The Benefits Of Wearing Clothing Layers
The Ideal Clothing For Travel?
Wearing clothing layers is to dress in multiple garments (layers) in order to regulate your body temperature, so that you do not overheat or become too cold.
The clothing should transport sweat away from your skin to keep it as dry as possible, at the same time as it keeps your body warm. You regulate your temperature by taking off or putting on layers of clothing.
Layering is especially important if you are undertaking some kind of physical activities outdoors.
Wearing multiple layers of thin clothing keeps you warmer than if you are wearing few bulky clothes.
The clothing layers that together wick moisture, insulate, and protect from wind and rain, fall into three categories: bottom layer, middle layer and top layer.
Each of these clothing layers needs to have different features to keep you warm. In addition, you should wear hat, gloves, and boots as needed.
The Three Layers Clothing System
The three-layer system clothing is the best way to keep you warm and comfortable outdoors in any weather. The clothes you choose for your layer system should match the climate you are in, your activity level and your individual “thermostat”. You would need different kind of clothing layers if climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or cycling along the Great Ocean Road in Australia.
Each layer (bottom, middle, and top layer) has specific function but they act together in trapping heat, wicking moisture, blocking wind, and repelling water... making the three layer system clothing the most effective clothing for travel outdoors.
Clothing Layers Tips
Three clothing layers are of course not mandatory in all circumstances. In warm climate, only bottom layer could be sufficient while in cold climate, you might need more than one middle layer. The middle layer is the most flexible one but you should always have some form of top layer available, even in warm climate (something light but waterproof and windproof).
However, one thing is always valid - stay away from cotton...
The Bottom Layer
The bottom layer, or base layer, is the clothes that are in direct contact with your skin. Your underwear, socks, and tops are all bottom layer clothing. The most important aspect when choosing bottom layer is its ability to wick perspiration away from your skin to the middle layer.
Because when you are active outdoors, you tend to sweat, but when you stop your activity, you cool down quickly. Most material, like cotton, absorbs the moisture of sweat your body produces and you will almost immediately feel cold and wet. This is why you should always choose performance fabric for your bottom layer, i.e. material that does not retain the moisture but transports it away from your skin to the middle layer... keeping you dry and warm.
The bottom layer should fit snugly as that way the material performs better in wicking away the moisture from your skin. Underwear specially designed for outdoor activities usually consists of wool or various synthetic materials. Wool is great option, especially in cold climate, as it has good wicking properties and retains heat even if it gets wet. Synthetic material is however good alternative for those that cannot tolerate wool against their skin, as well as in warmer climate.
Bottom clothing layers come in three weight categories and the climate you are in, your activity level and your individual “thermostat” should determine which weight is right for you and your trip.
Lightweight bottom layer is designed for intense aerobic activity, moisture wicking is therefore top priority, not insulation. Mid-weight base layer provides moisture wicking and insulation for low intensity aerobic activities while heavyweight will wick moisture while insulation is the top priority.
The Middle Layer
The middle layer, or the insulation layer, is the second layer of clothing i.e. that goes on top of your bottom layer. The middle layer has two functions, to keep you warm and to transport moisture and excess heat away from your body.
The best middle layer material trap and hold your body heat in small air spaces in the material and continue to transport moisture away from your body. Fleece is an ideal choice for middle layer as it fulfills both criteria's but polyester, down, and wool are also commonly used as middle clothing layers.
The middle layer should be looser fitting than the bottom layer but it should not be baggy, as it needs to maintain contact with the base layer to function properly. In cold climates, you might need to wear more than one middle layer, e.g. wool top and fleece jacket. Multiple thin middle clothing layers can work better than one thick layer.
You can also get middle layer that are lined with wind and water resistant membrane, so you can wear them on its own over your bottom layer or under your top layer. These are not as comfortable or breathable but they are waterproof and windproof so they are great options for many occasions.
When choosing your middle layer you might want to include some extra features for extra comfort. Zip up collars allow you to trap heat in cool conditions but can be opened for releasing heat if you get too hot. Under arm zippers also give you extra ventilation options to help you regulate your temperature.
The Top Layer
The top layer, or outer layer / shell, should protect you from the elements so being waterproof and windproof are the most important qualities when choosing your top layer.
You might also want your top layer to be breathable, i.e. to allow the moisture from the inner clothing layers to escape. Clothing design can affect the breathability, i.e. zippers under arms. Some top layers are also insulating, which is important when travelling in cold climate.
The top layer must be able to withstand the elements as tear on your outer layer could ruin your whole layering system if it starts to rain. This could be important in harsh conditions. The top layer can also protect you from some minor injuries like cuts and scratches.
Jackets should have a hood that is roomy enough for a cap underneath. Pants should have ankle zippers that allow you to put them on or take them off while wearing boots, as well as ensuring snug fit over them.
The ultimate top layer is waterproof, windproof, breathable, and shock absorbing and you can easily find clothing now a day that incorporate all these qualities. Gore-Tex is the best material for windy and wet conditions.
Keeping the outside moisture out is the most important feature so to judge how waterproof the garment is you must bear the following in mind:
- The fabric is the most important factor and the waterproof factor is measured in pounds per square inch (psi) of water pressure, for adequately waterproof garment you would be looking for a score of 40 psi or more
- Seams are the weak spot where waterproofing is concerned (think of tents), so they must be sealed and coated to prevent leaking. The ideal garment would have as few seams as possible and not in vulnerable places, like shoulders and upper back
- Zippers are another weak spot so look for waterproof zippers or well shielded zippers
Where To Buy Clothing Layers Online?
Amazon offers wide range of clothing layers for both sexes.
Top Travel Tips Bottom Line
Wearing clothing layers is the ideal clothing for travel, adding and taking of pieces of clothing allows you to regulate your body temperature and feel comfortable at all times. This is of course extremely important when your travel includes outdoor activities but we believe the clothing layers strategy can be beneficial in most circumstances and add significantly to your comfort when travelling.