years, but almost a fashion item in itself.
Energy bills are getting higher. Global warming appears to mean global freezing if the last few months are anything to go by. Too many girls are stick thin and don't have much padding to keep them warm, so anything which helps to keep in our body heat has to make sense. (By the way, girls, what's the point in putting your expensive furry Uggs on (which in my opinion look awful anyway), if you venture out with a huge expanse of chest on display - you see this quite a lot, don't you? For goodness sake, cover them up; we don't mind your being a bit more revealing when it's a bit warmer, but in this weather, put them into hibernation for a few weeks more. End of lecture.)
When we go out wrapped up as we do, it really doesn't matter what we wear underneath and with thermals thesedays being available as seamless and tight-fitting options, they represent an excellent choice for those of us who like to be warm.....and that's just about all of us, I think.
If all you are doing is padding around the house all day, it hardly makes sense to do so in T-shirt and shorts with the heating on at full blast. No, far better to get yourself a good pair of thermals on and then slip on a thinner and then a thicker jumper and a warm pair of trousers and thick pair of socks. You don't have to look like The Michelin Man and can still look good and stay warm.
Being well wrapped up will help to protect you from all the colds and chills our Mums used to warn us we would catch if we went out inappropriately dressed. This advice seems to have fallen on deaf ears to many lads and lasses when on a night out, when it seems that anything goes. And as for those fat-bellied bare-chested Geordies often filmed at the footie matches? (Mostly men, it has to be said!) Well, that's not being hard - it's just stupid, isn't it?
We all also have a responsibility to ensure that our elderly relatives and neighbours are well-wrapped up against the cold and thermals have always been and will always be an excellent option for the elderly who tend not to be as active as the rest of us and feel the cold much more.
In the winter of early 2000, I led a shallow cold existence, wondering through life with little or no final goal or achievement to aim for. In the past I had based my life on an attempt to find enlightenment at the base of religion, commercialism, Marxism, fascism and many other sources of the spiritually sound. Having delved into all these aspects however, I discovered the essential shallowness at the centre of every one of these endeavours and finally began to admit defeat at their hands. That is however, until I found the transcendental, untimely goal, of spiritual joy that is the Thorlo Hiker sock. Never had I discovered a company that based it's principles so heavily on the centre of life's sole foundation. I'm talking of course about the Ball / Heel padding benefits that every sock manufacture strives for. These High-density pads protect against shock, impact, and blisters for years after purchase creating a whole new religion of foot encompassing ecstasy never before discovered. This sock releases you to a whole new walk of life that you never knew you longed for before now. Life without this sock is now so unintelligible that to survive without it once your feet's thirst has been quenched would be a journey on the road to suicide. If I haven't convinced you enough of the value of these sock's existence then please allow me to tell more. The Low-density pads protect toes and cushions instep against lace pressure and boot folds allowing pain free walking for the eternity your feet desire. You can't believe how much your life will improve after having taken your fill from the fountain that is Thorlo Socks. They have Vapour Wicking Coolmax™, which moves all moisture away from the foot, and out of the shoe leaving your feet comfortably dry all day long. This revolution in sock design is a monumental step forward for mankind. In the past people thought the moonwalk was revolutionary, and the invention
of the wheel mankind’s great achievement. But how many people can say proudly with their head held high: “I’ve made his feet feel good”
Allow me to take you back dear reader a number of years to Valentines morning 1998. Picture the scene if you will, a young lady awakes to find her boy friend placing a breakfast tray of orange, champagne, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, a vase with a single red rose and a card addressed to her. Smiling they exchange a kiss and he produces a box tied with a red ribbon. Her thoughts go back a week to the Saturday night, a little tipsy, when she happened to mention that lingerie from Agent Provocateur would make her hot baby!!! Now picture the scene 5 minutes later when she unwraps the box to discover it contains not Agent Provocateur but a pair of long johns and some hiking boots!!!!! Well my thoughts when she said make me hot baby were with our camping trip to Wales at the end of the month!!!! Now personally I think she was being most ungracious as these were no ordinary set of “Long Johns”, oh no, not your everyday BHS / Marks and Spencer type thermals. These were as issued by NATO to our boys in the front line, God Bless ‘Em, when they are posted for Arctic training. These thermals were guaranteed to make her hot even at –30 degrees!! You see these thermals were no ordinary thermals: Brief History Traditionally thermal underwear has been constructed of polyester, now this was a great fibre, until 1954 when Professor Guilo Natta created polypropylene which of course is the material that these thermals were constructed from. So what is Polypropylene Polypropylene fibre is the lightest known fibre, and has the lowest density of any fibre, thus it is 50% lighter than the equivalent polyester. The advantage of this is that the garment does not restrict movement as much as the equivalent polyester one would. (Guess who has been reading up eh?? Thanks Everwarm for the information) Ok so why does this keep me warm? Well to keep you w
arm first off the suit (now I am no cheap skate did I just buy the long johns? oh no I bought the fully body suit, flap and everything, well didn’t want her catching a chill!) must be a snug fit, this traps a layer of warm air against the skin. Easy eh? But I hear you say surely if I sweat through exertion I will get cold? This is wear the real beauty of this suit comes in and what we are talking about here is Wicking, wicking I hear you ask, yes Wicking! So what is Wicking? Imagine that each layer of fabric that this suit is constructed from has lots of tiny tiny microscopically small holes in. Now imagine that several layers of this material are squashed together but not so the holes are aligned e.g. each hole faces a solid bit of material. Now you have a nice warm layer trapped next to your body, but you have been climbing a mountain and the perspiration is starting to form, well the movement of the layers of material cause the moisture to be sucked out through the holes so that the layer next to the body remains dry thus you don’t get cold!! As I said earlier these were no ordinary Long Johns these were constructed of 5 layers of this polypropylene material and were guaranteed down to –30 degrees not that I could ever imagine sweating at that temperature but it is nice to know you would not catch a chill if you did. Ok you say I am warm I am not going to catch a chill if I sweat but if they are that snug won’t the stitching rub? Stitching This suit is stitched using a 2-line seam that lies flat when the garment is being worn. This is different to most thermal underwear available that is stitched with a standard seam that actually stands up and creates a small ridge that can cause chafing! So now you are warm, dry, and have suffered no chafing, feeling good so far oh yes but I hear you say what if I need to answer the call of nature? Answering the call of
nature Now when it is cold and we are talking very cold as a chap we have one great advantage when in the great out doors and you all know what I am talking about. For the ladies things get slightly more difficult. This again is the advantage of this particular brand of Long John the makers have thought of everything and kindly put in two flaps on the ladies version. I do not think I need explain further. As you can see these people have thought of everything not only are these lightweight, they wick moisture away, and you can…well you know but I hear you ask are they fashionable will I look good? Fashion I am not suggesting you wear these to your next-door neighbours house warming, unless it is that sort of party in which case you can invite me at the above email address!!! But the two suppliers I found do offer a range of sizes, remember you need a snug fit, and also a range of colours even patterns are available!!!! Conclusion When you are camping in the cold you cannot beat these for warmth and comfort. Now I am not talking wear these for a summer weekend in the Lake District this underwear is for the serious enthusiast only. Above about –5 degrees and you will find out what its like to be a turkey at Christmas……roasted!! You can find these and other information at www.armynavyshop.com. Look for the Everwarm range. Oh yes back to the Valentines story. Well after getting the thermal underwear back along with the hiking boots alas she was at one end of the flat me at the other and I can hear all you ladies saying good you deserve it. I did pass on the real gift of the desired underwear and a rather more romantic weekend away! Well you have to have a sense of humour don’t you!!!