Outer Layer Hiking Clothing

Outer Layer Hiking Clothing (Insulation Jackets And Shells)

13/07/2021 Off By chadmin
The outer layer should not only add warmth but is also expected to keep you dry and protected from the elements. Most outer layers are manufactured from windproof and waterproof or water-repellent fabrics. Aim for something large enough to cover all your layers beneath. Keep in mind that the more waterproof the material, the less breathable it probably is.




A waterproof breathable shell that is soft and light works well in most conditions, though in harsh weather conditions you will need an insulation jacket to protect you from cold, wind, and precipitation. Check to ensure that the seams have been properly sealed because moisture often seeps in through seams and zippers. Clothes made of genuine Gore-Tex fabric have a good reputation; there are other similar materials on the market as well.



2 and 3-layer laminates dominate the market of waterproof breathable jackets. Waterproof fabrics are much heavier, and when they aren’t breathable enough, the insulation is getting wet from trapped perspiration. To avoid this, the outer layer should have excellent moisture management properties in order to allow moisture transfer from the body to the outside environment.





Important things about waterproof breathable garments:

Waterproofness and breathability are contradictory requirements so, when buying a waterproof breathable jacket, you’ll have to choose between protection and comfort.
Waterproof membranes won’t function properly when clogged with dirt and sweat.
In rainy conditions, the breathability of your clothing might be compromised. This happens when water is absorbed by the outer shell layer (treat it with a durable water repellent in order to avoid that). 
During strenuous activities, you sweat a lot so even the most breathable outer layer cannot keep you dry as you’ll get wet from the inside.
Thick clothing reduces the breathability of your garments further so you need to find the balance between weight and functionality. In harsh weather conditions, you will need an insulation jacket to protect you from cold, wind, and precipitation. Thermal insulation prevents cooling of the body and ensures that the body stays warm. However, in cold conditions, your body needs some help from your outfit to stay warm enough. For this reason, your outer layer has to be wind-resistant, waterproof, and breathable.




The most widespread shell fabrics are polyester and nylon because of properties such as durability and hydrophobicity. The type and amount of insulation are no less important than the shell fabric. Cotton, polyester, and down are often used for insulation. Insulation jackets filled with down are light, warm, and comfortable thanks to the superior insulative properties of down from ducks and geese. Down is also durable and packable and lasts longer than any synthetic fill. Unfortunately, down is quite expensive and what’s more, it’s not very suitable for backpacking because it absorbs a lot of water, loses its insulating ability when wet, and dries slowly. Synthetic insulations are cheaper and more reliable than down in wet and cold weather conditions. They absorb little moisture and dry quickly. However, synthetic insulations are also less thermally efficient and not as compact and soft as down.