The key to layering

The traditional layering system comprises several layers which can be worn separately or in combination to allow you to regulate your comfort when the weather or how hard you’re working changes. Several thin layers offer greater flexibility than a few thick bulky ones and each layer within the system serves a specific purpose, meaning when combined they will keep you warm dry and comfortable in even the worst mountain weather.
Baselayers
The baselayer is there primarily to manage moisture; wicking sweat away from your skin is key to staying warm and dry in the mountains, as this maintains a layer of warm air close to the body. As this layer is worn against your skin comfort is also a consideration. We use a range of exclusive drirelease® tencel fabrics that are perfect in baselayers, being soft, fast drying and Polygiene® treated for extended wear.
Mid Layers
Mid layers are there to trap your body heat whilst still allowing moisture from sweat to move through the system, as such they should be warm yet breathable. Fleece has long been the mainstay in a traditional layering system and is still hard to beat today, modern gridded fabrics such as Pontetorto® Tecnopile are warm and low bulk. However, if you feel the cold then modern active synthetics such as Polartec® Alpha® or our own POLARLOFT® fills provide a warmer option.
Shell Layers
Your Shell layer is there to protect your inner layers from wind, rain and snow. Whether you choose a Hard or Soft Shell layer is largely down to conditions on the day. We recommend GORE-TEX® and GORE-TEX Pro® for winter use and when you expect the very worst mountain weather. In summer, or with a good forecast, a Soft Shell can offer greater comfort: we use our own highly breathable EXOLITE series of fabrics in our Soft Shell garments as well as extremely protective GORE® Windstopper®.
Insulation
The insulation layer is your booster layer to trap heat whilst in-active such as at a belay or lunch stop, or whilst on the go when the mercury plummets. At Mountain Equipment we have over 50 years of expertise in insulated clothing. Your main choice here is between down or synthetic insulation. Down is warmer for its weight than synthetic but does not function as well when wet; modern blown-fill synthetics, such as our own POLARLOFT® Featherless, offer wet weather performance with some of the comfort of down. If climbing you should size your insulation layer so it can be worn over all your other layers.