If you’re heading outdoors for any sort of activity, the last thing you want is for your wardrobe to be ill-prepared.
In fact, wardrobe choice can have more at-stake here, depending on how you look at it. The clothing you wear outdoors can be the difference between comfortable or cold, even life or death.
We live in a time where the knowledge of what to wear is often missing. Where our ancestors might have commonly understood, “weekend warriors” are often learning as they go, which is less than ideal if you’re too hot or too cold in the meantime!
No one wants to be that person who is unprepared, so here’s what you should know about dressing for the outdoors, whether you’re heading on an adventure, or simply getting from A to B during your day.
Dressing for the weather
Not to state the obvious, but it’s always about being prepared for the weather conditions and being comfortable in them. If you’re a hiker, walking to your office, or even enjoying a bicycle trail near home, your clothing can make the difference between overheating or heading toward potential hypothermia.
The bottom line of dressing for the weather is choosing clothing to keep cool while it’s hot, and warm when it’s cold. Wearing layers is a key secret to achieving this in any kind of weather.
Layers mean that you adjust to temperature changes simply by adding or removing a layer. For convenience, mobility and versatility, it tends to be easier if you choose layers that will be easy to carry in a backpack or similar. There are several lightweight options that can pack a punch in terms of warmth.
Base layer clothing
The job of a base layer should be to keep you warm enough by wicking moisture away from your body. If you’re exerting yourself, you can work up a sweat even during cool temperatures, and sweat conducts heat away from your body. Different types of base layers will work for different weather conditions, for example:
- Cold weather. Depending on the level of cold, midweight polypropylene or merino wool tops make for excellent base layers. Both will wick moisture and merino has the added bonus of not being prone to odor.
If it’s very cold, you might try a lightweight top underneath, with a midweight layered over the top for maximum wicking and warmth. It all depends on your own level of exertion and comfort. Some people might opt for short sleeves instead of long, for example.
Note also that if it’s particularly cold, you may need long underwear under your pants in either wool or polypropylene too.
- Warm weather. You might be out in hot weather, in which case a short sleeve, synthetic fiber t-shirt and polyester briefs can be good as moisture wicking base layers.
Essentially, any shirt can become a base layer in warm weather, so look for something with moisture wicking. You might also look for UPF rated base layers to provide extra sun protection.
Mid layer clothing
The job of the mid layer is to provide warmth (more so than the base layer). Its function is to insulate you from the cold and continue to wick moisture away. (Of course, you may not need this layer at all in warm conditions, but it’s good to have in your pack).
A good example of a mid layer is the classic fleece. It is still breathable so that you don’t overheat and will continue to wick moisture. A jacket with synthetic insulation such as soft shell may also do the trick.The key to dressing well for the outdoors is to think in layers Click To Tweet
Outer layer clothing
The outer layer is there to protect you from the elements. In wet or snowy conditions it should keep you dry, while acting as a windbreaker to prevent the chill from getting through on windy days.
Of course, outer layer clothing depends upon the weather. If it’s not raining or you don’t expect wet weather, then you can wear something more breathable as an outer shell (for example, soft shell or a ventilated wind shell).
Many shell layers these days are not insulated, which actually allows for a great deal of versatility. For example, you can wear them over the top of insulated layers in the winter to stay warm and dry, or put it over the top of your tech t-shirt in the spring to ward off showers.
It’s also important to know the difference between “waterproof” and “water resistant.” All waterproof and water resistant layers have been treated on the outside to help prevent the garment from absorbing water, but waterproof layers have been coated on the inside and have sealed seams to ensure you stay dry. If you’re expecting heavier rain, you need to go for waterproof.
Suggestions for outdoor clothing
Here are a few suggestions of outdoor clothing from our catalogue:
The Gimos water-resistant coat is an excellent all-rounder for inclement weather. You can wear it for your outdoor adventures, but the stylish design is equally at home over the top of your suit during wet weather.
The coat features a removable wind barrier at the chest for extra protection.
We have three different styles of Save the Duck vests for women including longer, shorter or hooded styles.
These are an excellent outer layer choice for breezy spring or fall days, or even on milder winter days. Save the Duck provides the warmth of down but uses a synthetic alternative.
The vests are windproof and made from a practical, stretchy fabric that allows you to stay comfortable, whatever your activity. The stylish look makes this vest suitable for the city or the wilderness.
This compact, densely woven, super lightweight shell fabric is durable and soft. It will pack easily into a backpack, be light to carry, but provide warmth when you need it, even on very cold days.
The welded diamond cells of this knit are filled with polyfill to provide insulation. Reinforced woven taslan facing at placket, cuffs, collar, hem and chest pocket make it a durable choice, ideal whether you’re involved in something highly physical, or just taking a stroll.
When you need something lightweight and waterproof, this is the outer layer shell for you. The construction maintains breathability in the heat and warmth when the weather cools.
The jacket features vent panels under the arms and at the back along with a light mesh lining to provide ample airflow. It has elastic cinches around the waist that will mold to your lower layers.
Importantly, you’re not sacrificing style! This is a well-made jacket that looks good.
Relwen Shag Fleece Jacket
This shag fleece jacket with hood is the ideal mid-layer on very cold days, or outer layer during less-cold days. The exterior is a sherpa knit pile with an interior of smooth bonded fleece.
The high throat collar is a great feature for zipping against the cold and the hood is designed to contour around the face for maximum comfort. This is the perfect, versatile layer.
These are the perfect pant to pull on before you head out for outdoor activities. The nylon shell features 6% spandex and enough stretch to get you through most excursions.
The Relwen Sprint Wind Pant is breathable and water resistant. The inside features a comfortable grey heather jersey, lightweight polyester/cotton lining.
Lastly we would add, don’t forget your accessories! Things like hats, gloves and scarves can make all the difference between being comfortable or not. Look for durable, well-made items with insulation where needed.
Dressing for the outdoors is easy when you have the right formula. Layer up and be prepared for any weather!