When shopping for outdoor clothing, you've probably heard a lot about something called ‘the layering system’. Layering your breathable clothing can help you to keep warm, dry and comfortable through varying conditions, allowing you to add or remove layers depending on how you feel and the conditions you’re in. All the items should be lightweight and packable, and should fit inside your rucksack easily.
In this guide we'll offer you all the advice you need for how to layer up correctly when you’re outdoors.
It's easy to think that when the temperature drops, wearing the thickest clothing possible is the best idea, when in actuality most mountain climbers, runners, cyclists, hill walkers and dog walkers can all benefit from some variation of a layered clothing system.
Carrying extra layers in your rucksack can help to keep you safe - the weather may be mild when you set off on your walk, but as you get higher into the hills, the temperature can and will take a sudden drop, and conditions can change in an instant.
How does the layering system work?
At its most basic level, the layering system will consist of three layers, including:
1) Baselyer - helps to regulate your body temperature and wick away moisture from your skin. 2) Midlayer - used to trap the warmth your body generates. Depending on the weather this can be a fleece, a softshell or even a down jacket. 3) Outer Layer - usually this is your protective layer. For example, a waterproof jacket in the rain or a windproof or down jacket in the cold/dry.
Below we'll take a look at these layers in a little more detail:
Worn next to the skin, creating a thin layer of warm air against the body
Helps to wick moisture/sweat vapour from the skin to regulate body temperature
Ideal on its own for aerobic activity, or warm days
Avoid using cotton as a baselayer. Cotton soaks up sweat and stays wet, drawing the heat away from your body, leaving you cold.