How to Layer for Summer Adventures


HOW TO LAYER FOR YOUR NEXT SPRING & SUMMER ADVENTURE

Whether you’re hiking, trekking or climbing in summer or winter, every layering system includes a base layer, mid layer and waterproof. These work together to help regulate your body temperature across a variety of weather conditions and physical activity levels.

Each layer transports sweat to the outside of your system while the waterproof shell protects you from the elements. For enjoyment and comfort on any spring and summer adventure, an effective layering system is essential.


Base Layer (To Wick Away any Sweat and Keep You Comfortable)

Technical base layers are just as important in the summer as they are in winter. Summer base layers are thin, light and fit like a second skin. They pull sweat away from the skin and dry quickly, to keep you comfortable and minimise wind chill.

 

High quality base layers are constructed with polyester, polypropylene and/or merino wool fibres for their natural sweat-wicking, fast-drying and temperature-regulating properties.

 

Non-technical fabrics like cotton retain moisture, leaving you feeling damp and chilly on the mountain.

  • Merino wool base layers are naturally softer, insulating and odour-resistant (perfect for multi-day hikes). Merino reacts better to varying temperatures, so that you’re cool and comfortable.
  • Synthetic base layers (polyester or polypropylene) are naturally stretchy, durable, fast-drying and sweat-wicking.
  • Base layers which blend merino with synthetic fibres are generally durable, softer on the inside and great at regulating your body temperature.

Mid Layer (To Banish Cold on the Summit)

When you’re climbing or hiking fells in the Lake District or Munros in the Scottish Highlands, and even lower-level hills in the North York Moors and the South Downs, you’re always exposed to windy conditions on the summit.

 

Mid layers offer breathable warmth and comfort by trapping heat, wicking sweat, drying fast and preventing overheating. There are different styles of mid layers which offer different degrees of versatility.

 

Climbers may prefer something with extra durability, while summer-weight mid layers and fleeces and windproof softshells can be worn as an outer layer in warm weather.

 

Non-technical cotton mid layers, like hoodies or jumpers, absorb sweat and raise the risk of wind chill.

  • Mid layers and fleeces are durable, sweat-wicking, fast-drying and water resistant or repellent with different degrees of insulation. Polartec, Polartec Micro and Polartec Power Dry are ideal fabrics for summer hiking.
  • Softshells offer higher levels of wind and water resistance without sacrificing breathability and weight. Fabrics like WINDSTOPPER are completely windproof for climbing and mountain hiking.
  • Mid layers and softshells can offer a close or relaxed fit without restricting natural movement. Gusseted underarms and fabrics like Polartec Power Stretch provide more dynamic flexibility.
  • Technical features like hoods and zips help you easily regulate body temperature.

Waterproof Jacket (To Deny Those Unpredictable Showers)

We don’t need to tell you how predictably unpredictable the British weather can be, even in spring and summer sunshine, so it’s important to always head into the hills prepared for those sporadic showers.

 

The outer shell is designed to block out the elements and helps moisture and vapour to escape, so that you’re dry, cool and comfortable and your base and mid layer can continue performing at their best.

 

For spring and summer hiking, lightweight, breathable and packable waterproofs are the best choice (so that your jacket can live in your pack without adding too much bulk in dry weather).

  • Arc'teryx Gore-Tex C-Knit Backer (pictured below) and Rab Pertex Shield+ (pictured above) are completely waterproof and highly breathable.
  • Ensure that your outer shell comfortably fits over your base layer and mid layer without limiting your movement.