Outdoor Clothing: How Important is Layering Most people do not give much thought about layering of their outdoor clothing. They assume it is as simple as putting on more layers of clothing when cold and removing as temperature goues up. But the fact remains that this technique works only if the proper garments are chosen.
Base Layer This is the first layer of clothing, also known as the wicking layer, worn on your body. An ideal base layer should be able to absorb moisture from your skin and dry quickly. The base layer clothing is usually made from materials like polyester, nylon, and polypropylene. These are sometimes combined with engineered fabrics to improve the performance and comfort in both hot and cold climates. The colour of theses garments also plays a significant role as light colours reflect sunâ€™s heat and are more suited for hot conditions while dark coloured clothing is best for cold conditions.
Insulation Layer This second layer of clothing is meant to provide warmth to the body by means of insulation. This is usually a sweater, vest or long and stretchy pants. Fleece is one of the most commonly used materials for this. It is a combination of polyester, nylon, and Lycra materials but can also be made from recycled plastic bottles that are woven in combination with polyester fabrics. Climbers and mountain bikers can choose the thinner insulation layer that can stretch in all the areas while backpackers and mountaineers should go for thicker and lighter insulation layers.
Shell Layer The third layer is the outermost clothing worn to protect the body from undesirable weather conditions. This is most commonly a lightweight shell, manufactured from nylon fabric but can also be made from leather, wool or heavier grades of nylon, some which are virtually indestructible. The shell should be waterproof, breathable, windproof and also consist of a hood depending on the use and the types of conditions you are going to encounter.
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