Getting ready for your next hike? Don’t forget the secret to staying warm and comfy: midlayers. When you’re out and the weather is chilly, midlayers are your best friend.
In this post, we’ll unravel the magic of midlayers and how they keep you cozy while exploring. Let’s explore the world of outdoor comfort.
Think of midlayers as the snug layers sandwiched between your base layer (the one closest to your skin) and your outer layer (the one facing the elements). When the weather is mild, midlayers can also work as your outer layer.
Midlayers are essential because they provide that much-needed warmth without making you feel like you’re trapped in a sauna. Here’s why they’re a big deal:
Now that we understand what midlayers are all about, let’s explore the different types available:
Fleeces are the Swiss Army knives of hiking midlayers, with varying thicknesses for versatility:
2. Merino Wool
Merino wool is a standout in outdoor clothing—it’s like the superstar of fabrics, especially as a hiking midlayer. This natural fiber not only keeps you warm but also helps keep odors away. Plus, it’s eco-friendly and breathable, making it a smart choice for various activities.
However, merino wool midlayers can be two to four times pricier than alternative choices.
3. Softshell Jackets
Softshell jackets are like the middle ground between waterproof outer shells and fleeces. They’re tough, comfy, and perfect for intense activities in unpredictable weather.
While not as wind and water-resistant as hardshell jackets, they can serve as your outer layer in many conditions. The soft, fleecy lining adds to your comfort.
4. Insulated Jackets:
Your cold-weather saviors, insulated jackets, capture warmth between synthetic polyester or down fibers, offering the highest warmth-to-weight ratio. They’re easily packable too. The choice between down and synthetic insulation hinges on your adventure’s conditions:
Also, remember that if you think a full-sized jacket is too much, there are vests available—a nice in-between option.
Because we aim to travel as lightly as possible, we consistently choose down options whenever we can. Insulated jackets tend to be around 2 times heavier than the other options listed here.
When it comes to your midlayers, it’s not just about the material; features matters too. Let’s dive into what you need to think about:
Everyone’s different, and so are their layering needs. What works best for you might not be the same for someone else. So how should you choose a hiking midlayer?
After considering the features in the previous paragraph, you know what to look for, but you’re not sure about the type of midlayer you should get.
If you are planning to hike or backpack, your selection depends on the conditions you’re facing:
Note that these are our opinions and not set in stone. If you plan to be more stationary (i.e., camping), opt for the thicker version, as you may get cold when not moving. Additionally, having a variety of hiking midlayers in your gear closet can be a smart move.
In this post, we’ve dived into the realm of hiking midlayers. We’ve looked at why they’re important, checked out the various kinds, and thought about the important things to look for when picking the right one.
Finally, remember that the ideal midlayer depends on what you like and the activities you have in mind. If possible, consider having different options to suit both warmer and colder adventures. Happy hiking!
The best mid-layer material for hiking depends on your needs. Merino wool offers warmth, breathability, and odor resistance, suitable for versatile hiking. Synthetic fleece is versatile, dries quickly, and is budget-friendly, ideal for high-output activities and moisture control. Consider weather and activity level for a comfortable hike.
The 3-layer rule for hiking involves wearing three essential clothing layers: a base layer to manage moisture, a mid-layer for insulation, and an outer layer for protection from the elements. This system keeps you comfortable and adaptable in varying weather conditions during your hike.