Layering hiking Clothes

Most essential layers and how to protect your extremities whilst Hiking

There is a reason layering is always on-trend during winter. It’s the most practical way to dress when it’s icy outside. A turtleneck under a sweater, under a jacket or a coat, will keep you warm. When it’s pretty cold out, sometimes, even the items in your wardrobe that you always depend on, like your jeans or your velvet pants no longer cut it.

Hiking Trail on Cooley Peninsula, Ireland's Ancient East
Hiking Trail on Cooley Peninsula, Ireland’s Ancient East

But when it comes to hiking activities, the layering represents a crucial step that will help you adapt to a broader range of conditions. Just make sure you focus on your activity level to create the appropriate combos. Layering your clothing is a great way to maximise comfort in the outdoors.  Plus, layers can be removed or added according to the weather.

It will be ideal if your clothing selections will complement one another so that each layer works together as part of a flexible overall system designed to maximise efficiency and minimise duplicity.

When it comes to hillwalking and hiking in the great outdoors, always keep in mind that there are three primary layers.

Most important layers:

Base Layer– the layer next to the skin

  • A base-layer will keep the skin dry by wicking away moisture
  • Should be lightweight: merino wool, polyester, polypropylene
  • Avoid cotton (takes longer to dry)

Insulation Layer– the warmth layer (middle layer)

  • more than one insulating layer will give you increased flexibility
  • recommended: fleece, sown and synthetic fibre: polar

Outer Layer – protection from the wind, rain and snow

  • this layer should contain clothing pieces which are waterproof or water resistant, quick drying, durable and breathable.
Clothes for winter hikes
Clothes for Winter hikes

Hands, feet and head

In cold weather, you can lose a significant proportion of your body heat via your extremities. Even though you may be decked out in the puffiest jackets if your extremities are not appropriately protected, chances to feel the cold bad are high. For the head, you will need a warm hat made of fleece and merino wool. Be sure the hat covers your ears and the back of your neck.

For the hands, thin liner gloves made of merino wool are lightweight and can be used only when the temperatures are not too cold. An excellent choice for colder temps is fleece or down mittens. For your feet use liner socks of merino wool as a base layer and on top of them add another pair of socks. You will also need some waterproof boots.

These are some simple rules to follow when heading on a hiking tour. Layering your clothing when heading outdoors is the key to being comfortable and protected from the elements. Using a layering system will allow you to self-regulate your body temperature as you feel necessary.