14th October 2020 by

Image showing base, mid and out layering for winter walking

How to layer effectively.

Getting your layering system right can give you the versatility to master any adventure. Being able to adapt quickly to changing weather conditions and the intensity of your activity will ensure you remain comfortable throughout the day.

The aim of this guide is to give you advice to stop you from overheating when you are pushing yourself in the hills but also to keep you warm when you stop.

Arc'teryx base layer in yellow

Base layer - moisture management

This is the first layer next to your skin and is designed to pull sweat away from your skin (wicking). In the winter a good base layer prevents you from loss of heat that occurs when sweat evaporates, keeping you dry and comfortable.

Synthetic vs Wool

Synthetic materials such as Polyester, Polypropylene and Nylon are turned into extremely high performing base layers, that are excellent at wicking moisture, durable and quick drying. Generally, they are less expensive than wool.

Women's Arc'teryx Rho LT Zip Neck

Rho LT Zip Neck Womens
£ 94.00 £ 65.00
Sorry, this product is not currently available.

Men's Mountain Equipment Eclipse Zip T

Eclipse Zip T Mens
£ 74.00 £ 50.00
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Merino wool is often used in base layer products as it provides a soft next to skin feel that is not usually associated with wool. It takes slightly longer to dry than synthetic, but it will keep you warm even when it is wet which is a great characteristic for us up here in the Lake District. The best feature of merino products is that is has a natural odour-resistance, so for longer days or multi day adventures this would always be our go to material.

Women's Icebreaker Vertex 250 Half Zip

Vertex 250 LS Half Zip Crystalline Womens
£ 119.00 £ 83.00
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Men's Icebreaker Tech 260 LS Half Zip

Tech 260 LS Half Zip Mens
£ 99.00 £ 69.00
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One crucial thing is don’t forget your underwear.  A high performing layering system will be completely compromised if you start with a pair of cotton pants underneath. Whilst merino underwear seems expensive, it is a game changer once you have tried it.

Women's Icebreaker Sprite Hot Pants

Sprite Hot Pants Womens
£ 34.00 £ 23.00
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Men's Anatomica Boxers

Anatomica Boxers Mens
£ 34.00 £ 23.00
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Arc'teryx men's mid layer

Mid Layer – warmth

Now this can vary depending on the activity you are doing. For high intensity adventures such as trail running you will want a more active insulation layer that continues to trap heat whilst allowing moisture to wick away from the skin more quickly.

For more passive activities such as hill walking/ hiking a warmer mid layer would be more suitable.

Take a look at our specific guide on types of insulation here to help determine what you need.




Women's Arc'teryx Delta LT Hoody

Delta LT Hoody Womens
£ 114.00 £ 79.00
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Men's Arc'teryx Proton LT Hoody

Proton LT Hoody Mens
£ 219.00 £ 153.00
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Fleece offers a great value and versatile option as a mid-layer, that can also easily be used as a day to day jacket if it isn’t pouring down.

Women's Mountain Equipment Hispar Jacket

Hispar Jacket Womens
£ 124.00 £ 86.00
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Men's Patagonia Better Sweater Jacket

Better Sweater Jacket Mens
£ 109.00 £ 76.00
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In milder conditions a base layer combined with a good mid layer might be enough, but as the weather closes in you’ll need a dedicated layer to keep out the elements.


Men's Salewa GOTE-TEX jacket

Outer Layer – protection

A shell is crucial to keep out the driving wind and rain. An outer layer has to work really hard to balance breathability and weather protection. You don’t want to ‘boil in the bag’ and overheat and you also don’t want to end up soaked through to the skin.

Most of our outer layers at The Epicentre are hard-shell jackets built for the worst of the British weather They will protect you from the biting wind and also keep you dry in driving rain.

Taped seams are crucial to look for if you want to ensure best performance. Some of the less expensive items will offer a great level of weather protection for less exertive activities.

Women's Torrentshell 3L Jacket

Torrentshell 3L Jacket Womens
£ 159.00

Men's Mountain Equipment Changabang Jacket

Changabang Jacket Mens
£ 499.00 £ 349.00
Sorry, this product is not currently available.

The important point to layering is the flexibility that it gives when the conditions/ activities change. Pack more layers for the colder/ slower activities and less for the warmer more active ones. Just remember to have an emergency layer for if it all goes wrong and you end up stuck on the hill.

Women's Salewa Ortles TWR Jacket

Ortles TWR Jacket Womens
£ 249.00 £ 165.00

Men's Mountain Equipment Kryos Jacket

Kryos Jacket Mens
£ 399.00 £ 279.00
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