Home » How to Layer Your Clothes – Beginners Guide

How to Layer Your Clothes – Beginners Guide

The Layering System – How to Layer Your Clothes

Exploring the world of hiking at the beginning, if you are anything like me .. I went out as a complete novice with only a pair of hiking boots to my name and everything else borrowed!  It wasn’t ideal that I was a size small and the nearest person to me to borrow clothes was my brother who was a size XL.. but we made it work!  The first day he sent me off for a hike with all of his gear on, it was like watching your kid gone off to school for the first day lol

Most hikers know what’s next, every hike would cost €100!  Admiring everyone’s lovely shiny gear and then going online when I get home and ordering a few new bits. 

I’ve shared below a list of some of the gear I wear when out on the hills. Hiking gear is expensive and can take a while to build. Borrow what you can and build as you go.

How to Layer Your Clothes

In the outdoors, we following a simple system, each layer has a purpose which I will go through and the layering system also allows you adapt to changes in weather, terrain and physical demand of your hike.  How you layer your clothes, will effect your performance, mood and comfort.  Keep it simple and find out what works best for you.

 The Base Layer:

This is the first piece of clothing that you put on.  There are options for both top and bottoms. The purpose of the base layer is to help regulate your body temperature by retaining heat and wicking away moisture. Wicking basically means that the material in the base layer is designed to keep the moisture in this layer and away from your body. 

I wear my top base layer all year round and opt for a bottom base layer in the cold winter months. 

The Mid Layer:

The mid layers are all about warmth and at times you will have more than 1 piece of mid layer depending in the weather. I like to keep a few spare layers in my back pack in case the weather gets really cold or if I’m caught in too much rain. 

I’m a big fan of a light weight mid-layer. Invest in a good one that is breathable, warm and will keep you dry.  It will last for years.  I always keep fleeces in my pack just in case but with a good bottom and mid layer under my rain jacket, I rarely need to use much more, only the really cold days. 

The Outer Layer:

This is your rain jacket that is going to protect you from the elements.  Personally, I would recommend a hard shell waterproof jacket. I use mine in all seasons. I think it is a great addition in the summer with a light layer underneath when you get those wet spells and in the winter time with a number of decent layers protecting you against the rain and the cold. 


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