Country Walking Magazine (UK) - - Gear -

Lay­ered for any­thing

Heard of the lay­er­ing sys­tem? It’s the most ef­fec­tive and adapt­able way of dress­ing to stay warm and dry out­doors. When fully lay­ered-up, a fleece sits in the mid­dle, be­tween the base­layer (a wick­ing T-shirt) and a shell (a wa­ter­proof jacket). It in­su­lates your body by trap­ping warm air, but should also let wa­ter vapour (from sweat) es­cape.

I want some­thing warmer

Most of the fleeces we’ve tested are on the lighter side, but will see you good through­out the year (in combo with proper lay­er­ing). But for the depths of win­ter, noth­ing beats the shag­gi­est pullover you can get your hands on. For max­i­mum insulation, look for the fleeces dubbed heavy or dou­ble pile. You’ll some­times see fleeces graded 100, 200 or 300-weight, ranged from the light­est to the thick­est and warm­est.

Shield me from the wind

To com­bat the chill­ing ef­fect of wind, some fleece-mak­ers in­no­vate to seal out as much out as pos­si­ble, with­out in­hibit­ing breatha­bil­ity. Po­lartec’s Wind Pro fleece boasts a su­per-tight knit to do this. Tak­ing a dif­fer­ent ap­proach, Wind­stop­per (from the minds be­hind Gore-Tex) is a to­tally wind­proof mem­brane, of­ten com­bined with fleece fab­ric. In gloves or a hat (not cov­ered by a jacket), wind re­sis­tance is a valu­able trait.

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