We have noticed that (especially when it is cold) many people use coats and trousers that are always lined and insulated. These jackets and trousers are themselves waterproof, windproof and warm. Sounds perfect, of course, until you start being active, exert yourself, your body temperature rises … and then the clothes suddenly begin to feel too warm, you start to sweat too much, you are wet and overheated. And the worst is yet to come when you stop or pause, and you suddenly cool off, your clothes are wet, you are wet, and as a result you are cold and miserable. Moreover, this warming and cooling only costs a lot of energy. Also these products are often bulky, barely packable and just not very flexible and versatile in use.
A better and more flexible way to deal with the changing conditions during high-intensity activities is the three-layer system. It consists of three layers of clothing that complement each other and that you can change in relation to each other depending on the circumstances and intensity of your activity. As we have written before, it is best to buy a system that is matched to each other. (see previous tips)
You can also apply the 3-layer system to your hands, feet and your head.
Layer 1 – Basic layer
The first layer forms the basis of our entire system. It consists of a moisture-regulating layer that is worn directly on the body. The layer must have the ability to carry away moisture from your body, keep you warm or cool, and be quick-drying.
I always choose Merino Wool as the first layer.
It has good insulating properties.
Is warm in the winter and cool in summer.
Also stays warm when it is humid (you can safely walk through a short shower). And you will see that you it just dry’s while walking afterwards.
It gives bacteria less chance. So less chance of irritation spots in the armpits or blisters on the feet.
It starts to smell less quickly. (The group will thank you)
You do not have to wash it that often. This is even advised! Venting is enough if it is not dirty.
It is an investment, but one that is worthwhile. There is a lot of difference in thickness and wear and tear resistance. Our favorite is Woolpower.
Layer 2 – Middle layer
The second layer aims to insulate. This layer should keep the body warm and pass the perspiration as quickly as possible from the base layer to your outer layer. Different materials are used in this type of clothing, such as fleece, merino wool, down or synthetic fibers. Often a soft shell with a windproof membrane will also suffice. Usually I use a G1000 shirt from Fjällräven in the summer, and in the winter a thicker (400) merino wool sweater or cardigan. I also always carry a Keb Loft jacket from Fjällräven. It weighs nothing and keeps you fantastically warm. Tested until -15
Middle layers are available in many different insulation values. If you want to be prepared for different circumstances, it is wise to invest in middle layers in different values. You can easily pack the warmer layer in your backpack for when the conditions are colder (or vice versa, the less warm version for warmer conditions) or even wear them together when it gets really cold. As always, it is wise to have different options to deal with the changing elements.
Layer 3 – Outer layer
The outer layer is the hard shell. This layer is wind and waterproof and is the last step in the transport of perspiration from your skin to the outside air. Examples of waterproof and moisture-permeable fabrics are eg Gore-Tex or Eco Shell. The outer layer is intended to protect you against the elements, so that the properties of the middle layer and the base layer remain functional. Usually these jackets will have no lining or isolation from themselves and will focus on the primary function of protecting you from the elements.
For certain elements (if you do not expect too much rain, you can also wear a softshell or merino wool as an outer shell, which combines layers 2 and 3.
And how does that all work in practice?
Well, you can only learn by practicing. So take all of your layers in a backpack and go out in your neighborhood during different weather conditions. This way you can test everything and experience what suits you bestie different weather types. And because you are close to home, you are right back in a protective environment.
Good luck and have fun