How to layer outdoor clothes

The key to keeping comfortable in all sorts of weather conditions is knowing how to layer outdoor clothes.

Technical outdoor clothing can keep you dry from perspiration and warm even when it’s wet. Special chemical coatings that don’t absorb water can also keep you dry in heavy rain. Each layer has its own special function and can be removed or added as needed.

The Base Layer

This is always worn right next to your skin. Its main function is to regulate your body heat and wick moisture away from your skin. These are also ideal on their own for aerobic activity or warm days.

Depending on weather conditions, you could use any of the following three types of clothing as your base layer:

 

Moisture Managers

 

●Keep the body cool and dry in warm conditions by soaking perspiration away from the body

●Keep the body warm when it is cold by trapping body heat

●Spread moisture across the fabric, which allows it to dry quickly

●Stretch with the body so that it does not restrict body movement

 

Thermal Underwear

Thermals are worn underneath a Moisture Manager in colder weather conditions. These will keep your body dry from perspiration while the Moisture Manager keeps the thermals dry. Both retain body heat even when wet.

 

Explorer Series

 

The K-Way Explorer range consists of various shirts, trousers, shorts and hats.

These are extremely lightweight and folds away small. The fabric used is hydrophobic, so it dries very fast. Some have a special coating that stops it from getting wet and a UVF factor provides protection against sunburn.

 

The Mid-Layer

 

The function of your mid-layer is to trap the warmth your body generates. It should wick moisture away from your base layer, dry very quickly, have some resistance to wind penetration and also trap body heat effectively.

 

Lightweight Fleeces

 

●Keep the body cool and dry in warmer conditions by soaking perspiration away from the base layer

●Keep the body warmer when it is cold by trapping body heat between the fleece and the base layer

●Spread moisture across the fabric which allows it to dry quickly

●Stretch with the body so that it does not restrict body movement

 

Mid-Weight or Medium Weight Fleeces

 

These trap body heat better than the lightweight fleece. They don’t dry quite as fast as lightweight fleeces, but can retain warmth even when wet and will still keep the body dry from perspiration. The fibres are more tightly woven together and allow for improved wind resistance.

 

Heavyweight Fleeces

 

These are designed to capture the maximum amount of heat. They will still dry fairly quickly, resist wind and allow vapour to permeate. However, heavyweight fleeces are bulky and take up more space in a backpack.

 

Hybrid Layers

 

Softshell garments rely on a DWR (durable water resistant) coating on the outside of the fabric to keep them water resistant. Softshell garments are very versatile and can be worn as a mid or outer layer.

 

Softshell 1-Ply

 

One softshell layer:

●Keeps the body cool and dry in warmer conditions by soaking perspiration away from the Moisture Manager

●Keeps the body warmer when it is cold by trapping body heat between it and the Moisture Manager

●Completely windproof

●Stretches with the body so that it does not restrict body movement

●Fabric has a special coating that does not absorb water

 

Softshell 2-Ply

 

One softshell layer with a fleece layer bonded to the inside:

 

●Keeps the body cool and dry in warmer conditions

● Keeps the body warmer than the 1-Ply

● Completely windproof

● Stretches with the body so that it does not restrict body movement

● Fabric has a special coating that does not absorb water

 

Softshell 3-Ply

 

One softshell layer and one fleece layer with a special layer bonded in between them. This makes the jacket stronger, which will make it last longer if properly cared for.

 

The Outer Layer

 

This is also called the shell and is usually a protective layer that is both windproof and waterproof. Hardshells feature fabric that has been laminated to waterproof membranes or microporous coatings. Hardshells are generally more waterproof and windproof than softshells, but sacrifice some breathability.

 

Basic Shells

 

● Completely waterproof so you can stay dry in the rain

● Completely windproof so that it can keep you warm in the cold

● Some basic shell jackets can fold into their own pockets

● However, they do not allow sweat to escape through the fabric. This means they can only keep the body dry in low-perspiration activities.

 

Active Shells

 

These shell jackets are designed to be extremely lightweight. They can also be used for high-perspiration activities.

 

● Completely windproof

● Waterproof in light rain, but not designed to be used in heavy rain or extreme conditions

● Can keep the body dry in high perspiration activities like cycling, running and hiking

 

K-Tech Shells

 

These shells are designed to withstand almost any weather conditions.

 

● Extremely lightweight

● Completely waterproof to keep you dry in any rain or snow conditions

● Completely windproof

● Can keep the body dry from perspiration by allowing sweat to evaporate

 

When to wear which layers

 

Sunny, warm and calm weather

A base layer only

Cold, dry weather

A base layer plus a mid-layer or soft-shell

Warm and rainy

A base layer plus a breathable waterproof shell

Windy, cold and wet

A base layer, plus a mid layer, and a hardshell jacket

Windy, very cold and wet or snowing

Thermal base layer, plus a moisture manager, one or two mid layers, and a waterproof shell