Thermal Testing of Outerwear

Thermal Testing of Outerwear

What is thermal testing?

Thermal testing of outerwear is a way to measure how well a piece of clothing can keep an individual warm in cold temperatures.

How are the tests conducted?

The test is completed using a heated thermal manikin that is designed to simulate an individual at moderate activity. The manikin is placed in an environmental test chamber that simulates cold-weather conditions. Data collected from the manikin is then input into extensive calculations that determine how well the article of clothing performs in cold temperatures.

What standards are referenced?

ASTM  F1291 and F2732 are the adult test standards that are referenced. Today, there is no standard available specific to children, so we referenced the adult standards, using an infant thermal manikin.

What do the results show?

The results of thermal outerwear testing determine how effective the clothing is at insulating a person. Generally, the more heat that is retained by the clothing, the warmer the individual will be in cold temperatures.

The results depend heavily on the quality of the insulation, but also consider the breathability of the shell fabric. Additionally, results depend on how well an article of clothing fits and if heat escapes around various openings.

These thermal tests provide temperature ratings around how cold it can get for the garment to maintain a thermally neutral body temperature for the wearer. The ratings are helpful in understanding the performance of the garment.

What are Northern Classics' Results?

Our FW23 collection tested to -12°F, when a child exerts moderate activity. The ensemble tested included our snow pants and winter coat, with boots, a knit hat, and mittens. The base layer was a standard cotton turtleneck and jeans (*read more below on cotton & jean base layer, as our results would be lower with some adjustments).

Thermal Testing of Outerwear

What else to consider?

*Base layers & mid layers should always be considered, and it’s best to look for synthetic or wool options that will provide warmth and allow for breathability. Cotton absorbs moisture and should generally be avoided when spending longer periods of time outside. Similarly, clothing that is designed to fit more snugly to your body will generally provide better insulation than clothing that is loose or baggy.

Accessories (hats, mittens, neck warmers, balaclavas, socks, etc.) should also be considered to ensure the full ensemble performs.

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