How to Layer - Tips on how to dress for your next outdoor adventure
Sometimes the weather conditions change and a little preparation and planning can be the differenece between an enjoyable day out and cold, wet and potenitally dangerous day out.
Follow our simple tips to layering, and enjoy the outdoors in all conditions.
1. Dress in Layers
Layering is the idea that you dress with multiple layers for your outdoor adventure. Add a layer if you are cold, take off a layer if you are too hot. There are three key layers:
- Base Layer – the next-to-skin layer. This needs to be able to move sweat off your skin efficiently. This can be made of merino wool (which we recommend), or synthetic. A cotton t-shirt is not considered base layer and should never be worn in the outdoors for this. When cotton is wet, it pulls heat from you making you feel cold. This is where the saying "cotton kills" comes from.
- Mid Layer – provides insulation and traps air.
- Outer Layer – protections you from the elements.
An example of a wool base layer is the Armadillo Merino Hawk Long Sleeve Top
2. Wear something windproof and sometimes waterproof on the outside
The outer layer is designed to protect you from the elements. Stopping the wind and rain is key to keeping your core body temperature warm. Nothing chills faster than cold wind, as it whips your warmth away. With this in mind, make sure your outer layer is windproof. If you are expecting rain or snow, then waterproof is also essential.
A good outer is expensive, but it will make your next adventure into the outdoors much more enjoyable if the conditons turn for the worse.
An example is the Arc'teryx Beta LT Jacket
3. What are the conditions like?
- What is the season?
- What is the weather forecast?
- Is it summer or winter?
- Are you going into the mountains where the weather can change very quickly?
- Is it wet and windy?
All of these questions will help you to decide on the best clothes to wear for your outdoor adventure.
Summer vs. winter layer is quite different. Summer layering often is a simple base layer to protect from the sun and a windproof layer if it is windy. The wind proof layer can also double for bug protection! Winter layering depends on the conditions but will usually involve all three layers.
What is the weather forecast, and is the weather changing? A little planning goes a long way. Check the weather forecast before you head out, and make sure you carry extra clothes if the weather is changing for the worse.
Are you going into the mountains? If you are, then think about carrying an extra layer just in case, as mountain weather forecasts are famously bad, and mountain weather is also famously changeable. A perfect sunny day at breakfast can often end cold rain or snow by lunch or evening. Be prepared. Also if you are in the mountains, are there afternoon thunder storms. If so, you want to be off the tops before then, and be prepared if you are caught, as the temperature can tumble in a matter of minutes and this combined with the wind can combine ideal conditions for hypothermia.
Is it wet, windy or both? If it is wet, make sure you have a waterproof outer layer. If it is windy, make sure your outer layer is windproof. If it is both windy and wet, then be careful and a good waterproof outer is key. You may also want to consider extra layers as the wet wind chillies very fast.
4. How long are you going for?
Is this a stroll in the park or a remote multiple day adventure. Think about how long you are going for and if you are going for longer, plan for more variable conditions. Maybe take an extra layer just in case.
5. Think of your extremities
Nothing is more miserable than cold head, hands and toes. Also if you head is cold, you lose a lot of heat and energy, as your body is trying to keep your brain warm! Bring gloves, wear wool socks, and take a hat with you.
- A small wool beanie weighs nothing and is a great investment in keeping warm when the conditions turn for the worse. Add a neck warmer and you trap the heat escaping up your back. You will be surprised at how much of a difference this can make.
Wool socks help to move the moisture away from your feet at the same time as keeping your feet warm if the weather turns with an added bonus is they do not smell .
- Gloves – put in some light weight wool liner gloves for extra hand protection against the cold. If it really cold and wet, then you will need waterproof and maybe even insulating gloves. Think in layers and you will be much more comfortable.
A little planning, and taking these 5 tips on how to dress for your bushcraft adventure, goes along way in making sure that you have a safe and enjoyable time in the outdoors.