When it comes to staying warm and comfortable, bigger isn’t necessarily better. In fact, the experts agree lightweight layers are not only more comfortable, they can actually be more effective than bulky layers. And, of course, not just any lightweight layer, but specific types of fabrics. When it comes to layering, our high performance MicroMerino® fabrics are the rock stars of layering.
So, wondering where to start? Read on!
Some people completely overlook underwear as the foundation of their layering. Big mistake. Ordinary underwear can really compromise the benefits of your next layers. Flat lock seams, no tags, breathability, moisture control and odor-resistant properties are the perfect starting point. Whatever you do, don’t stuff up your layers by wearing average undies.
Made with superfine Australian Merino Wool, our soft, comfortable and high performing underwear give you everything you need for year round comfort in some of your most delicate areas. Whether you’re layering up for a big adventure, travelling, or simply looking to be naturally comfortable every day, start with high performance thermal underwear.Your Second Skin.
With your underwear taken care of, you’ll want your first ‘official’ layer to sit comfortably smooth and firm against your skin to avoid any unnecessary bunching or bulk. This sets you up for all types and levels of activity. You’ll find all sorts of options available out there, all with varying performance qualities. Often, you’ll be faced with various levels of compromise. Some are less expensive, but not as comfortable. Or comfortable, but not as warm. Or warm, but bulky.
Our recommendation is our lightweight, textured ‘Vital’ range which is made from a lightly ribbed MicroMerino® fabric known as ‘Kryptos’. A fabric offering all of the superior warmth and comfort you’ve come to expect from our layers. It’s been specially designed to wick moisture away from your skin while the ribbed texture creates little pockets of air. It’s the combination of these two effects that deliver unrivalled warmth when it’s cold, yet keeps you from overheating when it warms up. Introducing the Base Layer.
Your next layer is what many people refer to as a ‘base layer’. If you’re ‘free bagging’ (AKA ‘going combat’ – you know, not wearing any undies!), and going without a second skin layer, this is going to be your official base. Even if technically, there may well be a layer of two beneath this base! But it’s the base that needs to deliver maximum heat retention and temperature regulation. Whether you’re going with a single layer in milder conditions, or layering up, you’ll want this to be as lightweight and comfortable as it is warm.
In our range, look for the Altitude layers. These have been specifically designed to either sit soft and smooth against your skin, or work in combination with the ribbed second skin. When you have the smoothness of your skin, a ribbed second skin and then a smooth base layer, you create two extra levels of MicroInsulation courtesy of the air trapped between. This is one of the insider’s secrets to true high performance layering.
While all Merino fabrics have a nice, natural two-way stretch thanks to Mother Nature, you’ll want this layer to be as flexible as possible so you have complete freedom of movement. We add a tiny bit of Elastane into the mix (usually around 4%), which then delivers a full, four-way stretch for a completely unrestricted range of movement whether you’re climbing up mountains, running along trails, racing down slopes, or reaching across the bar.Adding Mid Layers to the Mix.
Anything that goes over a base layer, but potentially under an outer layer, usually gets called a ‘mid layer’. Because it’s in the middle. Makes sense, right? It could be a variety of weights and comes into play when the temperature really drops.
Now stick with us here, because this is where things start getting a little tricky. In mid-range cold temperatures, let’s say around freezing, you may not need anything more than a quality base and one extra layer. Which, technically, would make your mid layer an outer layer if you know what we mean. So let’s not get caught up on the whole ‘mid’ thing.
This layer will usually be looser fitting so there’s room underneath for your under layers. And depending on how you’re feeling, and what the weather’s doing, there’s no rule that says your mid layer can’t go solo. The beauty of high performance layering is that you can mix and match to suit the weather. So be sure to choose a mid layer that still has a good, comfortable next to skin feel.Finish up with Outer Layers.
Now, there’s two kinds of outer layers you may need. The first is simply an extra layer of warmth. When the wind chill factor kicks in or the temperature plummets below zero, your regular lightweight layers may need a helping hand. So a thicker, fleece-like outer layer will help you laugh at the cold.
If it’s a little damp, a MicroMerino® fabric will continue to retain warmth nicely, but when Mother Nature really spits the dummy and hits you with everything she’s got, you’re going to need to bite the bullet and get yourself into a waterproof jacket. As good at retaining warmth as Merino is, it’s not waterproof, so in those circumstances, it’s less than fantastic and you’re going to have to jump into some plastic we’re afraid. Look for something breathable – although anyone who’s ever worn a so-called ‘breathable’ waterproof jacket before will know there’s really no such thing. If it keeps water out, it pretty much traps air in, and you’re going to sweat up a storm inside that jacket. This is where moisture wicking, temperature regulating layers underneath will continue to serve you well and keep you as comfortable as possible.
Then, when you can ditch the waterproofs, you’ll have your quick drying, moisture wicking, temperature regulating layers back in action and helping you perform at your best.Don’t Forget the Accessories.
Why let the rest of your body have all of the fun? With our range of accessories, you can keep your head, face and feet just as warm and comfortable as the rest of your body. Take our word for it, compromising your accessories is going to sacrifice your whole layering system and leave you feeling cold and uncomfortable. So don’t forget to add some of our Merino accessories to your wardrobe before heading out into the elements next.