Thursday, 5 February 2009

layering system

As oft been quoted 'We don't have climate; we have weather.' And over the last few weeks we have experienced some. So with this in mind I thought long and hard about what kit that I might need to be comfortable in when out and about over the coming weekend.

The principle of a layering system is that several layers of clothes fulfil a number of functions; transmit moisture, keep you warm, keep the wind and rain out. And as you have a number of layers you have the flexibility to add or take away one or more to meet the demands of the conditions.

I usually use the five layer system that Chris Townsend has outlined previously; base layer, mid layer, windproof layer, insulation layer and waterproof layer. Depending on the items that make up these layers this system would suffice for most situations. However being cautious and wanting to be comfortable I've decided on some tweaks.

Base layer

Under the usual Berghaus long sleeve top I'll be wearing a North Face Flight T shirt. The T shirt is a good fit so will trap air next to the skin around my body's core without hindering moisture transference. 

Mid layer

I'll wear a Mountain Hardware micro fleece as my mid layer.

Windproof layer

Over the mid layer I will wear a North Face Apex top. The Apex top is a soft shell garment that is wind and water resistant and replaces the windshirt that I would normally pack. I's more breathable and warmer to wear than a thin pertex top, although bulkier and heavier, it's something that's comfortable to wear over a range of conditions. In effect it's a secondary mid layer with added weather resistance.

Insulation layer

I'll be using a primaloft jacket, a North Face Red Point, as a synthetic filled top copes better with damp conditions than a down filled one. The shell material is more robust than the shell material of my other top and is more weather resistant, and has full length zip for more flexible venting. If the weather is particularly harsh I can wear this whilst walking otherwise it will go on at rest or lunch stops, or at the end of the day when at camp.

Rainproof layer

A Marmot Precip jacket and a pair of Golite reed pants complete the layers.

Hats, gloves and gaiters

I've a selection of hats and gloves that I will have to make a decision on before the off. I'll most likely pack a pair of paclite over mitts and windproof gloves, and a Lowe Alpine Mountain Cap (probably the best bit of cold weather gear ever!) Add to these a pair of cheap Outdoor Designs short gaiters and that's me covered.


Phreerunner said...

Baz, this sounds fine for going to a soccer match, but were you actually hoping to achieve forward momentum. If so, I think you're way over the top!
We're in -30C conditions just now. 3 layers are perfectly adequate - silk vest, long sleeved t-shirt, Vapour Rise smock, two pairs of gloves, one pair of socks, long johns, trousers, and PacLites in reserve for additional draughts.
I think if you're not careful you may be simulating a sauna!

baz carter said...

I was going to wear shorts and sandals but I may have over compensated.

Anonymous said...

Same type of stuff I take, Chris Townsend described it really well in TGO last year and it works for me.
I generally just wear the base layer and windshirt, put on the the fleece if it's chilly/when walking downhill in the cold, use the Primaloft when I stop ( I getcold really quickly when I stop, but stay warm when I'm moving) , and put on the waterproof when its, erm, erm, raining!!.

Also add a beanie, a buff, some warm gloves (I also get cold hands easily!) and some really light waterproof trousers.

Martin Rye said...

I go for the base layer and wind proof most times. A thicker base layer for real cold days over that and warm jacket for camp. Maybe I don't feel the cold as bad as others.

What matters is layering works and the individual can mix and match to meet the requirements they need for the hills. What works for one might not for another.

baz carter said...

I'm going to post an update based on my experience at the weekend.