The Importance of Thermal Workwear Breathability

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When working in cold conditions, it’s vital that cold storage workers are warm and comfortable. The breathability of fabrics used in cold store clothing plays a huge part in how comfortable workers are. It’s true that with no distraction or discomfort from overheating, the better people will be able to perform.

The key to comfortable and warm thermal work clothing is to combine the perfect amount of warmth/insulation, softness and breathability. All materials hold these factors in one way or another, however, finding the correct materials and clothing items that balance all three efficiently is key.

What is Breathability?

Breathability is measured usually by the Moisture Vapour Transmission Rate (MVTR), which, simply put, is how quickly or slowly moisture passes through fabric (or another substance). The MTVR is commonly determined by g/m2/day, i.e. the mass of moisture that passes through a square metre of fabric in 24 hours, as explained on the Clo Insulation website.

 
Img: Clo Insulation

The general rules of breathability by measurement are as follows:

  • 8000g +: good level of breathability for general use
  • 20000g +: good level of breathability for more active use
  • 30000g +: ‘best’ level of breathability for highly aerobic use

 

Insulation

When comparing the type of insulation, the synthetic type is better for breathability, as opposed to down. Plus synthetic insulation is always better as no animals come to any harm during the manufacturing process. Synthetics also win on the waterproof front, maintaining its warming qualities when wet and by drying out quickly as well.

The Chiller Jacker X12J from FlexiTog insulates with synthetics; specifically with the IFX Thermo Reactive Wadding that helps to keep wearers at the optimum temperature.

Humidity

Humidity is an important factor in how fabrics breathe too. Note that moisture can pass through breathable fabrics both ways, adapting to heat and humidity of the surroundings. For example, if the inside of the jacket has a higher humidity percentage than the outside, the water vapour will escape to create a comfortable temperature.

Thermal Base Layers

What you don’t want is clothing that traps the moisture (your perspiration), as this will become uncomfortable and make you cold.  This includes your thermal base layers to your outerwear, so ensure your next-to-skin thermal layers are made of breathable material (e.g. synthetics such as polyester or merino wool) for full effect and comfort.

So, generally, for comfort and functionality in your workwear, choosing breathable fabrics for your base layers and outerwear is highly important. To find the perfect solution to your cold store work wear challenges, FlexiTog’s collection of thermally insulated gloves, hats, boots, jackets and overalls will ensure you’re kept warm and comfortable in sub-zero working conditions.

For more information on the type of protective clothing you need to wear in sub-zero temperatures for optimum comfort and breathability, you can download our clothing guide for free. In this useful guide, you’ll learn all about the certifications for cold store clothing and understand what clothing is suitable for each environment to help you work safely and comfortably in breathable fabrics.

Laura Sewell

An aspiring journalist, Laura is our content writer intern.  Pop-punk gig-goer and drag queen enthusiast, Laura is working her way into the industry, with an English A -Level and love of writing about anything and everything in tow.

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Last modified: 9th May 2019