How to layer your outdoor clothing

The colder months are almost on their way in, but unlike bears, we’re not going to hibernate for the winter, we’re going camping! But what are the best clothing options to wear and take on a camping trip? Repeat after me, layers. The layering principle is designed to not only keep you warm but dry too. When outdoors, your body heat is your only source of warmth and should not be wasted. By layering effectively, you can trap your body heat effectively without the need for heavy blankets and outdated heavy jackets.

The 3 W’s of the layering principle

1. Wicking or Base Layer

Moisture-wicking is the process of pulling the sweat away from the body to keep you dry and comfortable during activity. The wicking base layer is worn next to your skin and will trap body heat and regulate body temperature, even if the material is wet.

Base layers are technical clothing which means it has a job to do. Our base layers have thermodynamic properties which means it keeps you cool in hot weather and traps body heat in cold weather.

Wicking layers are generally made using technical materials and not cotton. Cotton does effectively wick moisture, but it does not dry quickly, and the wet material will cool your body down.

Base Layer materials are hydrophobic which means they dislike moisture and work to remove it immediately from the body.

Moisture on a hydrophobic material will quickly spread over a bigger surface area which allows moisture to evaporate faster.

Base Layers should fit snuggly to the body as they will help keep the body dry and trap body heat. K-Way base materials have a four-way stretch so that it does not restrict movement.

The K-Way Explorer series is also classified as a base layer. The technical materials will wick moisture away from the body and will help keep you warm with the addition of a mid-layer.

A K Way Thermalator Elite Vest can be used in conjunction with a K-Way Explorer Shirt to provide a lightweight solution to chilly days without the need for a jacket.

Cotton does effectively wick moisture, but it does not dry quickly, and the wet material will cool your body down.

2. Warmth layer a.k.a mid-layer

The mid-layers are designed to trap body heat. The technical fabric will wick moisture from the base layer and will help keep the base layer dry.

The base layer and mid-layer work together to keep you dry and warm. Mid-layers can be worn and adjusted according to temperature fluctuations and physical exertion.

Fleece is a very good option to be used as a mid-layer. The K-Way fleece material is very effective at wicking moisture and trapping body heat.

K-Way fleece also has a four-way stretch and will not restrict your movement. Like the base layer, K-Way fleece dries quickly and can insulate even when wet.

Did you know that K-Way has 3 different weight classes? Our lightweight fleece is very light, dries fast, and is super stretchy. The medium-weight fleece is slightly thicker and heavier than a lightweight fleece and will therefore trap body heat better.

Lightweight fleece can be worn under a medium-weight fleece to make an awesome combination for colder conditions.

Finally, our heavyweight fleece jackets are the most effective in trapping body heat and can be worn over a lightweight fleece in very cold conditions.

Heavyweight fleece is bulky to carry in a daypack while commuting, travelling, or on a hike, so consider thinner layers if you do not have a lot of packing space. A softshell jacket can be used as an outer layer.

Wearing the correct layers under a thin outer shell will keep you warm and dry in extremely cold conditions.

3. Wind and Waterproof

The outer layer should protect effectively against the cold wind, rain, and snow. It is the final insulating layer and should trap the body heat in a protective cocoon around your body. K-Way Down Jackets are very popular as a stylish outer layer. They are completely windproof and have a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) coating to keep you dry in snow and light drizzle. It is important to note that a down jacket should never get very wet.

Maintain the DWR coating with Storm Down Proofer. Due to the excellent insulation properties of down feathers, a mid-layer is sometimes rendered unnecessary.

Another outer layer option is the K-Way Softshell Jacket. Like the K-Way Down Jacket, they too are windproof and have been treated with a DWR coating to keep you dry in light rain.

If you need a waterproof outer layer, choose the K-Way Kilimanjaro Shell Jacket. It is important to note that softshell jackets are not suited as an outer layer in heavy rain. Their job is to trap your body heat effectively.

The K-Way Shell Jacket is an outer jacket that protects against wind and rain. It has a DWR coating to ensure the outer layer remains dry. You can top up this waterproofing with Storm Fabric Proofer.

The K-Way Pinnacle Ski Jacket is a thicker outer layer jacket and has built-in insulation. It can be worn in conjunction with a base layer and lightweight fleece in colder conditions. Thin outer shell jackets can be worn to protect against rain in hotter weather.

Wearing the correct layers under a thin outer shell will keep you warm and dry in extremely cold conditions.

Due to the excellent insulation properties of down feathers, a mid-layer is sometimes rendered unnecessary.

So now you know how to dress for the outdoors in winter. It’s as simple as Wick, Warmth, and Waterproof. How you choose your layers will depend on the conditions you will go into. A winter safari drive in the Kruger National Park might not warrant a thick snow-purposed outer layer but other climates may require a strong layering principle. The logic and this information are now in your hands.