Cold Weather Clothing

Jim Phillips -13°F 110 MPH, Mt. Wash., NH (Jan 1986)
Jim Phillips -13°F 110 MPH, Mt. Wash., NH (Jan 1986)


There are two versions of the cold weather clothing that Jim Phillips has designed.

There is the clothing that has been engineered and designed to fulfill the extreme conditions of arctic living that is defined within the PALS™  specifications.  This product utilizes 1” open cell foam and is specifically  created for the most hazardous cold weather conditions.

The other version of foam clothing that Jim has engineered and designed utilizes ½” open cell foam and is not purposed for the same extreme cold weather conditions.

This ½” clothing is referred to as “Thermal Johns” or TJs™ and provides superior cold weather comfort and protection down to 10 degrees Fahrenheit, but still requires that one has shelter available to provide protection from  the elements.  Even though the TJs are a superior cold weather garment, they are not intended to provide the same performance as the PALS™ 1” clothing under severe arctic conditions.

The best moisture handling and insulating performance will be realized if the foam clothing is used inside of an all synthetic non-sealed (non-waterproof) but tightly woven wind resistant fabric shell. We are presently in the process of designing these outer shell garments to be worn over the top of your foam inner/liner garments.  When this process is completed we look forward to also providing these custom made outer garments for use with your liner garments.  We will also be making the patterns and materials for your DYI construction of these outer shell garments. However, until we are manufacturing these outer shells, simply use synthetic non-sealed (non-waterproof), tightly woven wind resistant outer garments.



If you are intending or anticipating on exposing yourself to severe winter conditions, where you will be experiencing continuous extreme cold, then the best choice would be to take advantage of the 1” foam clothing.  This would include situations where you may find yourself working outdoors for extended periods of time and do not have shelter or fire available.  It would also include circumstances where you find yourself sedentary and without fire or shelter and the temperatures are 20 degrees and colder.

In summary, if you anticipate that you will have the availability of shelter and a heat source, the TJs will work fine as long as you are not exposing yourself to continuous temperatures below 10 degrees Fahrenheit.  For all other cold weather conditions, you would be well advised to use the 1” PALS™ specification clothing.


Highest Performance Cold Weather Clothing on Earth! Anyone can be truly warm and comfortable at temperatures from above freezing to well below Zero with ease. It’s not magic, it’s science. The technology and equipment have been in development for over 30 years. We call it “P.A.L.S.™” (The Phillips Arctic Living System).

 P.A.L.S. is an approach to winter clothing with performance advantages over anything you’ve ever worn. Simply described, the P.A.L.S. clothing system will (when properly used) keep you dryer and warmer than other layered technology clothing on the market. Moisture inside the clothing, whether produced by the body (perspiration) or entering from the outside (blowing snow, sleet, falling into water) is moved out of the clothing by the process of Moisture Vapor Transfer (MVT). You need not remove the P.A.L.S. Clothing system to dry it out. Wear the clothing and your body heat will do the job, yet most body heat is retained in the process. For this to work you must not be wearing any waterproof layers, shells or outer garments (waterproofing will trap moisture, even the so called “waterproof / breathable” fabrics don’t breath well enough to do the job).

This technology has been introduced to all branches of the U.S. Military and cold weather explorers who live and work in extreme cold. Jim Phillips introduced this technology and training to the Iditarod mushers in Alaska, where it has been used by the winners. Jim’s clothing has been worn at the North Pole, South Pole, and many places in between. It was selected and worn by Apollo 13 Astronaut, James A. Lovell, on his North Pole expedition.


This is extremely important – clothing layers of cotton or wool MUST NOT be worn underneath the TJs™. Doing so will greatly reduce overall moisture handling characteristics. The results will be a narrower comfort range, i.e., overheating in milder conditions and chilling in colder conditions. Any underwear needs to be made of 100% synthetic material.

Thermal Johns™ (TJs™) can be used in two ways:

  1. As a stand alone single-layer insulating undergarment inside of any clothing that will fit over top of them;
  2. Or they can be worn inside of any existing layering system, however only as the innermost layer. As the innermost layer they will significantly enhance the performance of any standard layering system.

The Thermal John™ is designed to always be worn inside of other clothing. They are very open and “breathable” to maximize the movement of moisture vapor away from the body while retaining heat. The outer shell or other garments on top of the TJs™ are very important to keep wind and moving air from carrying away body heat.

Best moisture handling and insulating performance will be realized if your TJs™ are used inside of an all synthetic non-sealed (non-waterproof) but tightly woven wind resistant fabric shell.