How to layer clothing? The layering system

Are outdoor activities pleasure or hard work? It all depends on your preparation, both psychological and physical. Clearly, if you want to get the most of the positive emotions from the trip, most of the time should be devoted to preparing equipment and outfit. This is especially important if the trip is planned during a cold season. In order not to get hypothermia, there is the principle of layering, which provides the greatest comfort. But how to choose the right layer of clothing for a winter hike, tracking, and long walks in nature? What are they made of? How do they differ from each other? You can find all the answers in this article. 

The purpose of multiple layers of outfit is to protect you from the weather conditions wherever you are. It is also worth remembering that each layer has its own function.

The bottom layer, also called inner layer or base layer, is the first layer of clothing, directly adjacent to the skin. These are T-shirts with short or long sleeves, underpants or trousers, and socks. This layer should fit flush with the skin, be skin-tight, as this allows to wick sweat from the body away immediately, keeping the body warm and dry. Light and thin versions of the bottom layer wick sweat away, but loose warm. Thicker and heavier ones wick away sweat and keep you warm. It is important to choose the right layers according to the weather conditions and activity level.

The middle layer, also called thermal insulation, can be looser than the bottom layer, but not too baggy. It is necessary to ensure contact with the lower layer so that they interact correctly. The purpose of this layer is to keep body heat in the space limits within the material, that is why it feels so airy. Good materials for middle clothes layer are fleece, wool, etc. The middle layer of clothes is supplied with axillary and lumbar zippers for ventilation, often there is a high neck for warmth. 

Next layer is an outer layer. Some people call it a "shell" - something like a raincoat or a windbreaker that protects from the rain, but lets sweat out. Some people consider the outer layer is jackets and trousers which provide insulation from the outside environment. These clothes are classified as an outer layer because they protect from precipitation. If wind and rain penetrate the clothes, this is the middle layer. Modern materials of the outer layer are membrane fabrics, repelling precipitation and releasing sweat. 

There are varieties of the outer layer: softshell ("soft shell") and hardshell ("hard shell"). The purpose of hardshell is to protection from precipitation. Explore our range of hardshell jackets, pants and waterproof suits.

Softshell is more breathable but repels water worse, while, as a rule, provides thermal insulation and is able to serve as a middle layer. Look at some of our softshell jackets and suits.

When considering a softshell jacket, look both at the fabric and the construction of the garment and the way you plan to use it. The outer layer can be a packable waterproof  jacket that can be quickly thrown on and off depending on the weather. Also in very cold conditions this weather protection layer could be a large insulated piece of clothing. Shop our collection of insulated suits and jackets.



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