Layering for hiking – the art of surviving in cold weather
Most important layers and how to protect your extremities
There is a reason layering is always on-trend during winter. It’s the most practical way to dress when it’s really cold outside. A turtleneck under a sweater, under a jacket or a coat, will definitely keep you warm.
When it’s pretty cold outside, sometimes, even the items in your wardrobe that you always depend on, like your jeans or your velvet pants no longer cut it.
But when it comes to hiking activities, the layering represents a crucial step that will help you adapt to a wider range of conditions. Just make sure you focus on your activity level to make the appropriate combos.
Layering your clothing is a great way to maximize comfort in the outdoors. Plus, layers can be removed or added according to the weather. It will be ideal if your clothing selections will compliment one another so that each layer works together as part of a flexible overall system designed to maximize efficiency and minimize duplicity.
When it comes to outdoors, always keep in mind that there are three principal layers.
Most important layers:
- base– the layer next to the skin
- this will keep the skin dry by wicking away moisture
- should be lightweight: merino wool, polyester, polypropylene
- avoid cotton: takes longer to dry
- insulation – the warmth layer (middle layer)
- more than one insulating layer will give you increased flexibility
- recommended: fleece, sown and synthetic fiber: polar
- outer – protection from the wind, rain and snow
- this layer should contain clothing pieces which are waterproof or water resistant,quick drying, durable and breathable.
Hands, feet and head
In cold weather, you can lose a significant proportion of your body heat via your extremities. Even though you may be decked out in the puffiest jackets, if your extremities are not properly protected, chances to feel the cold really bad are high.
For the head you will need a warm hat made of fleece and merino wool. Be sure the hat covers your ears and the back of your neck.
For the hands thin liner gloves made of merino wool are lightweight and can be used only when the temperatures are not too cold. A great choice for cooler temps are fleece or down mittens.
For your feet use liner socks of merino wool as a base layer and on top of them add another pair of socks. You will also need some waterproof boots.
These are some simple rules to follow when heading on a hiking tour. Layering your clothing when heading outdoors is the key to being comfortable and protected from the elements. Using a layering system will allow you to self-regulate your own body temperature as you feel necessary.