On a news website, these headlines occupied the same page – ‘Indian summer this Autumn’ and ‘Nightmare winter’. Outdoors, it often feels like that in the same day, especially in the hills.
Dressing to suit changing weather and different levels of exertion is easy these days. You’re not likely to need the same clothing heading up a mountain as you would coming down and you should never rely on mountain weather being stable. The answer is simple – layering. Modern fabrics, well-made in good designs will cope with anything you and the weather can throw at them – reliably, flexibly and not costing a fortune.
Baselayers can use fabrics designed to keep you cool or warm with the aim of being consistently comfortable. Short sleeve or long sleeve, they’re worn next to the skin under other layers or on their own as appropriate.
Over the baselayer tops, a mid layer is designed to deliver warmth by insulation. Light and durable, there are loads of options to suit the time of year, what you’re doing and where you’re going. Extra insulation, such as a down-filled jacket, is great in really cold weather.
It’s not just the rain that an outer layer protects you from as wind can be an insidious force that steadily robs you of warmth.
However, you chose to put the layers together, bear in mind the need to ventilate at times, by opening zips, rather than continually overheating. All too often people slog up a hillside and strip off layers on the summit. Taking them off before boiling up and replacing them to avoid cooling down too fast is the key.
However you chose to dress, do check the weather before you go and, even if it’s looking good, pack spare clothing and a waterproof in your rucksack.
Check it out!
Mountain Weather Information Service – www.mwis.org.uk