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The Perfect Layering System

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Wearing a combination of layers that ensures you are kept warm, dry and comfortable is an art form in itself, and one that depends on a multitude of factors. It’s important to be aware that the first factor is you!

Everyone feels hot and cold differently, as well as reacting to temperature in different ways. If you are prone to feeling the heat or the cold, this should be an important consideration in your layering strategy. Add to this how your body reacts to the kind of activity you have planned – do you feel the heat when exercising, for example – and you’ll have a good starting point to create a layering system that works for you.

In addition to knowing the way your body operates, location is the next consideration, alongside the season and the amount of time you’ll be spending outside. Consider all of these factors when planning your layering and you’ll be better informed to get it right. Simply following a text-book layering system of T-shirt/jumper/waterproof jacket won’t necessarily be right for your body and chosen activity, but finding a system that works for you will make all the difference to your adventure. In extreme cases, the right layering system could even save your life.

Everything you need to know about waterproof jackets and technology is available in our expert waterproof information guides.

A Classic Layering System

The following is a basic layering set-up – experiment to find what works best for you.

The Base Layer

The purpose of a base layer is to insulate when cold and wick sweat away when warm. A base layer may be anything from a T-shirt to thermal long sleeves and underwear – traditionally called ‘long johns’. Any old base layer won’t do, however. Go for a fitted base layer made from Argentium , our exclusive base layer technology. Argentium uses silver ion and UV blockers to help you stay dry and smell fresh for longer; essential qualities for material worn next to the skin.

The Middle Layer

A middle layer is mainly present for warmth. It can range from a thin long-sleeved T-shirt to a fleece, hoody or thick woolen jumper.

The Top Layer

A top layer may consist of a third or fourth layer, depending on your location, temperature, and activity. In warmer weather, a top layer may consist of a thin waterproof jacket/shell, aimed at keeping the wearer dry. Colder weather will generally necessitate an additional third layer for warmth, such as a down insulated jacket, with an additional fourth layer used to keep the wearer dry.

Maximise your Adventure

A little consideration will go a long way when putting your layering system together. Consider how long it usually is before you break a sweat, and alter your clothing structure to delay this moment as long as possible – perhaps you’re wearing too many layers at the start.

However tiresome it may appear, listen to your body and add/subtract layers accordingly – if you’re too hot, don’t persevere with that extra layer, but simply stop and take it off. There’s no need to wear a waterproof jacket unless it’s raining, for example. Preventing unnecessary over- or under-heating is what your layering system is for, and will only maximise your performance, your health and ultimately your adventure.