Layering: What to Wear on your Outdoor Adventures!
Thinking of doing some activities in the great outdoors? Well then it’s time we talk about layers.
For a long time now, the outdoor world has adopted a basic 3-layer system, which is actually quite flexible. You could easily get by with a single layer on a hot and sunny day. Or you may need as many as four when the mercury plunges in mid-winter. Still, following the 3-layer plan will keep you comfortable and protected in almost every situation. Let’s have a look at them one by one.
Base Layer = Comfort
Your base layer is the closest layer to your skin. It is the wicking layer, which should efficiently transfer moisture from your body to the outside of the layer. It should fit snug and be comfortable. Light synthetic materials tend to perform the best in wicking moisture and drying quickly, but they can get stinky. Light merino wool is good at wicking, stays odour-free and dries relatively quickly. Cotton on the other hand is an absolute NO when it comes to this layer. We recommend the following products for him and for her. Learn more about base-layering here.
Mid Layer = Warmth
This is the layer that insulates your body, and is meant to help keep moving moisture away from your core. Wool keeps insulating even when it gets wet. Micro-fleece is good at everything. Down insulation provides the best heat-to-weight ratio, but it performs poorly when it gets wet. And synthetic materials dry quickly when you’re super active. For a list of some of our favourite mid-layer jackets click here.
Outer Layer = Protection
This is the final layer. It is meant to shield you from the elements, which essentially boil down to wind and water (including snow). Here, you have two basic options: a hard-shell jacket or a soft-shell jacket. People who venture frequently in the outdoors will always have at least one of each, since they have specific performance benefits. If you know the weather is going to be nasty, a hard shell will always be your best bet, even if you’re going for a run. And if breathability is the most important feature, you’ll want to reach for your soft-shell when heading out.
Which material does what?
Every material has its strengths and weaknesses, so use this handy stop light chart to help you figure out what layers you should choose for your adventures!