How to properly layer up this winter with Heinnie Haynes
Winter is coming! Yes, that phrase has been well over-used but it is true. Winter is on its way and that does mean wind, rain, frost (and occasionally a little bit of snow) are all about to bite.
When the weather turns, it is time to layer up. But, two questions we so often get asked is how do I layer up, and what should each layer consist of? This article aims to answer those questions.
Keeping your torso and legs warm can sometime be a bit of a tricky one, mostly because of layering. When it’s raining you know to wear a coat, when it’s windy you wear a windproof jacket etc etc. But, what happens when it’s cold, wet and windy? What do you wear when you are out for a winter’s walk and it is freezing cold but dry? These are the questions answered below.
Yes, you need to start with a solid foundation. This foundation needs to wick away moisture and regulate body temperature. These base layers can come in the form of underwear, thermals, even a simple t-shirt. These items will help your internal moisture management and get the cold off your skin.
One of the best materials to wear as a base layer is Merino Wool. This wool will not only help wick away moisture it will also keep smell at bay. We really aren’t joking we’ve spoken to numerous people who’ve been on expeditions and swear by merino wool!
This is your insulation. This is the warmth layer, the layer that traps in heat. The choice of mid-layer very much depends upon the conditions and what you will be doing. There are two primary types of mid-layer that we recommend. Down or Fleece.
Down feather is great for cold and dry conditions. It’s really warm, windproof and lightweight, however, in wet conditions it’s not very useful and loses its valuable insulation properties.
Fleece materials are a little bit more flexible. They will not quite offer the same warmth to weight ratio that down feather does, but it’s still much better than woollen alternatives. Fleece is also breathable and dries pretty quickly. However, fleece is more permeable to the wind, so for windy climates fleece may not be ideal.
This is your protective layer, acting as a defence against the driving rain, the heavy snow or howling winds.
Outer layers are very important, especially in bad weather. Their job is to prevent wind and water from penetrating the under layers, but they should still allow moisture to escape. Most decent ones will be treated with a Durable Water Repellent finish (DWR) which will held bead up water so that it rolls off the fabric. You are also able to purchase products from companies like Nikwax and Granger’s which will help improve the waterproofing of your garments.
It’s also important to note that this layer goes on top of your other layers so you may want to consider a larger size than your normal clothing. This will allow you to still be comfortable, and not have your movement restricted.
Top of the range outer layers are waterproof and breathable. They have laminated membranes and taped over seams to prevent water entry. However, these benefits come with increased costs, so if you want a fully waterproof outer layer, you’ve got to be prepared to pay for it.
Water-resistant and breathable shells are much more commonplace, and much more budget friendly. They are perfect for light precipitation and high levels of physical activity.
Softshells are also an option. These are the very breathable option, and perfect for aerobic activities. Many softshells offer both insulative and shell properties, which ideal for conditions that aren’t too harsh.
For heavy rain and where activity levels are at a minimum (such as fishing and watching sports) a waterproof, non-breathable fabric is good. Ponchos are usually found in this bracket. They’re very budget friendly and fold down into really small packages.
What to do next . . .
This all sounds kind of complex right?
Well simply think. 1) Base = wicks water. 2) Mid layer = warm layer. 3) Outerlayer = weatherproof. Putting it in that context should mean you won’t go to far wrong, and luckily our clothing range is pretty substantial so there are plenty of options to choose from!