Getting hot and sweaty in your waterproof or soft-shell jacket, a few simple tweaks could be enough to release the heat.
This week's Monday Tip is a simple guide to cooling off a little when things get warm in your waterproof jacket and particularly by venting. Waterproof fabrics have got a lot more breathable in recent years, but when working hard, particularly in warm or humid conditions, it's still possible to get properly hot and sweaty regardless.
The good news is that a few simple tweaks to your jacket, could be enough to relieve the pressure and see you comfortable again. But if all else fails, there's always the ultimate venting solution - take it off and put it in your pack (unless of course it's raining...)
Roll Your Sleeves Up
One of the things we look for in any waterproof shell jacket is a sleeve cut and cuffs that are wide enough to allow you to roll your sleeves up to elbow level. Somewhat counter intuitively you lose a fair bit of heat from your forearm area - Mountain Hardwear once produced a climbing jacket with forearm vents for this reason - which also partly explains why vests or gilets are never quite as warm as you'd expect.
Often exposing your forearms to radiate heat is enough to make a significant difference to your temperature.
Use Factory Vents
Many jackets come with pit-zips or core vents designed for, well, venting. Pit-zips were designed originally to be useable by climbers wearing harnesses and packs and are reasonably effective. Don't assume you have to keep them fully open, when they have a tendency to gape, instead use the zip arrangement to position the opening in an area you're happy with - with double zips you can use them as core vents, or inner arm vents or, indeed, both. Bear in mind that some can be fiddly to use with gloves and to open or close.
Core vents simple allow air to the torso area of your body. They're sometimes easily confused with adjacent zips, but as with pit-zips work reasonably well particularly in windy conditions, though of course, when it's wet, they allow easy leakage, something the downward-facing portions of pit-zipped vents avoids.
If your jacket has mesh-lined pockets, they can also be used for venting. As with core vents, they can also allow leakage when it's raining. If you're looking at a jacket with either these or core-vents for UK use, check that there's some sort of storm-flap or fabric area directly over or behind the zip.
Use That Main Zip
People often forget that there's a great big opening at the front of a jacket which makes an excellent rapid venting solution unless it's raining. Just unzip it to get maximum airflow to the front of your body. Simple.
Finally, because your body pumps blood continuously to your brain, your neck and head are also ideal areas for heat loss. If your hood is up, trying folding it down - wet hair might be the price you pay for comfort. If you're wearing a hat, take it off and stow it away. If you're wearing a zip-neck base-layer top, unzip it. All small things which can really help.