Unlike most of my posts, this one has come about at the most opportune moment! We are under a few inches of snow, and with the arctic blast set to continue for a few more days, it’s a great time to revisit the layering system and how best to stay warm and comfortable when outdoors in the cold weather.
In essence, the theory behind this is that several thin layers will keep you warmer than one or two thicker ones. Not only that, but as you warm up through physical exertion, you can easily shed a layer to cool down. Likewise, if conditions deteriorate, you can add a layer to stay warm. Effective and practical! It might seem complicated, but there are only a couple of rules you need to know to make sure you stay warm and cosy throughout your winter adventures.
Basically, the layering system is comprised of three basic layers: a base layer, a mid and then the outer layer. Simple, right? Well, when you take into account the plethora of outdoor gear that’s now available, it can be a little daunting. Hopefully this beginner’s guide will provide all the information you need for normal outdoor activities (I’m talking walking the dog, maybe tackling a few hills at the weekend), if you’re heading to the mountains, or more extreme locations, I’d advise a more in depth look and some expert advice.
The primary function of the base layer is to regulate your body temperature and one of the most effective ways to do this is to keep moisture away from your skin. Imagine you’re out walking on a cold day. As you start moving you perspire, if this stays in contact with your skin and you slow down or the weather worsens, it will cool you down very quickly. Cotton is a bad choice for a base layer as it holds on to the moisture. I personally use synthetic tops, the type of t-shirts you’d wear running or to the gym are perfect. I often wear a long sleeve ‘technical t-shirt’ in the