The key to staying warm this winter is to implement a great layering system. To ensure that you stay comfortable in any conditions, there are two important things to remember:
Firstly, choosing the wrong fabric can be detrimental, especially if you are planning to go camping or hiking. For instance, cotton is a poor choice for a base layer because it absorbs and retains moisture. This can decrease your core temperature and chafe your skin, leading to intense discomfort.
Secondly, once you have an effective layering system in place, every winter activity will be more pleasurable. You can head out into any corner of South Africa, knowing that when that intense cold front pulls in, you’ll be safe and sound.
With that in mind, our simple guideline below lists the benefits of each layer in the system, to help you conquer the cold this winter.
Layer 1 - Base Layer
A good base layer wicks away moisture from the skin. This helps to moderate your temperature, keeping you warm and dry in cold conditions.
- Moisture wicking worn next to skin
- Helps to moderate your temperature
- Reduces the risk chafing during activities
- makes outdoor activities much more comfortable
Layer 2 - Mid Layer
The primary goal of the mid-layer is to retain body heat and protect you from the cold. Fleece jerseys and jackets are particularly good in this regard.
- Worn over the base layer
- Further wicks away sweat and moisture
- Essential for keeping your core temperature high
- Often made with Fleece material
Layer 3 - Insulating Layer
The function of the insulating layer is to trap the warmth your body naturally generates. It should have an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio, meaning that is extremely light-weight, while boasting exceptional heat retention properties.
- Worn over the mid layer
- Best for windy and cold conditions
- Preferably down filled for maximum heat retention
- Lightweight but still provides excellent insulation
Layer 4 - Outer Layer
When the weather takes a turn for the worse, a reliable outer layer is your best defense. Often referred to as the shell, a good outer layer should have windproof and waterproof qualities, keeping you protected in harsh conditions.
- Final layer in the system
- Essential for cold and wet conditions
- Windproof and waterproof
- Arguably the most important layer in truly foul weather