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HOW TO LAYER FOR SUMMER HIKING


Getting your layering system right in any weather is the best way to regulate your temperature and stay protected - but layering for hot weather can leave those used to the slopes stumped. Fundamentally, the three types of layers are the same, but they take on a different purpose when the temperatures rise.

Base Layer

Base layers come into their own when managing moisture on summer hikes. Summer base layers are thin and lightweight, designed to pull sweat away from the skin and dry quickly to minimise wind chill. 

 

Merino wool base layers are naturally softer, more insulating and odour-resistant - perfect for multi-day hikes. Merino reacts better with varying temperatures, so you'll still be comfortable if the temperature drops.

 

Synthetic base layers, like polyester or polypropylene, are naturally stretchy, fast-drying and sweat-wicking, so if you're getting active on a high-speed hike or trail run, or have a naturally higher body temperature, these are the ones for you.

 

Base layers made from a blend of merino and synthetic fibres will have a combination of these qualities in different proportions, so consider your normal body temperature and your activity to work out which is best for you.

Mid-layer

Even if you're taking on fells or Munros in the middle of summer, once you get to the summit, conditions invariably turn windy - and that's where your mid-layer comes in. They offer breathable warmth by trapping heat and wicking away the sweat your base layer pulls from your skin, and different types of mid-layers offer varying degrees of versatility.

 

A fleece mid-layer is usually a good choice for summer hiking, as they're fast-drying and water resistant. Look for Polartec, Polartec Micro and Polartec Power Dry for different levels of insulation.

 

Softshells offer higher levels of wind and water resistance without sacrificing breathability and weight, and are a great choice for climbers as they're more durable, too. Fabrics like WINDSTOPPER are completely windproof for mountain hiking.

 

Mid-layers and softshells offer either a close or relaxed fit, without restricting natural movement in either case. Gusseted underarms and fabrics like Polartec Power Stretch provide more dynamic flexibility.

Outer Layer

Even in summer, a shower is rarely far away, so going into the hills prepared is everything. Your outer layer in summer is usually a waterproof shell, designed to keep out wind and rain while allowing moisture and vapour to escape so you stay cool and dry. A lightweight and packable jacket will fit easily into your pack without adding bulk.

Need a little more epxert advice? Check out our base layer buying guide and mid-layer buying guide.