Adventure Clothing

The Layering System (3 Things to Know)

October 9, 2020

As time marches on into fall and certainly winter, many customers will be coming to Bill Jackson’s Shop for Adventure for cold weather clothing.  Floridians who will be travelling north and west for their adventures will find the cold to be a challenge, even though it is predicted winter will be mild like last year.

The idea of purchasing winter clothing is something that many Floridians dread.  We have customers who have a hard time grappling with buying something that they may only wear once.  Well there is good news.  Consider layering your clothing.  Use multiple layers, any one of which you’d wear here in Florida. These layers are classified into 3 types.

Layering System

The Layering System:

Base Layer

Base layers refer to the first clothing one puts on.  It touches your skin, and many call it “long underwear”.  This layer need not be very thick as its primary use is to wick moisture away from the body.

Even in the cold of winter, the body will sweat.  If this moisture stays next to your skin, it can chill you.  The first step in keeping you warm is a quality base layer.

The material of this layer is very important.  It has to not only wick, but to also dry quickly.  Cotton wicks great, but doesn’t dry well.  For this reason, it is a poor choice for long underwear.  Synthetic fabrics and wool are much better choices as they will dry quicker, but also will insulate when wet.

Middle Layer

The middle layer is more accurately called the insulating layer.  Insulation is the barrier which inhibits heat loss.  Think of it as not keeping you warm, but prolonging the getting cold process.  We keep ourselves warm as a warm blooded animal.  Insulation in the form of dead air space, slows the loss of heat.

Sweaters, fleeces and puffy jackets do the trick, but if you wear more than one there is a bonus.  The gap between layers forms an insulating layer.  Multiple thinner layers can do the job.  Each of those thinner layers can be used on those cooler days here in Florida.  The problem with one big heavy jacket is that there is only one or two days out of the year in the sunshine state when it is appropriate.

Outer/Shell Layer

The outermost layer should be waterproof and windproof.  As stated before, staying dry helps you stay warm.  Wind will also strip heat off you. There are jackets which combine the middle and outer layers, but they lack flexibility.  A shell can be used by itself, or in conjunction with insulating layers.

This layer not only needs to be wind and waterproof, but also breathable.  When one sweats the base layer wicks it away, but it still needs to go somewhere.  It evaporates into water vapor which can then pass through a waterproof/breathable membrane like Gore-Tex.  This keeps you dry from the environment and your sweat.

Know yourself

Your internal thermostat will dictate the quantity and type of materials that comprise your layers.  One person may get cold easily, and another may not.  If you do not know, it is better to error on the side of warmth.  Don’t put yourself in a position of not being able to stay warm. Outfitters at Bill Jackson’s are an excellent sounding board as you determine what you will need.  We have a saying at our store.  “There is no such thing as bad weather; just inappropriate clothing.”