Main Menu

Tag Archive: midlayers

  1. Independent Trekking Tips And Advice

    Leave a Comment

    Choosing not to join a commercial trek is an attractive alternative for many adventurers and is an option enjoyed by tens of thousands each year around the world. Without the support of fellow-trekkers and tour leaders, it means taking more personal responsibility for the obvious matters such as permits, route finding, accommodation and food. Not so obvious before setting out are the practical considerations on the trail each day.

    Go lightweight – resist the temptation to pack for every eventuality. Your rucksack will weigh you down, hold you back and, ultimately, demoralise you. Modern outdoor clothing is light, flexible and easy care. A baselayer top or two will double as T-shirts and an insulating mid layer worn over it and under a waterproof or soft shell jacket allows you to be comfortable in a wide range of temperatures and weather. You certainly don’t need to pack changes of clothing – wash, rinse and dry quickly is the best way.

    Feet – if you’re not used to hiking day after day, take it easy at first and check your heels and toes regularly. Boots or shoes that you know you can wear comfortably day after day are a much better bet than a brand new pair of tough trekking boots. Good socks – and a spare pair – make all the difference to comfort and foot care so change them during the day rather than each night. When you take a break, whip off boots, remove insoles and socks and let them all dry as your feet air off and cool down.

    Drinking – water, that is, not local firewater! Avoiding dehydration is a key component in staying healthy and making good decisions. Drink water regularly – by the time you feel thirsty, it’s already becoming too late. Filter or otherwise treat water you think is safe to drink and top up yourself as well as your bottle at every opportunity. Hot drinks from local stalls are refreshing but beware of bottled soft drinks as they may be filled round the corner.

    Sun – Basking in hours of sunshine at altitude can cause serious sunburn. Hat, sunglasses and sunscreen are the first line of defence. Take it easy to begin with until you adjust to the conditions.

    Stay in touch – even in remote areas, it’s surprisingly easy (depressing almost!) to stay in touch with family and friends. It’s hard to get lost on popular trekking routes and, if you’re tempted to wander up a side valley on your own, try to let somebody know what you’re planning to do. Use careful judgement as to who you tell, of course.

    Take it easy – you’re not in a completion so there’s no need to stick to a schedule. If a guidebook says a trek section should take 5 hours, remember it’s only a guide not an instruction or challenge. Take regular breaks, enjoy the scenery, chat with locals and share experiences with fellow-trekkers. It’s not a race and you’re there for the whole experience. When you’ve had a break, stretch your muscles before heading out again.

    Body clock – it pays to re-tune your way of operating to make the most of each day by rising early and enjoying a long break during the day before getting your head down early in the evening.


  2. Layering Clothing To Suit The Weather Conditions

    Leave a Comment

    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 –


  3. Help And Advice For Starting Hill Walking

    Leave a Comment

    For those who are relatively or completely new to the activity of hill walking, ‘New Hill Walkers’ by the BMC highlights some essential skills you should learn and develop on your trips into the hills and mountains, and provides a reference base of resources for learning the required skills. The free, 28-page booklet contains chapters on clothing and equipment, navigation, hazards, walking in winter, access and the environment, and emergency procedures.

    Download the booklet for FREE

    There’s good advice on choosing footwear and a rucksack as well as practical info on dressing to cope with the demands of weather and seasons in the hills. Insulating layers are the key to all day comfort – as the guide says:

    The range of temperatures experienced in one day will often be greater in the hills than in cities. Clothing to deal with such variation is therefore required. With the weight of your rucksack contents an important consideration, choosing items that fulfil a range of functions is a good idea. Waterproofs double up as windproofs for example.”

    It makes the point that, “It is better to wear several relatively thin layers than a single thick one, because the layers trap air which is a good insulator, and you can regulate your temperature more effectively by adding or removing layers. Materials which do not absorb moisture are better because wet clothes will make you feel cold.” Plus, “The baselayer should wick moisture away from your body, and so keep your skin dry and prevent excessive chilling every time you stop. As well as providing insulation, a thin midlayer also allows moisture to wick.”

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)