Essential Kit List
9th October 2019 by Chris
The Layering System
The most important aspect of outdoor clothing is how it works together - the Layering System. Without a good layering system even the most expensive jacket won’t help keep you comfortable, you need to make sure all layers are working together to help.
Below are a few handy pointers in how to get started.
- Don’t duplicate – Make sure all the layers you’re carrying serve an individual purpose and you’re not replicating for the sake of having nice kit!
- Versatility – Everything should complement each other and will therefore work in a variety of combinations in a huge range of conditions.
- Relevance - Make sure each item in your layering system is relevant to the environment you are in. This is especially important. Many people are tempted to say, swap a Gore-Tex Paclite with a Pro Shell with the belief it will keep them warmer. Although this is partially true, it would be far more efficient to wear a thicker, long sleeve baselayer and/or a heavier weight/powerstretch fleece for colder conditions, saving the harder wearing waterproof for more relevant activities, such as scrambling which can involve a lot of forearm use, therefore abrasion, or carrying a heavier rucksack.
- What lives in your bag – there’s no point carrying down as your spare layer on a 30-degree day. Same for if it’s pouring it down – bring a synthetic.
- Hoods – think carefully as to how many hoods you need. I’ve seen people with hoods on baselayers, midlayers, waterproofs and insulation all at the same time. More often than not it’s uncomfortable, and a nightmare to arrange/store them properly.
- Fit – Another important aspect of your system. As well as nailing the fit with the individual item at hand, your clothes ideally should fit seamlessly (no pun intended) over and under each other for maximum comfort and efficiency. Too tight can often be too cold and uncomfortable, too big and it can take too long to warm up (or not at all)
My Personal Layering System:
As an example of all the points above put into practise, my personal upper body layering system consists of:
Patagonia Cap MW Crew Mens
Cap MW Crew Mens
A synthetic baselayer made from recycled polyester.
Mountain Equipment Pivot Hooded Jacket Mens
Pivot Hooded Jacket Mens
A lightweight midlayer
Frostline Vest Mens
Frostline Vest Mens
Down filled and water resistant
Arcteryx Beta SV Jacket Mens
Beta SV Jacket Mens
Hard-wearing and waterproof
Cerium LT Hoody Mens
Cerium LT Hoody Mens
These items cover all my activities in anything from freezing temperatures and windchill to a warm summer’s day. Anything lower than freezing I swap my baselayer and midlayer for something warmer – that is it.
It takes time and experience to hone your layering system. As boring as it sounds, practice different combinations to find out what works for your body and when and where to wear what!! Don’t be put off – you will get it wrong before you get it right.
Below are examples of products we sell in both men’s and women’s that work in a layering system.
Oasis 200 LS Crewe Mens
Oasis 200 LS Crewe Womens
Arcteryx Delta LT Hoody Mens
Arcteryx Delta LT Hoody Womens
Walking Trousers and Shorts
Arcteryx Gamma LT Pant Mens
Arcteryx Gamma LT Pant Womens
Arcteryx Zeta AR Jacket Mens
Patagonia Triolet Jacket Womens
Nano-Air Hoody Mens
Arcteryx Proton LT Hoody Womens
Specifically for winter
Below are examples that are essential If you’re also going to be going out in the winter in addition to the above gear.
Baselayer- Patagonia R1 Pullover Mens
Midlayer- Arcteryx Kyanite Hoody Womens
Insulation- Arcteryx Cerium LT Hoody Mens
Waterproof- Arcteryx Beta AR Jacket Womens
Trousers- Mountain Equipment Ibex Pant Mens
Gloves- Arcteryx Fission SV Glove
My advice would be, on a summers day wear a lightweight, moisture-wicking and quick drying pair of trousers with lightweight over trousers in your bag. Softshell works great in winter, when colder, drier conditions brings this concept into its own. Same is to be said for softshell jackets. Save the thermals for when it’s really cold, and if it’s going to be cold and wet, consider wearing only thermals with your overtrousers over the top, keeping them on all day.